By Anne-Cecilie Engell Speyer and Beth Kojima
Everyone has a routine. From where they get their coffee, to which route they take to work, to what side of the bed they sleep on at night. Routine is what keeps us sane in our over-scheduled lives. One thing many find missing from their routine, however, is a way to connect with friends outside of the normal conversation, or with work colleagues in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Our solution was to make time for a monthly book group. We would convene with friends, and the authors would be in attendance: from Erica Jong to Michael Cunningham, Nick Flynn, Mary Louise Parker, Ann Leary, Gary Shteyngardt, and Hanya Yanagihara. We rarely missed a meeting because it offered something we weren’t getting in our daily routines — knowledge from someone who could inspire a more compelling conversation.
Despite divergent backgrounds (finance and fashion marketing), we both loved not only learning more about a topic, but also digging into what drove these authors. But why stop at authors? And so, almost three years ago, we sat down over pizza and created the foundation for Never Stop Learning (NSL). The idea was to connect with friends and colleagues in a convenient and intimate setting, where every person could be heard. The one caveat: it all had to happen in an hour. Who has time for more?
Since that initial brainstorming lunch, we have accrued an incredible list of almost 300 experts ranging from journalists just back from coverage in Syria, to scientists espousing the latest on CRISPR, to mentalists teaching the art of persuasion. These diverse and charismatic speakers cover every topic from global affairs to technology to the arts to culinary. An hour with any of them and you will be guaranteed to see the world a little differently and with a deeper perspective.
NSL Members sign up for an annual membership and we host talks throughout NYC, Greenwich, and Westchester (more cities coming soon!).
We will use this column weekly to showcase some of the questions (and expert answers!) that emerge from our member talks. Some days we will ask one of our experts to take over the column and occasionally we will have one of our brilliant NSL member guests write their takeaways.
In the end, the goal is to never stop learning together.
Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.