8 Inspiring Thought Leaders Who Will Change the Way You Do Business

YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council) surveyed some folks about who they are most influenced by. Here are the top 8 responses.

Q: Which thought leader influences you the most?

1. Gary Vaynerchuk

I love Vaynerchuk’s systematic approach to how marketers should actually be marketing in 2014. He’s brutally honest about the strategies he recommends, while also practicing what he preaches on a regular basis. I strive to have my own version of the Vaynerchuk hustle.
– Brian Honigman, Marketing Consultant


2. Jack Dorsey

Dorsey is curious, obsessed and a visionary. He make his employees think through every decision and sweat the details. When building a big company you want everyone to think like this and make very calculated decisions.
– Ryan Shank, Mhelpdesk



3. Tony Hsieh

I really love how Hsieh cares about his employees and treats them as people. By reading his books and touring Zappos, I’ve learned to appreciate my employees more and cultivate a culture that celebrates the wins more often.
– Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations



4. Marissa Mayer

Talk about someone who’s taken nothing and turned it into something. She’s pretty much had everything thrown at her and she keeps on rocking it. She’s more than doubled the price of Yahoo since she joined despite having a baby and everyone telling her she couldn’t do it. That’s someone you can look up too.
– John Rampton, Adogy



5. Richard Branson

One of the things I love about Branson is how he has built a conglomerate of super successful mega-businesses under the Virgin brand. At Amerisleep, we hope to do the same. I’ve followed his work very closely to learn how I too can grow a corporation that houses brands that consumers all over the world absolutely love and talk about.
– Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep



6. Elon Musk

From SpaceX to Tesla, Elon Musk has consistently built game-changing companies. I admire his rebel-like leadership. He goes against traditional business strategies like opening Tesla’s patents for anyone’s use and offering an infinite-mile warranty on their electric car. Musk has successfully lead his companies and the industry.
– Nanxi Liu, Enplug



7. Dale Carnegie

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” was one of the greatest people management books of all time. Nothing is more important in leadership than understanding people’s needs and how to influence their participation within the organization.
– Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee



8. Adam Grant

Adam Grant is the author of “Give and Take” and a top-ranked professor at Wharton. Every team member gets a copy of his book on their first day. His thesis is that people are either givers, matchers, or takers. Givers, who aim to add value to others, either end up on the top of the success ladder or bottom. He shows how to manage your approach generosity so you can end up on top.
– Mark Arnoldy, Possible

Young Entrepreneur Council

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective (http://businesscollective.com), a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

  • There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

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