Want some inspiration? Start following inspiring people. And when I say “follow,” I am not referring only to Twitter, although that is an excellent starting point. I mean follow as in study, investigate, hear, heed, sit at their feet and absorb the lessons.
Here are seven thought leaders (in no particular order) that are worth following.
1. Tony Hsieh. The CEO of Zappo’s is so much more than a shoe salesman. Hsieh is the model for how corporate executives can stay firmly connected to the real world. His Tweets alone are worth his reputation.
2. Travis Kalanick. OK, I admit my bias as a sold-out fan of Uber, but Kalanick’s story is quite remarkable. I will continue to follow this young genius to see how he navigates an endless stream of obstacles. Kalanick’s lessons for entrepreneurs are invaluable.
3. Marie Forleo. There are those who make things happen and those who wonder what happened. Count Forleo in the former category. The term “self-made woman” is more than appropriate for her. This energetic, brash and straight-talking success guru has fashioned an amazing company with a vast following.
4. Guy Kawasaki. I first read How to Drive Your Competition Crazy roughly 20 years ago and I have never looked at competitive positioning the same way again. The former chief evangelist for Apple is a serial entrepreneur and investor with an eye for success. His Tweets are solid gold.
5. Daniel Kahneman. This Nobel Prize-winning founder of behavioral economics won’t blow you out of the water with flashy presentations, but he will make you think about life in entirely new ways. His masterpiece book Thinking Fast and Slow took me forever to read because every page provided content that demanded I pause, reflect on the application and change my thinking accordingly. Watch his videos on YouTube, Ted Talks and Big Think.
6. Gary Vaynerchuk. You can read his books or his blog, but you really need to experience Garyvee (Google it) to get the entire, unfiltered flavor of Vaynerchuk’s brilliance. His enterprise provides a blueprint for entrepreneurial success in the digital age. Garyvee’s unending approachability has endeared him to millions.
7. Malcolm Gladwell. If Malcolm Gladwell wrote nothing but knock-knock jokes, I would read every one of them. Of course, his version would go something like, “Knock-knock. Who’s there? An observationalist with an uncanny knack for seeing things that everyone else overlooks.” Gladwell is deeply cerebral and yet easily readable — a great combination for the ADD entrepreneur. His study of human nature is spellbinding.
So, those are my suggestions. Who do you suggest?