Day 3 of my 7 days of 5 things to ponder or research. Today’s list of 5 is the top 5 thinkers I’m paying attention to in 2019. I’ve curated this list based on my Bacon Quotient (BQ?) – a framework of four traits: 1) Interestingness 2) Originality 3) Relevance and 4) Thought-provoking. By no means do I fully agree with the ideas of any or all of these thinkers. Nor am I a “fan”; I’m an admirer of some and an observer of all. Considering the large number of thinkers I curate, it was fairly difficult to narrow down to 5!

  1. Dr. Jordan Peterson – I first heard Peterson on Joe Rogan’s podcast about two years ago. A Canadian psychotherapist and professor, Jordan burst on to the intellectual scene as a provocateur of the extremes – both the militant left and the alt-right as well as the extremes of the major religions. In addition to his best selling book “12 Rules for Life” (which was included in Monday’s list), Peterson does frequent lecturers on tour and  makes frequent podcast and media appearances. In addition, he has his own podcast. I mention this because Peterson is one of those thinkers that many people have an opinion of by proxy (either positively or negatively). He is prolific. Check him out for yourself.
  2. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – In the mid-term elections, Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to serve in Congress. I disagree with almost every one of her policy positions. I find them to be naive and idealistic but … I admire anyone that can articulately and consistently challenge orthodoxy. She brings fresh eyes, new perspectives, a whip-smart sense of timing to the traditional Democrat-vs-Republican arena.
  3. Jon Mertz – Full disclosure: Jon is a client and a friend – which means I have an insider’s viewpoint of the platform that he’s creating. Called “Activate World”, Jon’s belief is that business leaders have far more power to solve social issues than elected officials do. His background in DC politics and corporate marketing, gives him a moderate, measured and mature sense of life.
  4. Srinivas Rao – An author, speaker, podcaster, blogger, Rao is my current favorite thinker on creativity and a creative mindset. He also provides a fresh voice on the impact of technology on humanity and how creativity remains the best problem-solver for current issues. He has a calm, vulnerable way about him that I believe is spurred by a continually curious mind. And like any great thinker, he is also an asker of great questions in his writings and podcast conversations.
  5. Esther Perel – The daughter of Holocaust survivors, this Belgian-born psychotherapist and best selling author has become one of the most recognized and respected experts on human sexuality and intimacy in relationships. Like all of the thinkers on this list, Perel challenges the orthodoxies of sexuality put forth by both the traditional psychology world  as well as religious doctrine by taking on taboo topics like infidelity, monogamy and non-traditional relationships.

Others considered:

Jen Hatmaker

Dave Rubin

Claire Lehmann

Van Jones

Jonathan Haidt 

Richard Rohr


Who are you paying attention to?

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