The Company You Keep: A Supreme Court of Influencers

Learning to live (and live well) is a never-ending lesson. In a world full of chatter, people with enough aplomb to be insightful and enough panache to get the message across are priceless. Here are the folks that have my ear...and should have yours as well.

Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee): Gary V is a firecracker that digs deep into each video he records, stunning and intriguing us every time. His explosive charisma challenges us to be honest about our entrepreneurial intentions and goals. If you want to learn to market yourself or are looking for ways to sharpen that hustle in a brilliantly human way, check out his work. Books and videos galore - they won't disappoint. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook em, y'all.

Superpowers: Energy, Ravenous Hunger for the Hustle

Tim Ferriss (@TFerriss): Tim Ferriss is such an inspiration. His curiosity and eagerness to sift through the nuts and bolts of self-improvement are such a light in a culture that is obsessed with what we can get...instead of becoming the most efficient, highest possible version of ourselves. His Four Hour series (Chef,BodyWorkweek) have gone on to resonate with scores of people around the world and for good reason. Time is of the essence. Get on board.

Superpowers: Discipline, Worldly Je Ne Sais Quoi

Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog): Seth Godin is unparalleled in his measured, simple approach for human connection. His daily email newsletters are just the thing that we all need to peruse over our morning coffee. Whether a list of valuable links or a few sentences on starting your first endeavor, his thoughts are rich and rife with the equal portions of grace, care, and minimalism that our culture (of dogma, shoddy work, and grandeur) so desperately needs.

Superpowers: Minimalism that Packs a Wallop, Gentle but Precious Insight

Malcolm Gladwell (@Gladwell): I just love Malcolm Gladwell's body of work. In BlinkThe Tipping Point, and What the Dog Saw, he invites us to rethink the ways we've been taught to encounter the world. In Outliers and David and Goliath, he challenges us to pivot our understanding of power and success. His skilled forays into the "how"s that undergird our society are worth their weight in...well, any precious commodity one could think of.

Superpower: Investigative Rigor

Brene Brown (@BreneBrown): Brene Brown is something of a wonder. Her TED talk on shame touched so many people. Our cultural conversation has a dire need for the nuance that grace, forgiveness, and shame affords us. A world that values the head at the expense of the heart (and productivity of people over their inherent value) will never realize its true potential. Which is why we need Brene Brown, bless our hearts.

Superpowers: Vulnerability, Courage in the Face of Vicious Self-Doubt

Susan Cain (@SusanCain): If the meek are truly destined to inherit the earth, Susan Cain will be our patron saint. I'm an INFJ (emphasis on the J) in a culture that conflates volume with value, and innovative insight with attention-seeking behavior. In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, she sheds light on the needs and unique contributions of the Innies of the world. With the finesse of a skilled surgeon, she separates introversion from shyness, misanthropy, and social awkwardness. We are a quiet bunch, but we choose to be so because we'd knock the world out of its orbit with our gravity if we spoke all the time.

Superpowers: Gravitas, The Introvert's Sight Beyond Sight

Elon James White (@ElonJames): Whether Elon is dissecting societal trends as CEO of This Week in Blackness, cracking us all up with hilarious stories about his family, or creating hashtags that fly in the face of street harassment, he is a fantastic person giving us what we need. Our country has a rich cultural inheritance that includes societal woes that need unpacking. The Elons are quick to use their two cents to help us on our way.

Superpowers: Humor, Ally (Social Justice), Subaltern Knowledge

Black Girls Talking (@BlkGirlsTalking): This one's a bit of a cheat. Black Girls Talking is actually a group of four amazing Black women that have one hell of a podcast. Hitting on topics ranging from the -isms and -phobias of our day to cultural appropriation, they level a cultural critique fit for the history books. Alesia, Fatima, Aurelia and Ramou have a collection of interviews that are worth the read. Hear that sound? That's the sound of Black Girls Talking.

Superpowers: Subaltern Knowledge, Shade-Throwing, Intersectionality

So, there y'all have it. Run over to your local library branch, start following on Twitter, subscribe to those podcasts...and broaden your worldview so you can bulk up that hustle.