If you read closely, you may find it strange that as a pastor, only one of these 9 people are faith related. The reason is simple…
The people closest to me have the biggest impact on that area of my life… I love to read and grow from well-known pastors and authors, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty aspects of my faith–the sins I struggle with, my failures, and weaknesses–those things are best addressed in real life. In community with fellow believers.
My wife, mentor, pastor (who also happens to be my boss), and some great close friends have been far more influential and impactful on my life and my faith.
When it comes to other areas of my life: health, finances, blogging, and leadership, these 9 people have been incredible sources of wisdom. I consider them my “virtual mentors.”
I love to learn from the best and these people are experts and game-changers in their field of interest.
The 9 Bloggers, Podcasters, and Writers who have Influenced me the most this year
1. James Clear
I’ve been following James Clear’s blog for a couple of years now and he continues to produce fantastic articles.
What I love about this site though is how he is able to use illustrations from so many different areas of life to make his message crystal clear.
Few people can write in such an impactful and lasting way as James Clear. I can still recall major points from articles I’ve read 2+ years ago.
These days, I’m pretty worn out on personal development blogs, as most seem to rehash the same ideas. But if I could only pick one self-improvement blog to read for the rest of my life, it would be JamesClear.com
Most impactful articles:
- What Every Successful Person Knows, but Never Says
- Why I write–this post is what led me to start my own blog
- How to Create a Chain Reaction of Good Habits
- The Downside of Work-Life Balance–this one inspired my post on balancing financial goals
- How to Fall in Love with Boredom and Unlock your Mental Toughness
- Forget about Setting Goals. Focus on this Instead.
2. Pete McPherson
I first came across Pete’s podcast when I was looking for resources on blogging in the personal finance space. I had just launched my blog (the first time around) and was totally clueless on what to do. Between figuring out to drive traffic, do SEO, build an email list, and everything else, I was lost.
Pete interviews world-class bloggers every week to learn what’s working for them. It’s all incredibly actionable and perfectly geared for new or established bloggers.
More than that though, Pete has been an enormous help to me personally over the past year of blogging and is one of the main reasons I’ve stuck with it to this point. We’ve emailed countless times and Pete called me one day just to answer a question!
My favorite & most helpful interviews and posts:
- An SEO Expert breaks down his “INSANE BLOG TRAFFIC” formula
- The Sad Truth About Online Business (and Blogging)
- Free Resource: 33 Day New Blogger Bootcamp
3. Ramit Sethi
Ramit might win the award for the scammiest website name of all time: IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com (IWT for short). Name aside, Ramit truly does teach people how to develop the life skills and know-how to make money, succeed, and live a “rich life.”
What I love about Ramit is his approach to helping people create change in their lives. He isn’t trying to share the latest life hacks so that your life ends up seeming like its been duct-taped together.
Ramit is all about creating systems that work in the real world. No BS. No sugar-coating. And no random tactics.
Ramit’s blog has also been instrumental in my transition from focusing on frugality to maximizing my income. I realized that I was hitting the wall of diminishing returns in my efforts to save money. I was working harder and harder to cut costs and my quality of life was going down.
Now, I’m still living frugally, but instead of pinching pennies to cut another $200/month from our budget I’m trying to double our annual income through career growth and building a business on the side.
My favorite interviews and posts:
- The Ultimate Guide to Asking for a Raise and Boosting your Salary
- The Ultimate Guide to Remarkable Content
- 3 Steps to the Perfect Interview Follow-up Email
4. Susan Cain
You know that feeling when you hear someone speak or you read a book that seems to speak to your soul? Like the person has known you for years and almost seems to know you better than you know yourself?
That’s the feeling I got when I cracked open the pages of Quiet: The Power of Introversion in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. If you consider yourself introverted or if you’re married to an introvert, this book really should be required reading. It opened my eyes to our my introversion was not a weakness, but rather a strength that could be harnessed.
To do so though, I had to change my notion of what it meant to be a leader and my own approach to becoming one.
Shortly after the book was released, Cain and her team felt the need to create a place for more conversation around this to take place. They launched QuietRevolution where their mission is to “unlock the power of introverts for us all.”
Fantastic Articles on Introverts
5. ChooseFI Podcast
ChooseFI is a podcast and blog founded by Brad Barrett and Jonathan Mendonsa that is changing the lives of thousands of people, one episode at a time. They talk all about financial independence and optimizing different parts of your life to get there.
I stumbled across ChooseFI over a year ago when the podcast had around 20 episodes and the Facebook group was just launched. Since then, Jonathan and Brad have continued to deliver amazing episodes and the community has grown right along to almost 25,000 members.
My own write-up on what set’s ChooseFI apart: ChooseFI: The Best Podcast Duo Spreading the FIRE
- 009 | Travel Rewards
- 21 | The Pillars of FI
- 019 | JL Collins Index Fund Investing
- 019R | Index Investing
More Advanced Listening
6. Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof is a pastor, podcaster, blogger, and wins the award for hardest to spell (and type) last name! I first came across Carey’s blog when I was experiencing burnout in my first year of full-time ministry and was questioning my calling to be a pastor.
Over the course of two years I read every article and listened to every podcast he had published. Ever since, I’ve been a huge fan and truly owe the fact that I’m still in ministry today to his work.
Carey writes all about leadership, church growth, and developing character as a pastor. His mission is to help you “lead like never before.”
Favorite Podcasts Episodes:
- 28 How to Create High Performing Teams in Any Size Organization
- 35 | Leading Young at Northpoint
- 143 | David Platt on Overcoming the Struggles of His First Decade of Leadership
7. Greg Nuckols
For the last 12 years I’ve been obsessed with getting stronger. I’ve always loved working out and Greg Nuckols has been the #1 resource for helping me along the way the past few years.
Calling Greg a blogger almost isn’t fair.
He’s a researcher and writer–producing insanely long and in-depth articles that are filled with data, scientific research all geared to make you stronger in the gym.
You know when people say, “The Ultimate Guide to *insert topic*” ? Half the time these aren’t ultimate, definitive, or the only one I’ll ever need.
But no one writes ultimate guides like Greg Nuckols.
- How to Bench: The Definitive Guide (94 page PDF)
- How to Deadlift: The Definitive Guide (136 page PDF)
- How to Squat: The Definitive Guide (97 page PDF)
All are totally free and he just published them like a regular blog post.
8. Mike Israetel
If Greg Nuckols is the king of science backed workout advice, then Mike Israetel is the king of science backed diet and nutrition advice for people wanting to get in shape.
Dr. Mike helped start Renaissance Periodization where they provide the most effective, scientifically sound diet advice depending on your athletic and physique goals. A number of athletes in crossfit (Rich Froning) and competitive weightlifters (Mattie Rogers) have used RP to prep for competitions.
They aren’t only geared for elite athletes though.
They’ve helped tens of thousands of everyday people find success in dieting.
Two Great Resources:
9. Farnam Street
Shane Parrish over at Farnam Street (FS) has an incredible thing going. If you’ve never read any of their articles, you need to–today. They write all about how to live and succeed in the world today by applying mental models and proven strategies to change the way you think and make decisions.
My favorite articles:
- Second Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform
- Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (109 explained)
- Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
Who I’m following in 2019
As I look ahead to 2019, I’m hoping to find some more diverse sources to grow and ensure that I’m learning from varying perspectives. For those keeping count 8/9 of these are male, and the ChooseFI podcast is co-hosted, so call it 9/10. Of the ten, all but one are white. Worth noting and changing.
I’ve found that real changes to my own worldview have come from actually knowing and spending time with people in real life–much more impactful than a podcast or one-off news article.
That being said, from an “influencer” perspective, I am hoping to add more voices and backgrounds into the mix this year. I’m open to recommendations.
Here are a few of the people I hope to follow more closely this year:
- Faith & Theology: Eric Mason, Sam Storms, Tom Schreiner
- Business & Leadership: Y-Combinator
- Challenging & expanding my own worldview: The Fairer Cents Podcast
Join in the comments!
- Who have been the biggest influences on you over the last year?
- What have they done to impact your life?
- Who are the influencers you follow that might have a breakout year in 2019?