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®.
The Art of Impossible: Achieving and Sustaining Organizational Peak Performance
In today’s chaotic business environment, organizations are tasked with keeping employees motivated, productive, and innovative. They need individuals and teams to reach and exceed their performance goals in the face of mounting uncertainty.
Yet, the average knowledge worker is only productive for 2.3 hours per day. Every week, they spend half a day duplicating work they did the week before. They check their email 36 times per hour. They waste 36 hours in unnecessary meetings a month. And most devastating of all: the average knowledge worker is interrupted every 11 minutes.
In 2022, according to the World Health Organization, fifty million years of productivity were lost due to mental health issues and poor working habits.
Steven Kotler, executive director of the Flow Research Collective, the global leader in neuroscience-based peak performance research and training, and the New York Times bestselling author of “The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer,” has taught more than half-a-million people how to amplify and sustain peak performance by harnessing the state of flow.
In this talk, Kotler breaks down findings gleaned from training individuals and organizations in 130 countries, ranging from tech companies such as Facebook, business consulting firms like Accenture, hard goods manufacturers such as Audi, and military operations like the U.S. Air Force.
He’ll explain the science and research behind the state of flow––and how it can increase productivity, creativity, and learning speeds by up to 500 percent. You’ll walk away with tools to reduce stress and overwhelm, decrease procrastination and distraction, and increase motivation and performance.
Peak Performance Aging: Organizations Are Missing Out If They’re Not Embracing Older Employees
“Rather than the idea that an old dog can’t learn new tricks, we need to realize that older adults are actually better at learning a whole slew of skills than younger dogs,” says Flow Research Collective Executive Director Steven Kotler. In this fascinating presentation, he uses his latest book, “Gnar Country: Growing Old, Staying Rad,” to explore the new science of peak performance aging. Kotler upends traditional myths around aging, breaking down cutting-edge research into the stunning possibilities of our later years and laying out a practical blueprint for actualizing these possibilities and filling our lives with meaning, vitality, and success. He emphasizes the incredible benefits that properly trained older employees bring to organizations, including heightened levels of intelligence, creativity, empathy and wisdom—which are all critical skills in the modern business world.
Steven Kotler on Peak Performance Aging, Flow, and Being Rad (Audio)
February 28, 2023
This Guy Learned to Park Ski at 53
February 14, 2023
How to Grow Old But Play Young with Steven Kotler (Audio)
December 28, 2022
Steven Kotler on the 1% Podcast (Audio)
June 28, 2022
Spotlight on: Steven Kotler
April 19, 2022
Steven Kotler: Zero to Dangerous (Audio)
December 2, 2021
There's a Payoff to Investing in Your High Potentials
August 5, 2021
The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer
March 29, 2021
Boost Your Team's Performance in 2021
February 22, 2021
Looking to Achieve Peak Performance? Here's Your Playbook
January 21, 2021
FT Business Books: January Edition
January 6, 2021
Should There Be a Religion Based on 'Dune'?
April 25, 2020
Preparing for a Faster Tomorrow
February 19, 2020
Create a Work Environment That Fosters Flow
October 11, 2019
The Human Operating System Gets an Overhaul
February 1, 2018
The High-Tech Race to Make Deadly Adventure Sports Safe for Anyone
February 21, 2017
Steven Kotler on Big Think
February 17, 2017
The Passion Recipe: Four Steps to Total Fulfillment
March 27, 2015
Off-World 3-D Printing is How Humans Will Colonize Space
February 6, 2015
The Science of Peak Performance
April 30, 2014
Space: The Final Sport Frontier
March 26, 2014
Hacking the President's DNA
Why the Future Will Be Much Better Than You Think
January 26, 2012
June 4, 2006
July 24, 2005
Gnar Country: Growing Old, Staying Rad
(Harper Wave. February 2023)
First Few Seconds for Flow: A Comprehensive Proposal Of The Neurobiology and Neurodynamics of State Onset
(Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, December 2022)
The Devil's Dictionary
(St. Martin's Press, April 2022)
The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer
(Harper Wave, January 2021)
The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives
(Simon & Schuster, January 2020)
Last Tango in Cyberspace: A Novel
(St. Martin's Press, May 2019)
Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work
(Dey Street Books, February 2017)
Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction To Science Fact
(New Harvest, May 2015)
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World
(Simon & Schuster, February 2015)
The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
(New Harvest, March 2014)
Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
(Free Press, February 2012)
A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life
(Bloomsbury USA, October 2010)
West of Jesus: Surfing, Science and the Origins of Belief
(Bloomsbury USA, June 2006)
The Angle Quickest for Flight
(Thunder's Mouth Press, April 1999)
Advance Praise for "Gnar Country"
"'Gnar Country' is a tour-de-force! Startling discoveries about peak performance aging, deep insights into human psychology, and a wonderfully written, laugh-out-loud, page-turning adventure story—only Steven Kotler could dream up and pull off a book this ambitious, smart, and useful!"
"There are so many who write, but don’t do. Not Steven Kotler—he is the antithesis of an “armchair expert,” a man who always lives what he writes, and in the case of 'Gnar Country', writes what he lives. In this refreshingly raw narrative, Kotler personally proves that aging is actually a gateway to exploring new levels of our performance potential—and shows us how to do it. 'Gnar Country' gets you excited to grow older!"
“This book is a trail map for anyone who’s driven to be better at anything. I laughed, winced, and flowed right along with Kotler on his audacious quest to perform at his absolute best at an age when decline seems to be the accepted norm. Screw what people say you can or can’t do past 50...This joyride of a story leaves you with just enough science-backed practical tools to take you where no one believes you can go. If he can shatter his own belief of what’s possible, so can you.”
"At an age when many adults have already checked into the sofa ride, Steven Kotler went back to school—the old school, the hard knocks school. His innate curiosity, combined with decades of sensitivity and self-awareness drew meaningful lessons from difficult and dangerous situations. Age-associated physical and psychological decline appears inevitable, but Steven demonstrates a different Way, and encourages us all to hold ‘em, not fold ‘em. After all, there will be nothing worse than knowing you could have but didn’t, that now you can't and you're still alive to wish you had.
Praise for Steven Kotler's Presentations
“In short, Kotler was a huge success! He closed out the discussion part of the conference and I heard the word “flow” the rest of the weekend! Awesome choice you suggested, greatly appreciated!”
“I am on a Steven Kotler high. He was amazing!”
“Many thanks to you and Steven Kotler for a wonderful event. Steven generated a lot of conversation in our group and that extended well into the next day. Very successful!!”
“What Steven Kotler is seeking is nothing less than the big explanation.”
“Steven was FABULOUS!”
“Steven Kotler’s presentation was cutting-edge and utterly engaging. He introduced our audience to a unique set of concepts and perspectives that left participants deeply informed, richly inspired, and with a renewed sense of purpose. I recommend him highly.”
“Steven connected with our audience in an unimaginable way. His incredible breadth of neuroscience knowledge allowed him to dramatically engage our group of academics and mental health professionals. The session was high energy, innovative, humorous and at times even heart-warming. This talk was a masterful demonstration of skill and talent from a brilliant mind. An experience worth repeating!”
“Steven Kotler presents a vision for the future that not only brings optimism, but inspires all who listen. His visit left our business school buzzing, and transformed students’ visions for the roles business leaders can play in shaping the future.”
Praise for “Art of the Impossible”
“…Thoroughly grounded in science, writing of the biological systems that drive fear, anger, grief, lust, and other emotions, all of which can be turned to advantage.…[Kotler] offers…an entertaining, inspiring approach to life-hacking that begs to be implemented by the willing reader.”
“’The Art of Impossible’ is consistently fascinating. There aren’t many writers I would follow on an intellectual journey as ambitious as this to examine peak performance; fortunately, Steven Kotler is one of them.”
“This book is a tour de force of high performance. It’s an essential resource for those looking to align their curiosity, passion, and purpose to have not just a little more flow and creativity in their lives but to have a lot more flow and creativity. Want to learn how to take your innovation to seemingly impossible heights? Steven Kotler will teach you how.”
“This book is quite literally impossible. I’ve been tracking Steven’s work for ten years now, and it’s impossible to overstate how important it is. It’s impossible that he cracked the code on breakthrough success, yet he has. It’s impossible to have turned extreme innovation from an art to a science, yet he has. It’s impossible that he put it all together in a book that’s impossible to put down, yet he has. Read it and go accomplish the impossible yourself.”
“’The Art of Impossible’ is a must-read! Steven Kotler is one of a handful of people on the planet with a deep understanding of the frontiers of human performance. His ability to bring applied neuroscience and psychology to life through storytelling is world-class. This book is a treasure.”
“In ‘The Art of Impossible,’ Steven Kotler has managed to articulate what many peak performers intuitively know but can’t explain: that there’s a formula for impossible. Kotler demystifies the mythic, breaking down that formula and giving readers exactly the tools they need to accomplish their dreams, no matter how big.”
Praise for Steven Kotler’s Books
“Diamandis and Kotler do a masterful job.”
“‘BOLD’ is a visionary roadmap for people who believe they can change the world—and offers invaluable advice about bringing together the partners and technologies to help them do it.”
“At a moment when our world faces multiple crises and is awash in pessimism, “Abundance” redirects the conversation, spotlighting scientific innovators working to improve people’s lives around the world. The result is more than a portrait of brilliant minds – it’s a reminder of the infinite possibilities for doing good when we tap into our own empathy and wisdom.”
“I loved Peter Diamandis’ and Steven Kotler’s book “Abundance,” their writing and their Vision. “BOLD” is an amazing sequel, a book that every entrepreneur should read. It is inspiring, filled with incredible insights and offers a practical how-to game plan for going big and impacting the world.”
“Every coach in America needs to listen to this stuff from Kotler.”
“The result is nothing less than the most transformative and thrilling period in human history.”
“’Stealing Fire’ is a beautifully written, must-read for anyone interested in living up to their full potential. A user-manual for your hacking your brain to drive high performance.”
“‘BOLD’ is an essential navigation tool for any proactive CEO who wants to remain relevant. In the next decade it is reasonable to assume that some of the corporations at the top of the Fortune 500 will be displaced by the ‘exponential entrepreneur’. History tells us that if we don’t proactively change and adapt, change will be imposed on us. ‘BOLD’ spells out the implications and opportunities driven by exponential changes transforming our world.”
“A fast-paced, electrified, and captivating journey into the deep potential of the human brain.”
“’Stealing Fire’ cracks the secret code of peak performance so that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results.”
“If you read one business book in the twenty-first century, this should be the one. When Peter and I cofounded Singularity University, we based it on the ideas of exponential change and ‘learn by doing.’ This book clearly explains how to apply these concepts to change the world and overcome the age-old afflictions of human civilization.”