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Philip Kotler, the Father of Modern Marketing, Will Never Retire

Hal Conick

Philip Kotler is 86 years old and will never retire; he doesn’t believe in retirement. “Do I ever relax?” he asks in the epilogue of his latest book, an autobiography titled My Adventures in Marketing. Perhaps Kotler relaxes in his own way, but he prides himself on activity. He answers his own question: “I just enjoy producing more than consuming.”

And produce Kotler does; he still works as a professor of international marketing at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, and he continues to write. He’s written more than 60 books, has more than 60 “episodes” (or chapters) in his autobiography, and for a chunk of time, he may have been the only octogenarian who regularly updated a blog. 

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Kotler also travels enough to make most marketers homesick by proxy. At the time of Kotler’s conversation with Marketing News, he had just returned from a speaking engagement in Italy and had plans to travel to Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Bahrain soon after. Each trip brings new friends, he says, to go along with new experiences and the possibility of a much thicker new book. “I could write another 60 stories that have happened to me in the last few years that would be of interest to people,” Kotler says.   

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Hal Conick is a freelance writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at halconick@gmail.com or on Twitter at @HalConick.