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August 2018
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TD Magazine

What’s a Learning Experience? Everything.

Never Stop Learning: Stay Relevant, Reinvent Yourself, and Thrive

By Bradley R. Staats
Harvard Business Review Press, 240 pp., $30

In a society with technology at our fingertips, we constantly face an information overload. Yet at the same time, our professions and careers continually drive us to enhance our knowledge, skills, and abilities. Otherwise we risk becoming stagnant or irrelevant.

Avoiding such a fate can be difficult. We know we should attend professional development and other traditional learning events, but these can overwhelm the working professional with a busy career and personal life. After all, we have enough on our plates and in our brains; we can't always fit anything else in the picture.

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In Never Stop Learning, Staats presents an alternative. An organizational performance expert and associate professor of operation at the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, he shares a series of behavior-based concepts that individuals can adapt to continually develop themselves without necessarily leaning into traditional methods of learning and education. His book's refreshing view holds that learning is not just a single event. Instead, it shows that people can continuously leverage their own daily experiences as growth opportunities.

As a talent development professional, I admire the book's approach. It emphasizes what happens when we are back in reality, beyond the constraints of a four-walled classroom. How do we manage our failures, processes, strengths, specializations, and even our determination to improve ourselves and our organizations once the support system has been removed?

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Staats focuses heavily on mindset and one's ability to view every experience as a learning opportunity. He explains that while we often can be our own worst enemies, a person's approach to any given scenario is what determines how she develops from it. Therefore, an individual has the most control of her own behaviors and ultimate success.

Each of the fundamental concepts in this book is backed up by behavioral science research and powerful, applicable life strategies. Simply stated: Applying what it teaches will help you accelerate your growth.

The book can help you stimulate the growth of others, too. When we focus on our own experiences and becoming a dynamic learner, we can invoke growth on all of those around us. Further, we can use its teachings to develop leaders at our organizations in a way that emphasizes the importance of personal reflection and refinement—not just being busy and checking off tasks from a list.

Overall, Never Stop Learning is an excellent reading choice for professionals who want to adapt further and develop a growth mindset, improve their performance on the job, and better their lives overall.

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About the Author
Lindsay Kirsch is a learning and performance specialist with more than 12 years in the industry.
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