Nootropics are substances that improve mental functioning, like increased information processing, concentration, memory, mood, or some combination of cognitive benefits. We’re going to review the best nootropic stacks on the market.
Let’s start with a disclaimer: This post reviews various meditation tools and products that include affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these products through these links, I receive a nominal commission. With the exception of only one product (Muse), I have purchased and used all of the products reviewed in this guide.
If you’d like to read an excellent primer on meditation, read this guide. It covers dozens of insights I’ve learned from two decades of mind training.
One of the things I explain in this meditation guide is that meditation is a natural process. Under ideal conditions, we would all remain in a present, mindful state.
Clearly, however, we don’t live in these ideal conditions and so meditative practices can play a vital role in our ability to perform better and to relax and return to ourselves.
In addition to exploring the various forms of meditation, there are many meditation tools on the market that offer additional support for your practice. If you can augment the benefits of meditation or accelerate the process, why not do so?
Why Meditation is Essential for High Achievers
If you don’t regulate your mental, emotional, and physical state throughout the day, it negatively affects your performance.
The more calm, compassionate, and centered you are, the more productive you become. If you’re an entrepreneur, meditation practices can translate to the bottom line.
But it goes far beyond that. Research shows that meditation can help:
- Develop self-awareness (study)
- Elevate your mood (study)
- Improve your immune function (study)
- Strengthen your willpower (study)
- Sleep better (study)
- Reduce your stress (study)
- Enhance your focus and attention (study)
By all markers, mind training can make you a better entrepreneur and human being.
The Best Meditation Tools
Perhaps you’ve tried meditation or you may even already have your own daily practice. Regardless, most people I’ve talked with about meditation seem to struggle with it for various reason (which I discuss here).
Through the years, I’ve invested many thousands of dollars on various technologies and courses in my exploration in mind training. If you’re looking for an edge to help you build momentum or deepen your practice, these meditation tools can help you.
The following best meditation tools are used for different reasons.
- Profound Meditation 3.0 by iAwake
- EMWave2 by Heartmath Institute
- Kasina Mind Media System by Mind Space
- Muse Headband
- Bose Noise-Canceling Headset
Select the ones that most speak to you. I review my favorite meditation cushion and other resources below too.
Profound Meditation 3.0 from iAwake Technologies
Are you familiar with binaural beats and isochronic tones? You basically take two different pure-tone frequencies that are close but not the same to each other, one in each ear. Combining these two frequencies creates a third tone called a binaural beat. Binaural beats can be created to a wide range of frequencies, including those of brainwave patterns associated with various states of consciousness.
The theory is that by listening to binaural beats and isochronic tones at specific brainwave patterns like alpha, theta, delta, gamma, and epsilon, you can induce various states of consciousness in a safe manner and support your meditation practice.
I’ve experimented with many of these programs on the market, but iAwake’s sound technology is unique. They go beyond traditional brainwave entrainment technology to include what they call biofield entrainment, harmonic layering, dual pulse binaural signaling, and more.
These sound technologies are embedded into the background. You mainly hear various soundscapes (mostly rain/stream sounds). Profound Meditation 3.0 is a multi-disc set with a 3-tier system. You listen to the sounds in blocks of 20 minutes. With a high-quality headset, the sounds play in the background as you meditate.
This is a comprehensive meditation program that can produce psychoactive experiences. The accompanying manual explains everything you need to know to get started. The Releasing tracks are great for unwinding at the end of the day.
In my opinion, this is one of the best meditation tools you can use to start experiencing results. If you want to give this a test drive, you can access a free 20-minute track from this program here (along with other free tracks).
Cost: $227 – Use code CEOSAGE25 to receive a 25% discount on the program.
emWave2 by The Heartmath Institute
Heartmath Institute studies the science of the human heart. They pioneered a means of measuring what’s called personal coherence, the synchronization of physical, mental, and emotional systems. Personal coherence is calculated by a combination of heart rate variability, pulse transit time, and respiratory patterns.
The EMWave2 measures these variables with a sensor clipped onto your ear or with the thumb sensor on the device. You can use it as a portable tool, but you’ll get the most benefit by hooking it up to your computer and using it in conjunction with the accompanying software. If you would prefer to use it with your mobile device, check out Inner Balance.
Using HeartMath’s Quick Coherence Technique with the emWave2 attached sensor, the device measures your coherence as you attempt to steady your breath while holding a positive emotion directed at your heart. As your ability to maintain coherence improves, you can increase the level of difficulty. Ten minutes a day is sufficient to increase your coherence score.
Kasina by Mindplace
Using Kasina is like having a laser light show for your eyes only. It’s perhaps the closest you can get to a psychedelic experience without taking a mind-altering substance.
While studies on brainwave entrainment are intriguing, research indicates that light may influence the brain more than sound waves. At least in relation to specific physical symptoms, research by Dave Siever suggests that light frequencies have a greater impact on the brain than soundwave technology.
Regardless, there’s no reason to choose one over the other. The Kasina Mind Media System combines both modalities. You wear a headset and special glasses with embedded LED lights. The device comes with six categories that target different experiences: Accerlate, Meditate, Mind Art, Rejuvenate, Night Voyage, and Trance. After you select the program category and your desired track (descriptions of each are included in the manual), you simply lie back and enjoy the show.
If you have a lot of resistance to meditation or have trouble quieting your mind, give Kasina a try. It’s one of the best meditation tools few people seem to know about. And if you’re a techie, the application is highly customizable so you can build your own tracks.
The Muse Headband is perhaps the most popular meditation tool among biohackers. The Muse Headband helps train your brain for mindfulness by giving you sound cues of the electrical activity (EEG) of your brain while you meditate. You wear the Muse around your forehead from ear to ear. Via Bluetooth, the Muse sends the signal to the Muse app on your smartphone. The app gives you real-time feedback (via various soundscapes) through your headphones. The more you quiet your mind, the calmer the soundscape becomes.
With this form of biofeedback, you’ll be able to track your progress with mindfulness training. Practicing with the Muse headband, in a short time, you’ll notice greater awareness. That is, you’ll become more conscious of when your mind begins to wander, enabling you to bring yourself back to the present moment.
I personally try to avoid Bluetooth and wireless technology whenever I can due to sensitivities with electromagnetic frequencies. But many people use Muse and if you’re not concerned about EMF, this product is worth testing out.
QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Headphones by Bose
Meditation is challenging for two reasons: external distractions and internal chatter. While Profound Meditation 3.0 and Kasina help reduces internal chatter, this product helps reduce external distractions.
Wearing this Bose noise-canceling headset is like lowering the volume on the world around you. If you listen to any binaural beats, isochronic tones, or meditation music, this headset will definitely enhance your experience. I also use this product whenever I really need to focus on a project. They’re also great for air travel as they block out most of the plane engine’s rumble.
While you can find less expensive noise-canceling headsets on the market, none of them are as effective as this one. They simply work. I keep one near my desk at all times.
Cost: $227 | $349
Buckwheat Meditation Cushion by Seat of the Soul
One of the reasons I mentioned that many people have trouble meditating is because of poor physical ailment. I recommend sitting at the edge of a hard chair when you’re first getting started. But if you prefer to sit on the ground (which has numerous other benefits), then using what’s traditionally called a zafu can help.
To maintain proper structure alignment, you want only your coccyx region elevated. This crescent-moon-shaped, buckwheat filled cushion with an organic cotton cover is ideal.
Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series
If you’re looking for guided meditation instruction, consider the Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series 1 by psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn.
This program contains four 40-minute guided mindfulness meditations Kabat-Zinn used in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. There is a large body of research to support the efficacy of this program for reducing stress, improving health, and developing the brain.
If you’re an entrepreneur or a creative professional interested in your development, you probably read (or listen to) business books.
Here are my selections for the best general business books to help you improve your daily performance and work at your best.
(Note: Most of my clients now listen to audiobooks more then they read. Whenever possible, I’ve included links to Amazon’s Audible versions below. If you’re not already an Audible customer, you can start a free 30-day trial and get two free audiobooks.)
Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs and Creative Professionals
Listed in no particular order:
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
By Greg McKeown
McKeown addresses a central concern in a culture that’s obsessed with doing more, faster, and bigger. Every step you make from being what McKeown calls a non-essentialist to an essentialist is a movement toward a more fruitful way of being.
Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By Marshall Goldsmith
In the recent survey I sent to you, many of you expressed interested in changing behaviors. Goldsmith is considered one of the top executive leadership coaches in the industry. His exclusive focus is on helping business leaders make essential changes to their behavior. Triggers provides many valuable insights.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
By Adam Grant
This instant bestseller from 2016 is filled with numerous truths delivered through enchanting stories that inspire us to create at our best. For example, Grant points out that creative individuals arrive at more ideas instead of trying to refine a few, and successful people understand how to balance risk in a portfolio.
The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
By Sean Covey, Chris McChesney, and Jim Huling
Getting the right things done is an art and science. Any professional can benefit from 4 Disciplines—especially entrepreneurs who manage a team. The book highlights the importance of keeping score and outlines a practical process for driving toward critical results.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
By Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit is another instructive (and entertaining) read on the topic of behavioral change. Another similar title I recommended in a previous book review post is The Willpower Instinct. Both are worthy of your time, in my opinion.
See also: How to Stop Bad Behaviors
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
This book covers lots of key principles that I’ve been writing about and using in my coaching practice for two decades. The One Thing overlaps with Essentialism in many ways, but both are worthwhile reads if this is an area of interest to you.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
By Steven Pressfield
Being a skilled professional at anything requires you to become intimate with a force that enslaves many of us: resistance. Pressfield, a master of his writing craft, provides instruction and inspiration on overcoming this demon in The War of Art. (See also my guide to self-mastery.)
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
By Daniel Pink
Through engaging research and storytelling, Pink draws on lessons from self-determination theory to illuminate what drives us—especially in the context of our work. Here’s a three-second summary: the answer is purpose, autonomy, and mastery.
The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance
By Tony Schwartz
Schwartz, one of the two authors of the bestseller The Power of Full Engagement, highlights how virtually everything we do is hijacking our performance and our ability to get consistent results. This book is full of useful insights and strategies you can apply right away.
What Qualifies as the Best Business Books?
How do you select the best business books?
For this review, I’ve focused on professional development. These business books provide essential strategies, ideas, and tips to help you be more effective at your work.
You’ll notice a theme in the selections above. The best business books (in my opinion) give you clarity. They help you cut through the noise so you can focus on what’s most important.
Enjoy reading these best business books.
Read More Best Book Reviews
What are the best marketing books to help you gain market awareness, attract more customers, and grow your bottom line?
It has been said that there are three main ways to learn about human psychology:
- Read Greek mythology
- Read Carl Jung
- Observe others
Of the three, observing others is the most powerful, but reading about the psyche helps inform our observations.
Nootropics, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is a fancy word for smart drugs or cognitive enhancers. This guide highlights the four best nootropic supplements, based on my research.
Smart drugs are prevalent in college environments where students try to increase their memory, attention, and motivation to study. But there’s a lot more to the story. And if you’re interested in activating more of your brain’s potential (especially while you work), the best nootropic supplements are worth a closer look.
I hated reading in high school. I did everything I could to avoid it. In truth, the only book I recall reading in its entirety was The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
Something about that book captivated me. It didn’t have many pages. That was certainly a major factor in my completion of it.
But something in me shifted during college when I studied abroad in London.
I still remember roaming aimlessly through Charing Cross Road near the Leicester Square metro station. It was 1995, and bookstores, used and new, were still popular.
I can recall where I was when I read Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, W. Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
I’m certain I can’t fully appreciate how these books shaped my mind, but I do know that upon returning from Europe I was a different person.
Before, I loathed reading. Now, I spent most of my available time in the University of Michigan libraries and local Borders bookstore (their flagship headquarters).
Each book turned new lights on in my now inquisitive mind. Each new section of the bookstore I explored opened up a new dimension to reality for me.
I couldn’t get enough books. Self-help, fiction, Eastern thought, psychology, philosophy, popular science, mysticism … it was all thrilling.