From the creator of Bulletproof Coffee and author of the bestselling The Bulletproof Diet comes a revolutionary plan to upgrade your brainpower—in two weeks or less.
For the last decade, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey has worked with world-renowned doctors and scientists to uncover the latest, most innovative methods for making humans perform better—a process known as "biohacking." In his first book, The Bulletproof Diet, he shared his biohacking tips for taking control of your own biology. Now, in Head Strong, Asprey shows readers how to biohack their way to a sharper, smarter, faster, more resilient brain.
Imagine feeling like your mind is operating at its clearest and sharpest, and being able—possibly for the first time in your life—to do more in less time? What it suddenly became easier to do the very hardest things you do? Or if you could feel 100% confident about your intellect, and never again fear being the person in the room who just isn’t smart enough, or can’t remember something important? How would you treat people if the mood swings, short temper, and food cravings that disrupt your day could simply disappear?
In Head Strong, Asprey shows us that all of this is possible—and more. Using his simple lifestyle modifications (or "hacks") to take advantage of how the structure of your brain works, readers will learn how to take their mental performance to the next level. Combining the latest findings in neuroscience and neurobiology with a hacker-inspired "get it done now" perspective, Asprey offers a program structured around key areas of brain performance that will help you:
Power the brain with exactly what it needs to perform at its best all day long Eliminate the sources of "kryptonite," both nutritional and environmental, that make the brain slower. Supercharge the cellular powerhouses of our brains, the mitochondria, to eliminate cravings and turn up mental focus. Reverse inflammation to perform better right now, then stay sharp and energized well into your golden years. Promote neuron growth to enhance processing speed and reinforce new learning—hotwiring your brain for success. Asprey’s easy to follow, two-week program offers a detailed plan to supercharge brain performance, including: which foods to eat and which ones to avoid, how to incorporate the right kinds of physical activity into your day, a detox protocol for your home and body; meditation and breathing for performance, recommended brain-boosting supplements; and how to adjust the lighting in your home and work space to give your brain the quality light it thrives on.
A better brain—and a happier, easier, more productive life—is within reach. You just need to get Head Strong.
Dave Asprey is a Silicon Valley investor, computer security expert, and entrepreneur who spent 15 years and $250,000 to hack his own biology. He upgraded his brain by >20 IQ points, lowered his biological age, and lost 100 lbs without using calories or exercise. The Financial Times calls him a "bio-hacker who takes self-quantification to the extreme of self-experimentation." His writing has been published by the New York Times and Fortune, and he's presented at Wharton, Kellogg, the University of California, and Singularity University.
Is mold really killing all of us, all of the time? The book is almost apocalyptic in its treatment of mold and mold's toxins. While I'd like to hack my body and have more energy and concentration, I'm not sure the approach is realistic. It would be nice if the author, who is a start up millionaire, had an option for a more realistic bulletproof life. I'll keep drinking my coffee with grass fed butter and get out and exercise but I'm not sure that I want to spend hundreds of dollars each month on supplements that I may just urinate away.
He has some practical ideas like taking sugar and processed foods out of our diets and reducing our exposure to blue light. I'll try implementing what I can but the entire plan is a little unrealistic.
I thought this was going to be a book with actual, science-proven methods for improving your brain function. There would be, like, brainteaser puzzles and healthy recipes and tips for staying focused and productive during the work-day.
As soon as I read a few pages in, though, I realized that this is pretty much the opposite of that. First, Asprey spends like half the book blathering on about how great this program is, how long it took him to put together and about how you, too, can soon be smart like me! I was annoyed, sure, but I flipped forward (it's definitely a flip-through sort of book) and read some of his actual advice. Basically, his entire strategy boils down to the mitochondria. Asprey argues that mitochondria control our brain function, and that we just have to boost our mitochondria to boost our brain function. His mitochondria-helping tips range from healthy food recipes to some sort of custom coffee (that his company sells, of course) to meditation.
Um, yeah. I smelled something stinky, so I set the book down and asked my father about it. He's a microbiologist, the kind of scientist it might have been helpful for Asprey to consult when he was coming up with his plan. Dad says that mitochondria are like the battery pack of life, that they power all parts of our body including our brain. But all of the stuff Asprey does literally has zero effect on the mitochondria. The only thing we can do to help our mitochondria out is to eat. And not just healthy food: mitochondria can use literally any food substance, except fiber, to make energy.
Suffice it to say that I will not be finishing Head Strong, nor will I recommend it to anyone. I suppose this is a good lesson to me in being careful, though: next time I agree to review a book that has to do with science, I'll be sure to look up its author first!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to participate in a TLC tour.
In his recent self-help book Head Strong, tech guru Dave Asprey claims that inflammation due to toxic/stressful inputs causes systemic dysfunction (mental/emotional/behavioral), and he offers a series of “hacks” to set things right. While there are plenty of valid arguments put forward, he seems to be cherry-picking the science to suit his views. I found it necessary to take a step back and not get too wrapped up in his assertions, as the entire book serves as a sales pitch for his proprietary suite of products. Like anyone, I suppose he’s motivated by a variety of factors, pride and greed not excluded. He reminds me of other Silicon Valley folks I’ve met who are intensely self-involved, but whose absorption in, and approach to, their own struggles incidentally benefits a greater population. By that virtue, I’d say it’s worth considering what he has to say. Just take it with a grain of salt.
I received a complimentary copy from a Bulletproof staff member over this last weekend at Paleofx, in Austin, TX. He does not know that I'm already reading it or that I will read it, and he had no expectation of a review. I am already very familiar with the concepts and science that the author promotes, and without the usual plethora of corrections I make to many wellness programs and nutrition plans, I can offer this information up to many friends and clients who want to know more and make extremely beneficial changes to their lifestyle nutrition. The information is fairly well presented, and along with quite a bit of science are bits where the author recommends you skip forward to bullet points, as it were, if the science is bogging you down. Yes, I ended the sentence in a prep- For people who don't know much or any of this information, this book is a good primer and plan. I've been active in nutrition study and practice for ~40 years, and on average I find that biologically appropriate nutrition science always points to a plan like the ones that the Bulletproof organization promotes. Some ideas are novel to most peeps, like butter coffee with coconut oil derivatives added, and don't knock it until you try it! I can attest to the fact that burning fat for fuel over loading up with carbs has a distinct advantage, and when I was working with the U.S. Cycling Federation in the mid-eighties, they were experimenting then with guys converting to keto diets for stage races. Lots of athletes have found great benefit here, as they have on "plant strong" diets, so the broader picture includes knowing more about how the body processes many different nutrients. If you don't think you can come to know all of that (none of us can), then plug in knowledge that beings are more bacteria than cells, and that we have developed over more years that most people are able to conceptualize, grown to strength over the millenia eating in a manner far removed tfrom what is common today in developed countries. The science has been around, of course, and in many varieties of journal articles other than (or in addition to) what you will see promoted on tv talk shows. Anyway, this is the longest review I've ever written (usually don't write at all), but I recommended this book to several friends and wanted to follow up with a few words. If you do read it, my advice is that you not flip through and grab tidbits here and there as some other reviewers have stated they have done. Read and grasp the concepts, look up the research citations if you want to go that far, and then if you think you have disagreements, do more research based on reading studies and not only by reading guru newsletters (a number of my connections do the guru thing without much foundation in a broad study of the topic). That's all for now- I won't have time to get on here and argue points or comment much, and if you want a few more nutrition wellness book recommendations, check out my shelves. I don't have everything posted that I've read, but I do have a good number posted. Usually I let my stars be the review because I don't take time to write one. I grade the vast majority of books on a 1-4 system, and a book has to be more deeply moving in my soul for it to gain a 5. So most books are 1-4. Blessings-
A great book on the importance of our mitochondria and how their efficiency essentially drive our energy levels, mood and brain performance.
Prior to reading this book I already follow IF (Intermittent Fasting) 5 days per week and drink Bulletproof Coffee every day but I learned a few additional tweaks such as - occasionally having a few days of total fasting (except for coffee) and or a few days without any protein - ie just fat - to trigger autophagy which can prolong life and reduce cancer, parkinsons and alzheimer's.
I want to focus less on the supplements as I do already take some and do a number of other things - such as making my own sprouts, kefir and sauerkraut at home.
My takeaways from the book are:
Daily cold showers hearthmath other meditation box breathing in 5, hold 5, out 5, hold out 5 - repeat more butter brocolli sprouts As often as possible Vibe or trampoline sauna Weekly resistance training (weights) - follow programme in "Body by Science" sprints - 400m and 200m repeats Sleep keep room blacked out breathing before bed stop checking phone honey and brain octane before bed bed before 11 ideally dim lights - switch of tv's/phone/wifi phone in airplane mode Notice what impacts my energy wraps / bread / pasta eating too much of anything crisps
Truth be told: I can't stand Dave Asprey (he's an arrogant rambler) and I don't trust his recommendations. I discovered his website a decade ago, have read The BulletProof Diet (which is not based on science) and have researched some of the recommendations from his podcast (which were bunk). If you've heard him, you know he's a walking advertisement for his own supplements and how much he knows about everything.
That said, I was actually surprised at how well this book was written and that I took away several small actions that may improve my life. I read this right after Dr. Mercola's Fat For Fuel (which I recommend), which gave me a little more understanding and confidence in the fat / brain / mitocondria connection. I haven't made big changes, and many of these things I knew about before, but it motivated me to do them. I changed a bunch of light bulbs, put my phone on airplane mode at night, put my WIFI on a timer, ordered the TrueDark Twilight glasses (actually ordered before buying the book), bought some Krill oil, bought some Brain Octane Oil (to see if it is any different from my MTC oil), and am going to address a mold problem in my home. I will also try the Brain Octane+honey+collagen night cap he recommends to those that wake up in the middle of the night. Even with weak evidence, none of these things can hurt.
On any recommendations he makes that actually could hurt you (or before you put a bunch of money into his pockets), do your own research first!
Книга эксплуатирует модный термин "биохакинг". Честно говоря, доверия к автору, который не является ни врачом, ни профессиональным учёным, у меня нет. Написана книга довольно наукообразно, читать ее из-за этих длинных научных вставок тяжело. Кроме того, автор не стесняясь рекламирует продукцию своей компании, которая продаёт специальные продукты и напитки, способствующие биохакингу. Видимо, в целях рекламы, книга и написана.
Тем не менее, даже из такого рекламного текста можно извлечь что то полезное: 1. Мозг потребляет 20% всей энергии организма. Потеря энергии, невозможность восстановления приводит, прежде всего, к снижению интеллектуальных способностей. 2. Есть способы обеспечить поступления в мозг энергии больше, чем ему нужно для нормальной работы - это и есть биохакинг. 3. Энергия мозга расходуется на принятие решений. Если надо принять очень много решений (а также от голода и стресса), то энергия истощается и качество принятых реше��ий снижается. 4. Мозг ослабляют следующие вещи: - определенные виды пищи, - окружающая среда, - виды освещения, - ложные стимулы — потенциальные угрозы, звонящие телефоны, мигающие огни и т. д. — отнимают энергию у мозга. 5. Признаки нехватки энергии мозга: забывчивость, неконтролируемая тяга к еде, недостаток энергии, перепады настроения и невозможность сосредоточиться.
6. Выводы банальны: чтобы мозг лучше работал надо лучше есть, меньше переживать, хорошо спать, больше пить воды, тренирова��ься, чаще заниматься сексом и отдыхать. 7. Конкретный рекомендуемый список продуктов и рекомендации по тренировкам и "закаливанию" см. в книге. 8. В общем, книга повторяет эти банальные советы �� модном формате *биохакинг". Мне такую литературу читать тяжело, я пролистываю, не читая, целые разделы. 9. Но тем удивительнее вывод: некоторые советы (пусть и банальные, но ранее я на это внимания не обращал и не делал) хочется попробовать. Книга меня таки мотивировала на некоторую активность.
P.S. Персональный бонус: автор доказывает полезность кофе. Я знал, что моя к нему любовь не напрасна :)
This book is well structured and easy to read. There’s lots of detail about how the body works (with focus on mitochondrial function) for those who are interested, but for those who just want to know what to do to improve their energy levels they can skip straight to the second half (which the author makes clear from the start).
My rating is not based on the reliability of the content, obviously, as I have no way of knowing how accurate it is unless I try it all myself. It does encourage me to consider alternative and more holistic methods for improving my health, though, which is a good thing in my opinion.
Also, although he does mention a lot of his own products in the book, he always provides alternative options too, so this didn’t bother me.
If you've read the bulletproof diet book you've covered much of the ground already in here. This expands on the diet book in that it talks about environmental toxins. It honestly does get tiring being sold on the Bulletproof brand of coffee and MCT oil. The review of both aren't amazing, and having tried some of the products for a few weeks I haven't noticed a difference between the branded items and organic versions I can find for much less money.
Head Strong markets itself as a way of improving your brain through biohacking--making changes to your diet and environment to improve your body's energy, efficiency, and overall health. Some that Asprey recommends makes a lot of sense: taking in the right nutrients, avoiding toxic mold, avoiding blue light. However, a lot of what he recommends seems bonkers, drinking 'EZ Water', consuming high amounts of saturated fat, deliberately giving yourself hypoxia, immersing yourself in ice baths. Asprey actually admits that the ice baths gave him 1st degree burns, which is nuts when you think about it. It seems like he will try anything in order to biohack his brain, even if it is potentially dangerous.
Another thing to keep in mind is Asprey sells a lot of what he touts, e.g., special coffee made in a way that is mold-free with a special oil that is specificially designed to boost your brain. According to Asprey, any other coffee or oil will not give the benefits and may even hinder your brain. Red flags.
All in all, I don't believe I can recommend this book in good conscience. I am not entirely sure what Asprey recommends is even healthy considering how heart disease has been scientifically linked to a high saturated fat diet. Asprey believes organic grass-fed butter is a miracle cure all. Maybe it is, but I plan on sticking to the HHS and USDA dietary guidelines. I feel more comfortable following the recommendations of dieticians and scientific research than Asprey who seems to fall prey to pseudoscience.
Oh boy. What to say about this book? Well, I am currently wearing orange glasses to block out blue light per Asprey's recommendation. I also added some supplements to my diet and started taking some cold showers. There are some useful tidbits in here, but a lot of it is a bunch of nonsense. Or at least assertions unsupported by science. My grandmother has a lot of these theories too. Dave and my grandma could both be onto something when they say that we should walk barefoot on the grass after a flight or it could be a bunch of woo woo nonsense.
Dave Asprey spent 15 years and $250,000 to hack his own biology.Financial Times calls him a "bio-hacker. This book have some advice for improving brain function through biohacking--making changes to your diet and environment to improve your body's energy, efficiency, and overall health. Some that Asprey recommends makes a lot of sense: taking in the right nutrients, avoiding toxic mold, avoiding blue light. Asprey puts the importance of our mitochondria and how their efficiency essentially drive our energy levels, mood and brain performance.
This is Nonfiction/Health. This author has an inner drive to live longer than anyone......ever. He is relentless in his study of all things that have anything to do with longevity. He tries all the pills, all the supplements, all the "everything".
I can admire that kind of drive and he puts that passion into words. So 4 stars.
I've been on a Dave Asprey book binge the last couple of months, as I try to recover from fatigue, brain fog and inflammation.
Head Strong contained some extremely helpful and detailed advice on how to achieve this. The book has a strong focus on inflammation and mitochondria, all the ways we can reduce inflammation, repair our mitochondria and improve our brain function.
A few things made me pretty happy: Butter (the grassfed version) is a superfood! It is a rich source of butyrate, which our gut bacteria love. Coffee and chocolate are great for our brains (but are commonly affected by mould so try to ensure mould free.)
I took pages of notes while reading this book.
Once I finished reading this one I: 1. Made myself a proper bulletproof coffee. You have to BLEND the coffee in a blender (with ghee and MCT oil) which I didn't realise! 2. bought some grape seed extract 3. bought Krill oil 4. changed what oils I cook with. Extra virgin olive oil is better used cold, so I will reserve it for drizzling over my salad, and cook with ghee, butter or coconut oil which handles high temperatures better. 5. I used to hard cook my eggs. But this is apparently much more inflammatory so I cook them softer now. And many other things...
This book made me more aware of STRESS and how it can negatively affect my brain and cause inflammation. What I love about all Dave's books is he gives us extensive options to make small changes that might have big effects. eg. Doing jumping jacks or jumping on a trampoline is great for your brain!
I totally recommend this book for extensive solutions to brain fog and improving cognitive function!
Bunch of interesting ideas, definitely a complete collection on life- and bodyhacking. Some of them quite extreme.
As a vegetarian, most of the food-related advice does not fit, so that's why the two stars. I would also have loved a perspective on how far do you go as an individual while taking the environment in regard (eg Dave pitches the idea of replacing your LED-bulbs with Halogen lamps, because they are less on blue light).
Obviously, the author is a Silicon Valley millionaire who uses this book to sell his health program. HOWEVER, if you ignore his attempts to advertise some of his products and focus on the information he shares about how our body and brain work (with focus on mitochondrial function), you will take away several small actions that will improve your life.
I particularly enjoyed the second part of the book where he talks about how to heal and protect our brain and how to maximize brainpower. After reading the book, I purchased plenty of vitamins, some Brain Octane oil, MCT oil, CoQ10, different plant extracts. I also ordered my first blue light blocking glasses. Now I’m looking to change the LED bulbs in the house and build some health-related habits, like switching my phone to airplane mode and eat a spoon of raw honey before sleep. With that being said, this been a useful read for me.
There are some truly new and interested insights in this book about boosting your brainpower. I especially enjoyed learning about the impact of light on brain function. But it loses a star each for: 1) Being way too detailed on the science, and 2) devolving into a diet/nutrition book.
I love detailed science (have read many books just on scientific principles) but he explained the technical terms and details for every single item, not just those that related to his main points.
And I totally agree that diet is a huge factor in brain health. But he didn't just give us a good framework--he went on to pitch his own products and leave no room for variation. It ended up being a radical diet book with a few other brain tips thrown in.
A Hindsight Look at a "Right Place / Right Time" Book.
Like many others that fad diets target, I was in a dark place when I first stumbled across the health guru community, which lead me to this book. In just two months, I had optimized my hormones, cholesterols and sugars, as well as achieved the body I had always wanted. Back then when I first experienced the feeling of being healthy, I would have hastily put two and two together and said that this was the book that changed my life. In hindsight - not so much.
I realize now that I didn't optimize my health because I found the mythical "holy grail of diets." I did it because I substituted high-calorie comfort foods with nutrient-dense healthy foods. You don't need a fad diet, a guru, or a book for that; just the motivation, the free information that is out there, and the time to work out the kinks. Still, this was the book that sent me on my path to health that I've maintained since then. For that, I give credit where credit is due. The wisdom in this book is there, albeit strewn about with gratuitous sales pitches and personal speculation. Fortunately, this book doesn't make it difficult to discern between solid dietary advice meant to benefit the reader, and blatant sales pitches meant to benefit the author.
On that note, Let's talk about Bullet-Proof Coffee.
I worked in specialty coffee for fifteen years; coffee was one of my biggest obsessions throughout the majority of my adult life. One of Dave's biggest solutions to curing brain fog was to switch to his personal brand of mold-free coffee, and I found his gratuitous sales pitches desperate rather than convincing. Lab tested or not, coffee is still perishable plant material post-Maillard Reaction - it has a limited shelf-life just like any other coffee. Flavor / Effect wise, I found Bulletproof coffee very underwhelming - both the coffee by itself, and the practice of blending with butter and MCT oil. Coffee was never meant to be a superfood that would turn us into better versions of ourselves, but rather a crutch that we habitually turn to when we want to avoid becoming the worst versions of ourselves. As I grew older and more sensitive to the effects of coffee, my solution was to quit drinking it all-together. Though mold was definitely a reason why I ultimately quit coffee, I had other concerns like poor sleep, acid reflux, anxiety, irritability without it (addiction), vocal inflammation, and gastrointestinal issues. No coffee can cure that long list. Cutting out coffee, however, did. Sorry, Dave.
Lets's talk about why I ultimately changed my mind on this book (and books like it):
All of my adventures down the rabbit hole of various 21st century fad diets ultimately lead me to view them in a similar light as religious cults. The level of gate-keeping that existed in the various Health & Nutrition communities was on an evangelical level; I could never talk about my diet without someone telling me I was wrong to eat it. Keep in mind, I didn't experience this gate-keeping from others until I was actually healthy. I didn't experience it back when I was deep-frying Big Macs and candy bars at home, but when I started putting turmeric in my green breakfast shakes. The sheer hypocrisy in it blows my mind. After watching so many cringe-worthy health guru debates (involving guys like Dave Asprey), I can only hope that one day these people (and the people who follow them) will see the hypocrisy in their tribalism and elitism when they realize that they have far more in common with each other health-wise than they do with me the day before I quit eating Taco Bell.
These days, I follow a much more quiet, simplified, and sensible approach - inspired by people who live in wellness past the age of 100. For example, Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara lived a remarkable life in wellness until the age of 105. He also had milk and cookies for lunch. While I won't be adopting his lunch habits, I recognize the wisdom in it. Don't convolute it. Don't overthink it. And for God's sake, don't let it define a person's worth.
At the end of the day, there is a huge target market of people who, like me, are one-step away from giving up garbage food. These gurus will continue to be at each other's throats - no different than politicians trying to win your vote.
This book has completely changed my life! I never realized how many different aspects of my life were affecting my brain performance and weight until I read this book. Every single chapter has blown me away by realizing that my whole life I have been wasting so much potential simply by the foods that I eat, the lights that I expose myself to, and the way that I sleep. I always considered myself a healthy person because I normally watch what I eat and exercise regularly. Little did I know that the reason I continued to always feel foggy and tired (no matter how much sleep I got), irritable, and why I always had such a hard time maintaining a waistline that I was happy with, was simply due to things that seem minuscule, but really make a huge difference in your brain's ability to function at its full potential. After just 3 days of making a few of the changes that he has suggested, I feel like a completely different person! I have already lost 2 pounds, I feel full of energy all day long, I consistently feel bright and happy like I have always dreamed of being, I have a higher sexual drive, and I am able to multi-task and focus on a level that I have never been able to attain in my entire life, and I also am finding myself with more time to complete tasks because I am constantly working with such high efficiency! Give this plan a chance, and I guarantee you will see positive results in multiple aspects of your life!
This book was chock full of valuable information, but often hard to get through. I find that I need to read Asprey's stuff in small amounts as it often leaves me with a sense of overwhelming futility. There is just SO MUCH in our food supply and environment that's toxic or bad for you or sapping your health in some way that making any forward progress feels like moving against the tide - especially if you're on a budget or working a job in an environment you don't control. None of that is Asprey's fault, ofc, and I deeply appreciate all the work he's funding and doing himself to provide us with this information since no one else is. It just means I end up reading his stuff slowly.
This book in particular is super helpful if you've already cleaned up your diet and are looking for other ways to move the needle on your health. Even if you're not, the information inside will help you make better decisions and inform your opinions on modern infrastructure, business practices, etc. Highly recommend.
Dave Asprey's book speaks about the efforts he has gone through to boost his own brainpower and his health. This is a very wealthy man giving this advice although he has been thoughtful and has given some alternatives. There are takeaways from this book that I will follow. One concern I had was his touting a particular program he used to increase his auditory processing. This particular methodology was developed by a French doctor not specific to the purpose that Dave Asprey was using it for. The machine needed to do this program was NOT FDA approved and those that were trained in it were cautioned not to use the program unless for research purposes. Consumers need to be aware and use multiple sources in their research and their doctor's advice prior to undergoing something new.