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Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder Hardcover – September 18, 2018
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At age 52, after selling the company he founded and ran as CEO for 24 years, rebel boutique hotelier Chip Conley was looking at an open horizon in midlife. Then he received a call from the young founders of Airbnb, asking him to help grow their disruptive start-up into a global hospitality giant. He had the industry experience, but Conley was lacking in the digital fluency of his 20-something colleagues. He didn't write code, or have an Uber or Lyft app on his phone, was twice the age of the average Airbnb employee, and would be reporting to a CEO young enough to be his son. Conley quickly discovered that while he'd been hired as a teacher and mentor, he was also in many ways a student and intern. What emerged is the secret to thriving as a mid-life worker: learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, a beginner's mind, and a willingness to evolve, all hallmarks of the "Modern Elder."
In a world that venerates the new, bright, and shiny, many of us are left feeling invisible, undervalued, and threatened by the "digital natives" nipping at our heels. But Conley argues that experience is on the brink of a comeback. Because at a time when power is shifting younger, companies are finally waking up to the value of the humility, emotional intelligence, and wisdom that come with age. And while digital skills might have only the shelf life of the latest fad or gadget, the human skills that mid-career workers possess--like good judgment, specialized knowledge, and the ability to collaborate and coach - never expire.
Part manifesto and part playbook, Wisdom@Work ignites an urgent conversation about ageism in the workplace, calling on us to treat age as we would other type of diversity. In the process, Conley liberates the term "elder" from the stigma of "elderly," and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path to growing whole, not old. Whether you've been forced to make a mid-career change, are choosing to work past retirement age, or are struggling to keep up with the millennials rising up the ranks, Wisdom@Work will help you write your next chapter.
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"This is ultimately a book about how we can develop deeper connections, disrupt how we think about teaching and learning, and make more meaningful contributions in our lives and our careers. With stories, questions, and strategies, Chip shares his heart and wisdom on every page. This is exactly what we need right now! "- Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Braving the Wilderness
“An engaging, timely exploration of how to bring more wisdom into our work lives. Chip Conley has lived it, and here he teaches you what it takes to find more of it.” – Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
"Being smart comes from studying or understanding complex things, yet wisdom is something deeper. We don’t become wise simply because we get old, wisdom is something we must actively cultivate in order to accumulate. Every one of us should learn what it takes to gain wisdom, and Chip Conley is the wise guide for our journey." -Simon Sinek. Optimist and Best Selling Author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last
“I love the idea that society needs more Modern Elders who offer generosity without an agenda. Chip Conley's articulation of the growing need of wisdom and emotional intelligence in a world obsessed with speed and digital intelligence is spot-on! Every young company could use some 'wisdom insurance'." Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers 50 World’s #1 Executive Coach, #6 Most Influential Business Thinker 2017
"Wisdom at Work beautifully illustrates the opportunity that each of us has to embark on an encore career. Bravo to Chip Conley for writing this timely and inspiring book. Having begun my third chapter at the age of 60, I can attest that this is the most productive and rewarding time of my life. Applying one’s knowledge and passion in the service of missions larger than ourselves is the greatest gift of being a Perennial." - Sherry Lansing, Founder & CEO, the Sherry Lansing Foundation, Former Chairman & CEO, Paramount Pictures
“In an era in which a brilliant idea or even gut instinct seems to be celebrated as success, Chip Conley’s book is a great reminder that wisdom, including analysis, hard work, patience and the like, is still essential.” – Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International
"Chip Conley embodies the generosity, insight and spirit of an elder. He understands that it's not an age, it's a state of mind, and he shares his wisdom here with all of us. Precisely the sort of long-game thinking we need today." -Seth Godin, Co-author, Business Rules of Thumb
About the Author
- Publisher : Currency; 1st Edition (September 18, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0525572902
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525572909
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.67 x 0.97 x 8.53 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #128,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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If you're someone who wonders about what your purpose is--and how to turn that into a life-plan that enriches you financially and personally, this is a book that must read read--no matter what your age. It's about re-creation in the most thoughtful and wise way. It's about learning, serving, and teaching as an integrated package, which Chip sees as the most gratifying way to live and to contribute. I wholeheartedly agree.
So many of us have an inchoate sense that there is something more; an as-yet unclear storehouse of possibility awaiting within us. That our decades of work life and personal life aren't leading us to finish up our careers, or take a side job, but instead to gradually, thoughtfully create a new synthesis of who we are and what we have to offer the world. Chip's work will help you unfold that vision for yourself--which is why I can't recommend it highly enough.
Wisdom @ Work is full of techniques and advice on learning and imparting wisdom to others from a place of humility and emotional intelligence. Here is a tiny sample: Chip suggests a question to ask at work, especially for those who are respected and others would hesitate to offend:
“If I am about to make a mistake, will you tell me?”
Chip has reinvented himself multiple times: first as a CEO and founder of the US’s second largest,ultra cool boutique hotel chain; then as guide to 300 of the world’s best festivals; and now as global strategy advisor to Airbnb.
That foray into the land of San Francisco’s digital millennials was enlightening: he found himself the modern elder at Airbnb. He discovered the magic of intergenerational diversity and the power of being a novice (which dovetails nicely with some of my work at APQC on novices and experts.)
Chip’s insights led to this book, Wisdom @ Work and to founding his most recent creation, the Modern Elder Academy (MEA) to give people a space to put the tools to work. Based in gorgeous Pescadero, Baja Mexico, MEA it is a facilitated program to discover the joy and promise in the next phase of life. I was lucky to be part of one of the beta groups when Chip, Jeff and Christine were designing and refining the Academy. It was a blast and reinforced my quest to reinvent myself after my beloved husband died.
If you want to keep learning and make a difference, this book will help you make that happen.
Plus it is insightful, tweet-able and fun to read as is everything Chip writes.
While I love my job, I never thought about it in the context of where it lived in my career lifecycle. But today I finished a book that helps me put that into context, Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder by Chip Conley.
Chip found himself providing insight to the founders of AirBnB. He used this time to identify and define the term Modern Elder. My favorite concept of the book is a Modern Elder serves as an "Mentern" where you serve as a Mentor helping others make the best decisions for them and helps them become a better person in the context of their work but also is an Intern by being open to learning and growing yourself personally and professionally.
This book brings together powerful research, great stories, actionable lessons and a great list of additional resources.
If you're like me and working to define your career journey after 30+ professional years, this book is a great guide. If you are leading Modern Elders, this book can help you understand how to help your team make the most of that resource.
Top reviews from other countries
Now, with the Modern Elder concept, I am more excited than ever about Chip’s leadership and the value it brings!
This book is, by far, Chip’s most important book. I believe it will be nothing less than a catalyst for radical change in how we see the world of work for people of all ages, not simply Modern Elders.
Beginning with Modern Elders though, ageism in the workplace is still somehow socially permissible in modern society and in the workplace. The Modern Elder concept will see this ultimately rethought by all as we see that, as a “Chip-ism” in the book notes, at the Modern Elder stage it is time to “rewire, not retire”.
In introducing and then giving depth, tools and practice around being a Modern Elder, someone he defines as being "both student and sage, mentor and intern, and have a thirst for mastery”, Chip has written what I feel is at least four books in one.
For aspiring Modern Elders, it can awaken you to your potential and give you practical tools to step into it and live it!
For CEOs and HR leaders, it will elevate your awareness on how you need to change your organisation to take advantage of “Wisdom at Work”. Not “if” you need to change, but “how” to change. From my perspective with clients around the world, none of us have tapped the potential of Modern Elders. Chip and his book give a roadmap.
For those at a younger life stage than the Modern Elder aspirants, treat yourself to gazing in your own crystal ball of your future. Read the book. Understanding that your future of work will not be what society has imprinted on you can change your life now, not in years to come.
To close with another “Chip-ism” to distil the ideas from Carol Dweck around Mindset (another powerful book!), “Growth mindset is about IMPROVING, whereas Fixed mindset is about PROVING”. We’ve had too much “proving” of the conventional “post WW2” thinking on career stages, time to adopt a growth mindset and look to “improve” the world of work. Wisdom at Work will open your eyes to the future of work !