Thought leaders are people who are considered to be authoritative and influential on a specific subject or field and are a fantastic way to learn about the latest innovations or pioneering technologies in specific industries.
A big part of leveling up and learning new ideas is finding some sort of mentorship, someone you can learn from that has already walked the walk but as an entrepreneur or solopreneur, this sometimes can be difficult without either paying or offering up a lot of value first.
Fortunately, it’s 2018 and we can follow influencers and utilize wonderful tools like social media, videos, and podcasts to follow the smartest people in our industry or on any subject we are interested in.
This article is going to cover several sources you should be using to follow influencers, plus some of my favorites and podcasts you really should be following to learn faster and from those that have a wealth of experience and are willingly sharing it online.
If you are spending a lot of time on the internet or using social media, then the chances are you are already following a wealth of different people. But some of the people we follow are distracting and unproductive, ensuring you follow inspirational and experienced thought leaders will help you get more value from your time.
Seth is a master direct marketer and author of 18 books who also founded both Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His C.V speaks for itself and Seth has long been considered one of the best marketers on the planet and a thought leader who offers a lot of value. Seth is inspirational and fantastic to listen to speak.
Seth Godin has a wealth of experience and no lack of humility, this makes him one of my favorite influencers to keep up to date with.
You can find a wealth of videos of him doing keynotes on YouTube or check out his website at Seth Godin.
Seth Godin is also a master when it comes to blogging and has lots of great tips for other bloggers and creators out there looking to build an audience.
“If failure is not an option, then neither is success.”
Tim is the host of the self-titled Tim Ferriss Show which has reached over 100 million people and rose to fame in 2008 with his book “The 4-Hour Workweek” which quickly reached number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold over 1.3 million copies to date.
His journey didn’t begin there though as he had spent the preceding years making money from various website ventures whilst traveling the world, you could say he was one of the very first digital nomads. His podcast features interviews with some very insightful guests from all walks of life and a wide range of professions. Tim talks about subjects ranging from entrepreneurship, productivity, and business to health and science.
Tim Ferriss is one of the early pioneers of digital nomadism and while it’s a little out of date his basic approach of using blogging, websites and affiliate marketing to live a 4-hour workweek are still as inspiring as ever to read.
The best way to learn more about Tim and follow his podcast and blog is at Tim.blog
“Life is too short to be small.”
Some people are not sure about Gary at first, maybe because his approach and direct communication are a little more aggressive than most but once you give him a chance and realize he delivers solid content.
Gary built his reputation after taking his father’s wine business into the digital age and turning WineLibrary into a $45 million a year company and then turning to the business of helping others.
Gary formed VaynerMedia a social-first marketing agency. What does that mean? Simply put he drives his traffic predominantly from social networks because that is where most people are spending their time on their internet or their phones. If you are into marketing or making money (that’s all of you) then he will definitely have some bold ideas to share with you.
He is one of the most impressive digital marketers and content creators out there who keeps it real with his stoic attitude.
Gary publishes videos every day on his YouTube Channel of motivational messages, behind the scenes insight into his meetings at Vayner Media and also keynote speeches at events and institutions around the world. This is the best place to start with consuming Gary’s ideas. Visit GaryVaynerchuk.com
“Without hustle, your talent will only get you so far.”
If you haven’t heard the name Tony Robbins then you are either very young or have been living under a rock. Tony is the king of thought leaders and has been giving motivational speeches for decades.
While some of his older material may be a bit dated newer content is highly relevant and he actually talks about finance and investing for the future as much as motivational speaking these days. Some people might not love his approach or style at times but it’s hard to argue with the results he gets.
Tony is the real deal though, he turned his life around and has very poignant ideas that can help you be more successful and learn from the insider knowledge he has gathered over many years networking with some of the most wealthy individuals in the world.
One of the best skills you can learn from Tony Robbins is productivity and motivation as he is the master of both of these skills.
Tony has changed millions of lives and has written four best-selling books. Now at the age of 57, he claims he is only just getting started. Visit TonyRobbins.com
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
Elon Musk is an inventor, entrepreneur and well, it kind of feels like he doesn’t need an introduction these days as the head of Tesla Motors and SpaceX this guy went from wealthy entrepreneur to global powerhouse in the past ten years.
His earlier wins being part of PayPal and selling it seems minuscule in comparison to his more recent ambitions and successes. Sending rockets to space that can land again to be re-used, creating space-age transport systems to connect L.A and San Francisco and SolarCity and Tesla to help eradicate dirty fuels, this guy has been changing the world for a while now and shows no signs of slowing down. Oh did I mention he wants to take humans to Mars in his lifetime?
Follow Elon Musk on Twitter to keep up to date with what he is up and what he is sharing. I would also highly recommend you check out the book Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, or check the audiobook version if you prefer to listen. Browsing YouTube for videos with Elon and documentaries about his life are also great sources to check out.
“(Physics is) a good framework for thinking. … Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there.”
Joe Rogan Experience
Okay so Joe Rogan may not often be described as a thought leader, he is better known for comedy, being a UFC commentator and podcast presenter but since he is also a smart and open-minded journalist and is constantly featuring interesting guests who are usually leaders in their field I wanted to include this one as it is a personal favorite and can provide a little escapism.
The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast which you can both listen to or watch on YouTube is one of the most popular podcasts online and Joe is often seen as one of the early adopters who championed podcasting.
Joe’s show features lots of different types of guests and isn’t always about success and motivation but features pioneering scientists and sometimes just famous professionals such as actors, musicians and other people equally famous in their own right.
You might not find every episode is to your taste but you will surely find some interesting guests that will be of interest if you browse through the list.
“That’s my only goal. Surround myself with funny people, and make sure everyone has a good time and works hard.”
Yuval Noah Harari
Yuval is the author of the famed book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and my favorite read of 2018 (even though he published it back in 2014) on the repeated recommendation from our previous entry Mr. Joe Rogan.
Sapiens is a masterful breakdown of the story of human beings over the past 40,000 years and is a book that will teach you a lot about yourself through your ancestral journey.
He talks about the different leaps in evolution we took and of the different stages. The cognitive revolution that took place around 50,000 years ago, the agricultural revolution and the scientific revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries.
His follow up books 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow and talk about the present and future respectively and provide some shocking predictions for what is to come.
In short, Yuval is an author and speaker worth checking out.
Other Notable Mentions
Chris provides modern businesses with strategy and the skills necessary to grow and succeed. He is the founder and CEO of Owner Media Group, a public speaker, New York Times bestselling author of 9 books and consults for some of the biggest brands on the planet including Disney, Coke, Google, Microsoft, GM, the list could go on and on.
If you want to be more open-minded and on the cutting edge of what’s happening in the modern world, you need to find influencers that you resonate with to help you keep progressing and challenging yourself.
The above list is the thought leaders I look up to and find share great insights into how to optimize your life and business.