How (and Why) to Become a Modern Elder, an interview with Chip Conley

(from the book): Being a Modern Elder is all about reciprocity. Giving and receiving. Teaching and learning. Speaking and listening. Everyone gets older, but not everyone gets elder.

Joined on the show today by Chip Conley: Hotelier, author, social alchemist, disruptor, student, sage, and Modern Elder. He’s the author of a new book called Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder.Learn more at


This book is for the person who can and should become a modern elder. But this is also for the young professional who should learn how to tap into the wisdom of a modern elder, yes?

The bigger problem is a feeling of irrelevance in the current workforce, yes?

Boomer angst…

Long view vs. short view…tapping into an elder can help with the long view…

Wisdom is a growing national resource…

They can teach us emotional intelligence, self-reflection, and empathy…

Knowing you can be relevant longer, we need to keep learning new skills…

Modern elder: judgement, insight, emotional intelligence, holistic thinking, stewardship

FOUR LESSONS: evolve, learn, collaborate, counsel
Evolution can accelerate as your age.
Reframe your identity.
Stoke curiosity.
Human to human, not B to B, or B to C.
First-class notice.
Be a confidant to younger people, learn true pulse of the organization.
Personal network effect.
At this stage, you focus on the essence more than the actions….the being more than the doing.
Facilitating intergenerational collaboration (fostering true innovation).

“Midlife awakening.”

Shift away from the age-old lifecycle: education, work, retirement.
Now it’s raw, cooked, burned, and raw again…

Anti-generational thinking, or, perennials.

Rewire vs. retire. When did you peak? Or is that still ahead of you?

Find Chip Conley’s book here:

About Chip Conley (from his website):

Rebel hospitality entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author, Chip Conley disrupted his favorite industry… twice. At age 26 he founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality (JdV), transforming an inner-city motel into the second largest boutique hotel brand in America. He sold JdV after running it as CEO for 24 years, and soon the young founders of Airbnb asked him to help transform their promising start-up into the world’s leading hospitality brand. Chip served as Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy for four years and today acts as the company’s Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership. His five books have made him a leading authority at the intersection of psychology and business. Chip was awarded “Most Innovative CEO” by the San Francisco Business Times, is the recipient of hospitality’s highest honor, the Pioneer Award, and holds a BA and MBA from Stanford University.

(the podcast on iTunes)

Leave a Reply