Harper Wave Books: Unexpected Perspectives on Mind, Body, and Soul

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Gnar Country

Growing Old, Staying Rad

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About the Book

The New York Times bestselling author and human performance expert tests his knowledge and theories on his own aging body in a quest to become an expert skier at age fifty-three.

Gnar: adjective, short for “gnarly,” def: any environment or situation that is high in perceived risk and high in actual risk.

Country: noun, def: any defined territory, landscape or terrain, fictitious or real.

Cutting-edge discoveries in embodied cognition, flow science, and network neuroscience have revolutionized how we think about peak performance aging. On paper, these discoveries should allow older athletes to progress in supposedly “impossible” activities like park skiing (think: jumps and tricks.) To see if theory worked in practice, Kotler conducted his own ass-on-the-line experiment in applied neuroscience and later-in-life skill acquisition: He tried to teach an old dog some new tricks.

Recently, top pros have been performing well past a previously considered prime: World-class athletes such as Kelly Slater, the greatest surfer of all time, is winning competitions in his fifties; Tom Brady can beat players half his age. But what about the rest of us?

Steven Kotler has been studying human performance for thirty years, and taught hundreds of thousands of people at all skill levels, age groups, and walks of life, how to achieve peak performance. Could his own advice work for him?

Gnar Country is the chronicle of his experience pushing his own aging body past preconceived limits. It’s a book about goals and grit and progression. It’s an antidote for weariness that is inspiring, practical, and, often hilarious. It is about growing old and staying rad. It’s a feverish reading experience that makes you put down the book, get out there, and move. Whether hurtling down a mountain side, running your first 10K race, or taking your career to new heights, Kotler challenges us to test ourselves, surpass our limits, and achieve our own impossible, whatever it might be. Part personal journey, part science experiment, part how-to guide, Kotler takes us on his punk rock, high-velocity joy-ride for a better life in spite—and often in defiance of—the perceived limitations of the aging human body.

About the Author

Steven Kotler

Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. He is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance. He is the author of nine bestsellers (out of thirteen 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 over 40 languages, and appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, TIME and the Harvard Business Review. Steven is also the cohost of Flow Research Collective Radio, a top ten iTunes science podcast. Along with his wife, author Joy Nicholson, he is the cofounder of the Rancho de Chihuahua, a hospice and special needs dog sanctuary.