Learn More About Steven Kotler
As one of the world’s leading experts on human performance, Steven Kotler is the trusted authority for individuals and organizations interested in thriving during times of uncertainty. The executive director of the Flow Research Collective, Kotler has spent decades studying the neurobiology of peak performance, focused primarily on the state of flow. While much of this research has centered on flow’s extraordinary impact on motivation, creativity and productivity, his recent work takes this further, exploring lifelong learning and what can be accomplished by harnessing flow at any age.
In his latest book, “Gnar Country: Growing Old, Staying Rad” (Harper Wave, February 2023), Kotler presents a playbook for “peak performance aging.” Overturning traditional ideas, he argues that, instead of a long, slow decline, our later years are a new stage of adult development—one where profound and positive changes in the brain unlock a suite of cognitive skills that can make these decades the most thrilling and successful period in our lives.
“Aging is a mental game as much as a physical game,” says Kotler. “The research is very clear—the best way to stay young is to engage in challenging, social and creative activities that produce flow.”
The Enormous Value Older Workers Offer
Writing a new story about our later years, Kotler explains how all of the mental and physical skills we once believed decline over time, are now understood as use-it-or-lose-it skills. “This means,” says the two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, “if we never stop training these skills, we can hold onto them, and even advance them, far later in life than anyone thought possible.”
Kotler asserts that organizations squander economic potential and other valuable qualities when leaders discount older job applicants and team members. “There’s a business revolution waiting to happen in people over 50,” says Kotler, an LA Weekly Top 10 Keynote Speaker to Watch. “As you enter your 50s, there are profound shifts in how the brain processes information. We gain access to whole new levels of intelligence and critical thinking. Problem-solving, abstract reasoning, and creativity all spike, as do wisdom and empathy. These are crucial business skills in the Twenty-first century—difficult to hire for, or teach, yet they come built-in with properly trained older workers.”
Harness Flow to Achieve Peak Performance
In his 2021 New York Times bestseller, “The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer” (Harper Wave), Kotler uses the tools of neurobiology to decipher the secrets of elite performers. Described by Kirkus Reviews as, “an inspiring approach to life-hacking that begs to be implemented…. it’s a how-to manual for unlocking flow and achieving peak performance.”
“There are specific things you have to do to access flow reliably. But when that happens, motivation, productivity, creativity, and learning go through the roof,” explains Kotler in this highly engaging TEDxABQ Talk. “After flow training, we see a measurable increase in creativity and innovation ranging between 400 percent and 700 percent.”
Bringing together his work on both peak performance aging and flow, Kotler urges leaders to see the business value in older employees who are at the top of their game.
“Customer-centric thinking is the mantra of Twenty-first century business,” he says. “If you’re not wise and empathetic, you can’t understand what your customers are thinking, nor can you build the great teams needed to excel in today’s demanding environment. Sidelining older adults is absurd from a business perspective: it’s costing us so much money, time, resources, and lost opportunities. The over-fifty crowd is the dream workforce of the Twenty-first century.”
Steven Kotler is a New York Times-bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. He regularly works with researchers at leading academic institutions, including Stanford University, Imperial College London, University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles, and publishes his finding in major journals.. Followed and endorsed by such leadership giants as Bill Clinton, Elon Musk, Michael Dell and Arianna Huffington, he was named a Top 10 Keynote Speaker to Watch in 2021 by LA Weekly. Kotler continues to transform organizations and individuals by helping them tap into their highest potential with tools for increasing productivity, enhancing performance, and improving focus and decision-making. To date, Kotler and his team have trained more than a half-million people, among them Olympians, Navy SEALS and employees at all levels of corporations, including Facebook, Accenture, Audi and Microsoft.
As an author, Kotler has written eleven bestsellers (out of fourteen books total), including “The Art of Impossible,” “The Future Is Faster Than You Think,” “Stealing Fire,” “The Rise of Superman,” “Bold” and “Abundance.” His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into more than 60 languages, and appeared in more than 100 publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, TIME and the Harvard Business Review. Kotler is also the cohost of Flow Research Collective Radio. Along with his wife, author Joy Nicholson, he is the co-founder of the Rancho de Chihuahua, an elder-care dog sanctuary.
Steven Kotler is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.