Five Thought Leaders I Follow - Guest Post by Ilene Rosenblum

These blogs just tell it like it is, no holds barred, sharing ways to reformat your brain in order to be more effective, focused and productive. Nothing to download except new ideas, perspectives, and ways of thinking.

Sometimes serious, sometimes snarky, sometimes pedantic, they all stir up something in me each time I check my RSS feed.

1) Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan is president of Human Business Works, an online education and community company for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs. With 16 years of enterprise telecommunications and wireless experience, he consults and speaks professionally with Fortune 100 and 500 companies and is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling Trust Agents. A social media enthusiast with over 11 years experience in online community, social media, and related technologies, he is one of the first to jump on the Google+ bandwagon with two feet.

Chris's style, in his blog at least, is to take personal anecdotes and then connect them to something in the human condition that you can take note of an integrate into a business strategy. Some of my favorite tips:

-Don't Strive for Authenticity

-Salt and Pepper Simplicity

2) Julien Smith - in over your head

Julien Smith has been on the cutting edge of web technology for years. An author, consultant, and speaker who has been involved in online communities for over 15 years, he was one of the first Twitter users and podcasters. He is co-author with Chris Brogan of Trust Agents.

His blog, in over your head, is mostly encouragement for having guts, taking charge of your life, and going out and getting what you want. Be warned that it is peppered with four-letter words, so it might not be one to read while in the office or if you have sensitive eyes. Favorite posts:

-Advanced Tactics in Saying No

-The Complete Guide to Not Giving a F***

3) Timothy Ferriss

Newsweek calls Tim “the world’s best guinea pig,” for all of the tests that he had performed on himself. The angel investor (StumbleUpon, Facebook, Digg, Twitter, etc.), author of the new #1 New York Times bestsellers the Four-Hour Workweek and Four-Hour Body will admit himself that he is OCD and kind of weird. But he is also a genius. He has taken data on all sorts of things about himself in order to find the "minimum effective dose" to achieve any goal: Fat loss, language fluency, ability to deadlift tremendous amounts of weight, you name it. "Small changes can have huge impacts."

While I haven't tried any of his more drastic tactics to achieve major transformations, I find his process fascinating. Some of the most useful things I learned from him have been about Time Management

A lot of people accuse him of being self-centered and a scam artist. Just type in "Tim Ferriss" in Google and it will suggest "Tim Ferriss scam".

4) Malcolm Gladwell

I have to include the author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking",Outliers: The Story of Success, and What the Dog Saw, though unfortunately his blog hasn't been updated in over a year. (He explains why he shies away from blogs and social media in the Globe and Mail). Gladwell gets behind social behavior: What works, and why; and his writing style is captivating.

Captivating enough at least to make it to Time's 2005 "Most Influential People" list.

Maybe I shouldn't include him here, because he thinks that social media is just a bunch of noise. But I'm willing to accept that not every tool will work for every person and ever situation, and I'm proud to be able to respect people even if I disagree with them. Social media is good for branding and business. Gladwell himself admits that it can help him sell books. Perhaps that isn't a high priority for him?

5) Seth Godin

Malcolm Gladwell has signature hair, and Seth Godin is a signature bald guy. But he's known for his marketing know-how, in thirteen bestselling books and an immensely popular blog. He has solid ideas, but it's a little disheartening to know that most of the companies that he founded failed nonetheless.

I love his blog for the short little observations that can make a big difference in how I think.

Some favorite posts:

The Warning Signs of Defending the Status Quo

Three Things Clients and Customers Want

Do you have any to add to the list?

Ilene Rosenblum is a web content strategist based in Jerusalem. She builds lead-generating websites, social media campaigns, and blogs for SEO.

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