In his quest to become superhuman, the “Father of Biohacking” Dave Asprey has tried some pretty out-there techniques: running electricity through his brain, injecting stem cells into his reproductive organs and sleeping in a bath of ice packs (that last one left him with first-degree burns over 15% of his body).
But after spending $2 million and two decades researching biohacks, the former Silicon Valley executive is enjoying the fruits of his labor. He’s the CEO of eight companies, the author of six books (with a seventh coming next month) and the founder of Bulletproof Coffee, which inspired people across the country to drop pats of butter into their morning cups of joe.
Asprey’s website claims his Bulletproof diet “upgraded his brain”—and also made him a better father, husband and human. It also gave him the certainty he’ll live to be 180.
“At least 180,” he corrected me when I asked about his widely reported claim. “Our current best is 120. If in the next 100 years we can’t do 50% better than our current best it’s because an asteroid hit the planet and Elon was right.”
We all know that ambitious New Year’s resolutions fail, but in his latest book, Smarter Not Harder, to be released Feb. 28, Asprey asserts he can turn our inherent laziness into action by zoning in on the one-third of a second between when our mind takes in information and our body reacts.
“It’s about hacking your meat operating system,” he said. “It’s like Mac OS, but it’s you.”
Confused? So are we. But Asprey is confident and convincing, two qualities that are likely amplified by his MBA from the Wharton School of Business and his years of experience as a leader in the tech industry.
By marrying our obsession for self-betterment with the language of science and metrics, Asprey speaks to the moment. And considering that some analysts have valued the global wellness industry at $4.2 trillion, there is major money to be made through the development of new diets, fix-it-all supplements and earnest advice.
Asprey addresses large conferences wearing his trademark (and for sale) orange-tinted glasses to manage what he calls “junk” artificial light and sports a recently acquired tattoo of a caffeine molecule on his left bicep.
The tattoo is a nod to what set Asprey upon the path that would ultimately define his life. The biohacking expert was inspired for his very first venture in the field after drinking butter-infused tea in Tibet, after which he claims to have coined the term "biohacking" at a bar in San Francisco—a word that officially entered the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2018.
“I’ve always been a futurist,” he said. “Biohacking is going to disrupt medicine, because you won’t need as many doctors.”
Asprey became his own biohacking experiment—the former tech executive used to weigh 300 pounds and suffered from brain fog and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Now 50, he claims to feel more alive than ever and recently moved from his 32-acre farm in Canada to Austin, Texas, after “consciously uncoupling” with his physician wife.
Looking back over the half-century he’s lived so far, the biohacker lays claim to conducting the first e-commerce trade (selling a T-shirt that said “caffeine is my drug of choice”), building the operating systems of Facebook and Google, working on the the precursor to the Apple Watch and advocating intermittent fasting a decade ago, before it became a thing.
Humble he is not. He even has own spin on the typically self-effacing practice of meditation.
“When we meditate, it’s not ‘I am enough,’” Asprey said. “It’s ‘I am more than enough. I got this.'”
Julie Zigoris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org