11 Thought Leaders to Follow on LinkedIn
What is a LinkedIn thought leader? Reaching a network of 200 million people, this elite group includes some of the most influential thinkers in the world. When LinkedIn launched the program in 2012, there were only 150 thought leaders—some world renowned thinkers like President Barack Obama and Sir Richard Branson as well as industry-specific movers and shakers like Emotional Intelligence 2.0 author Dr. Travis Bradberry and investor James Caan.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an application process for the prestigious title of LinkedIn influencer. Rather, individuals are invited to receive the coveted “influencer” badge if they exhibit a unique blend of expertise, vision, and leadership. This means individuals are not only successful and have proven ideas for how others can be successful—they also inspire people to act. Scroll through to meet the thought leaders whose words are transforming the way we think about life, work, and happiness.
With 249k LinkedIn followers, Caterina Fake is one of the most influential women on LinkedIn. An English major at Vassar, Fake went on to co-found several companies including Flickr, Funch, and Findrey. She also serves as Chairman of Etsy, serves on the board of Creative Commons, and is an active angel investor. Our favorite Fake article is “How to Create Time.” In it, she outlines six ways in which we could get more out of our 24-hour day. To begin, she makes the bold claim that we should eliminate or reduce media, work offline, and do less. Follow Fake to learn how this over-achiever can advocate for doing less.
Patricia Wooster Flickr Cofounder and Web Community Creator Caterina Fake ($8)
In his book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Dr. Travis Bradberry explains what emotional intelligence is and how to improve your own. The Dalai Lama explained, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0 succinctly explains how to deal with emotions creatively and employ our intelligence in a beneficial way.” As an influencer on LinkedIn, Dr. Bradberry shares his science-supported conclusions about everything from regret to integrity. Our favorite story is “How (And Why) to Become a Talented Listener” in which he articulates the importance of listening with your entire body in order to stay on top of your professional game. Follow Dr. Bradberry and up your emotional intelligence game.
Liz Ryan is a human resources veteran who founded the global movement Human Workplace in 2012 as a means to bring human interactions and emotions back into the workplace. Her philosophy is that it’s easier to inspire and motivate people than to watch them like hawks. “We measure too much at work, we poke and prod people too much, and we care too much about particles when we should be focusing on waves (of energy and trust and goodwill, of momentum and team cohesion) around us,” Ryan says. Follow Liz Ryan to learn about how to make your work life more enjoyable.
As President of the Sheryl Sandberg-founded Lean In Organization, Rachel Schall Thomas knows how to make her voice heard. But that doesn’t mean she’s not vulnerable. “I try to build what I like to call ‘confidence reserves,’” Thomas tells Entrepreneur. “Each week, I spend a few minutes writing down my accomplishments and star the ones that felt like a stretch. If you do this, I’m willing to bet you’ll begin to see a pattern of success.”
We love Thomas’s LinkedIn articles like “Why Take Your Kids to Work Day Matters” and “You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don’t Take.” Thomas isn’t afraid to say it like it is. For example, in a recent article entitled “Corporate America Is Not on a Path to Gender Equality,” Thomas stated, “Based on recent progress, it will take more than 100 years to reach gender parity in the C-suite, and the reasons may surprise you.” For more truthful insights and strategies on how to be a working mom, follow Rachel Thomas on LinkedIn.
One of the most spiritually enlightened voices of our time, Deepak Chopra uses LinkedIn as an effective platform to spread his messages about faith, power, defeat, and success. With more than 4.1 million followers, Deepak has a large audience every time he publishes an article.
One of our favorite articles is “A Path to Personal Forgiveness: Defeat the Three Dragons.” In it, Deepak discusses how he thinks forgiveness needs to be brought down to earth—meaning forgiveness needs to become more of a human act as opposed to a divine act. “Millions of people feel justified in clinging to their own dragons (judgment, anger, and blame), and it takes conviction to realize that nothing about judgment, anger, and blame actually serves anyone’s self-interest.” To learn more about the way Chopra teaches us to be kind to ourselves, follow him in LinkedIn.
In 2000, Fortune named Jack Welch, the legendary General Electric CEO, “manager of the century.” During his tenure at General Electric, the company’s value rose 4,000%. Since then, Welch has written several books and articles outlining his philosophy of success. His recent article “Six Ways to Tell if You Work for a Really Great Company” flips the tables and allows us to inquire about our company’s success, not our own. In the article Welch professes that great companies “demonstrate a real commitment to continuous learning, are meritocracies, keep their hiring standards tight, and encourage risk taking.” There is a lot to learn from this iconic businessman on LinkedIn.
As one of the most influential voices in media, Arianna Huffington is definitely someone whom we always want to learn more about. She meditates every morning, gives TED talks about the importance of sleep, and encourages women to speak up for themselves. On LinkedIn Huffington publishes sage advice in articles like “There’s Enough Time in Your Life for Everything Important” that ease your mind while also encouraging you to thrive. We love Huffington’s honesty, her relentless effort to stay at the top of her game, and her relatability. Make sure to follow Arianna Huffington on LinkedIn.
President Obama was one of the first voices given the title of LinkedIn influencer back in 2012. As the leader of the free world, President Obama’s voice is undeniably influential. His LinkedIn account, which is followed by more than 2.4 million people, reminds us of the humanity of our president. You should definitely follow the President on LinkedIn.
On LinkedIn people praise James Caan’s leadership, humility, and technical expertise. As an entrepreneur, mentor, and television personality, he is well versed in inspiring others to act. His mobile app, James Caan Business Secrets, is one of the most successful business apps of all time. After joining the elite ranks of 150 LinkedIn Influencers, Caan quickly surpassed President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron in number of followers. He dispenses invaluable advice through LinkedIn articles like “The Perfect CV” and is one of the best thought leaders to follow if you are a professional of any sort.
Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project is a #1 New York Times and an international bestseller. Rubin developed her idea for The Happiness Project as a yearlong experiment in which she tried to amplify her happiness quotient. With her law and psychology background, the Yale alum conveyed her progress through charts and analytical data. But her message inspired millions of others to try to increase their happiness. Through her books, blog articles, and speaking engagements, Rubin conveys complex ideas about human habits in a way that is accessible and adaptable for a wide range of listeners. On LinkedIn Rubin explores topics like joy and self-knowledge in stories such as “What Gave Lena Dunham the Truest Feeling of Joy?” and “7 Things I Learned About Myself, From Getting a Dog.” Discover what makes you happy by following Rubin on LinkedIn.