26 People I Highly Respect


Thanks again SO MUCH to everyone who is passing the 279 Days manifesto all over the universe. I have a data field on the email signup where I ask people where they heard about the site, and someone who joined on Friday said “Everywhere!”

I liked that. Thanks, guys.

As you read this, I’ll be passing through PDX, DFW, and JFK – continuing early Tuesday down to Port au Prince, Haiti – the first stop of my latest trip.

In 279 Days, I included links to many of the people I respect and have learned from since I started this site. I did this because I wanted to give credit where credit is due – and each of these folks deserve a lot of credit for helping me.

Here they are again, with a quick synopsis on why I think they are awesome. If you’re looking for people to learn from (I always am), I encourage you to check out their work.


Darren Rowse – Like every other blogger in the world, I’ve learned a lot from Darren Rowse. What I’m trying to figure out now is how he routinely manages 50,000 Twitter followers and a tremendous number of inputs every day while still keeping it real. I’m already starting to struggle to keep up with a much smaller base. [Web Site / @problogger]

Chris Brogan – Chris has been writing about social media since March 2004 – I know, he’s ancient, but not in a bad way. I was first introduced to Chris from Valeria Maltoni (more about her in a moment), who told me “he’s everywhere.” All content on is licensed under Creative Commons, another thing I appreciate about him. [Web Site / @chrisbrogan]

Havi Brooks (and Selma) – It’s fair to say that Havi is one of the reasons I live in Portland, Oregon now. After exchanging a ton of emails with Havi while I was overseas, I had dinner at her real-life kitchen table with the whole family (well, some of them – she has a big family) on a scouting trip from Seattle. Since then I’ve seen Havi several other times, and I always learn from her. [Web Site / @havi]

Naomi Dunford – I first met Naomi in person at Euston Station in central London. I was on a 30-hour layover before flying to Africa, and we spent the day together in the city. Then we went to her house in the middle of nowhere (one hour from London), where I hung out with the rest of the Dunford clan (husband, son, mother). In business, Naomi calls it like it is. She is 100% authentic, and I like that. Oh, she’s also extremely smart about marketing. [Web Site / @ittybiz]

Jonathan Fields – The Career Renegade was one of the first “big name” bloggers to endorse the World Domination manifesto. He’s also given me good advice on my book proposal and countless other topics. We keep missing each other from Austin to NYC, but I’m sure we’ll connect soon. Among other things, he does a great job putting out good resources and promoting other people’s content on Twitter. High respect to JF! [Web Site / @jonathanfields]

David Fugate – My ass-kicking literary agent who helped me get a book deal (good) and helped me improve my writing (even better). When I get on the phone with David, I pretty much just say “uh-huh” over and over as he tells me what’s not working and how to fix it. Forty minutes later, I hang up and think, “Why can’t David just write the book?” But then I get to work, and the results are not half bad when I finish. [Web Site / @launchbooks]

Chris Garrett – At first I was mad because he has the domain – damn, I wish I had got to that one first – but then I learned that Chris is not only an incredibly smart guy, he’s also incredibly kind. Among other things, he did a site review of the AONC design in its early days. I agreed with everything he said in the review, and his flagship content report was also helpful in establishing my branding and writing the first manifesto. [Web Site / @chrisgarrett]


Leo Babuata – Everyone knows Leo for ZenHabits, and rightfully so — but what I appreciate about Leo the most is the back story behind his site. To me, Leo is the classic example of someone who goes from living an average life to living a remarkable life. I wrote about him in the World Domination manifesto, and since then I’ve been threatening to pay a visit to Guam the next time I have a couple of free days in Asia. [Web Site / @zen_habits]

Seth Godin – I started reading Seth’s books while in Africa (2002-2006), and they made me think differently about my work – even though work at the time didn’t have much to do with marketing. I realized later that some of my early writing had a Godin imprint on it. The funny thing is that I didn’t even think about it at the time. That’s kind of how Seth works – even if you don’t read him directly, you’ll end up being influenced by him one way or the other. After all the readers he sent me last week, I’ve decided that Seth is like a one-man Business Week, only much smarter and more likeable. [Web Site]

Haruki Murakami – Mr. Murakami is not likely to show up on Twitter or Facebook anytime soon, but that’s because he’s the best novelist in the world. Like all good artists, he falls in the love-or-hate category, and I’ve read nearly all 15 of his books that have been translated into English. [Check out Murakami’s books on Amazon – I recommend A Wild Sheep Chase or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle]

Inside joke for Murakami fans: when Sonia Simone heard I was going to Japan to meet him (it’s a work in progress, long story), she said to me, “What are you going to do – crawl down in the bottom of a well and wait for him to show up?” I told her I might just go to a remote cabin in Hokkaido and see what happens.

OK, sorry about that – back to regular programming.

Steven Pressfield – I know Steven Pressfield only through his book The War of Art, but what a book it is! Highly recommended reading for all creative people. Go out and get it. Then, follow the book’s advice and get to work. Defeat resistance! [Web Site]


Men with Pens (James Chartrand) – I think there are actually several pen men, but I only know James. He lives in Quebec and helps people improve their web sites. Naturally, James is very good at what he does, but you get a bonus: sarcasm (the good kind, like mine) is included at no extra charge! Just like Chris Garrett offers, you can get a helpful site review from the Pen Men. [Web Site / @menwithpens]

Dave Navarro – The “Rock Your Day” guy is really rocking it. I respect anyone who is willing to get up at 5am to work on side projects while also working a challenging real job. His story is far from over, and I recommend you pay attention to where Dave is going. Stay tuned for a joint project from Dave and me, where Dave will teach some of us everything he knows about online marketing. I can’t wait. [Web Site / @rockyourday]

Steve Pavlina – Whenever people mention Steve Pavlina, they usually do so with disclaimers. “Yeah, Steve is interesting but…” As for me, I hate that. Steve has paved the way for almost everyone who writes about personal development and lifestyle design. I appreciation his personal courage and steadfast dedication to the cause of helping people think for themselves. Sign me up. [Web Site / @stevepavlina]

LifeRemix (Glen Stansberry) – This Mac expert and productivity geek is also a very cool guy. I learned a lot from his LifeRemix network prior to starting AONC. Congratulations to Glen on his upcoming wedding! [Web Site / @glenstansberry]


Gretchen Rubin – The incredible Gretchen sent me readers from her column recently, and I noticed that 98% of them were women. I knew her blog skewed more female than male, but I didn’t know the ratio was that high. I guess I’m one of the 2% of her guy fans — I’ve been reading Happiness Project since well before I started my site. Good stuff there, and I’m looking forward to her book this fall. [Web Site / @gretchenrubin]

J.D. Roth – J.D. was the first major blogger to ever link to AONC. I logged into Gmail from the Hong Kong airport and was shocked to see 100 new subscribers to the newsletter. 100! For the first week or two, I only had 20, so J.D. effectively quintupled the readership in one fell swoop. (Of course, it’s grown a bit more since then.)

I’ve been to J.D.’s house, he’s been to mine, and I really respect his hardcore commitment to Get Rich Slowly. Some of his readers are a bit uptight (a few always complain when he mentions my site), but J.D. is brave enough to publish what he likes. I try to do the same. [Web Site / @jdroth]

Liz Strauss – Liz also welcomed me to the community when my site was just a few weeks old — check out her fantastic free service where she does this for other new writers each week. Also check out her SOBCon event taking place in Chicago in May. I wish I could go! [Web Site / @lizstrauss]


Valeria Maltoni – Valeria is a connector in the truest sense of the word – every 10 days or so she sends me another idea or email introduction. In Italy I stole a newspaper from an airline lounge and carried it all the way back around the world for her. Then, I spent four hours with Valeria in Austin where she skipped the SXSW sessions to have breakfast and hang out with me. Thank God I didn’t buy a $400 ticket to SXSW — Valeria explained it all to me before we finished coffee. [Web Site / @conversationage]

Gary Vaynerchuk – With writing, I aspire to be myself, on the theory that everyone else is already taken. With online video, I aspire to be a somewhat more subtle version of Gary Vaynerchuk. I don’t care much about all of the different kinds of wine, but I love watching Gary talk about it. My philosophy on creating personal connections with as many readers as possible definitely has a Vaynerchuk influence to it. [Web Site / @garyvee]


Kevin Kelly – I don’t actually know Kevin, I just learn from him by reading his blog. Kevin has written a ton of great content, but I think about the classic 1,000 True Fans almost every day. It’s pretty much the way I make a living and my ambition for the small business side of AONC. I bet when Malcolm Gladwell read 1,000 True Fans, he wished he wrote that piece — I know I did. [Web Site]


John Wesley – I haven’t kept up with John recently, but the best early advice for AONC came from him – “Get to the core of what the readers want.” Thanks, John. The community here is better because of that perspective. [Web Site / @johnwesley]


Soniei I met Soniei through Dan at Empty Easel. Dan sent me links to a dozen unconventional artists, and I immediately latched on to what Soniei was doing. I’m a big fan of her self-represented “no galleries” style, and the way she uses social media and online video to build her brand is inspiring. She also understands hard work – Soniei currently works 80 hours a week on her painting and the related business. Look for more from her in the upcoming Unconventional Guide to Art and Money. [Web Site / @soniei]

Colleen Wainwright – The brilliant Communicatrix came to Seattle last fall and I rode my bike out to meet her. Now I try to read everything she writes, including the great newsletter she puts out each month. Subscribe! You won’t feel bad in the morning, I promise. Whenever Colleen writes about me, I post her trackback as “The Great Communicatrix.” [Web Site / @communicatrix]

Reese Spykerman – Designer extraordinaire Reese works on location from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You already know how great her work is if you’ve seen AONC, either of the manifestos, or most of my products. Simply put, she rocks. From time to time people write in and want to know how much it costs to hire her. I always say, “If you think hiring a professional is costly, wait until you hire an amateur.” (Reese is a professional, by the way.) [Web Site / @reese]

Pamela Slim – Pam just got a brief mention in 279 Days, but she really is my superhero. Among other things, she offered to be my book-writing mentor, which I took to mean that she would help David write the book for me. (How’s it going, Pam? Are you writing it yet? Just kidding.) I’ve set a personal goal to help her sell 500 copies of Escape from Cubicle Nation, so stay tuned for a full interview feature with Pam. Better yet, buy the book now so I only have to sell 499 more. [Web Site / @pamslim]



As mentioned in 279 Days, links are the currency of the internet. When people write about me and send visitors my way, I think, wow, I’ve just got paid. More people have come into my network. Not all of them stick around, of course, but some do. When these kinds of referrals are done well, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Naturally, if blogging isn’t your thing, you can still find a way to thank people. Gratitude is still sufficiently rare that it sometimes catches people by surprise… and it’s always a good surprise.

Who has helped you? How can you acknowledge and help them in return?

Feel free to share a few examples here if you’d like, but mostly, be sure you reach out to them to say thanks.


Shout-Out Image by Jalepeno

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  • 23Kazoos says:

    Great post! Great website!

  • Ken Gregg says:

    From those on the list that I already follow (Seth, Havi, Kevin, Leo) I know I have to check out the rest.

    Great to have them all here so we don’t have to search through 279 Days for them ’cause that probably wouldn’t happen.

    Have a great trip and thanks.

  • Nomadic Matt says:

    No me? LOL. But more importantly, surprised Tim Ferris is not on your list.

  • Chris says:


    No disrespect intended towards Tim or anyone else. This is just the list of people I wrote about in 279 Days.

  • Chris Brogan... says:

    Hooray!!! Thanks for putting me on a nifty list. I like you, too.

  • James Chartrand - Men with Pens says:

    Wow, this is pretty cool, and I loved the personal write-up you did for each person, Chris. Kept me reading and gave me reason to check out the people I haven’t had a chance to learn about yet.

    Thanks for including me here – I respect you back, but I already did ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Biz says:

    Some I have known about for awhile like Seth, Steve and Darren, was turned on to Leo a couple of months ago by a mutual friend, just found you through Seth. I bookmarked all those that were in your 279 book for looking up at another time, but totally fell head over heels with Havi – OMG – it’s like she is me, only a whole lot better. I connected with her instantly and devoured her site over the weekend (in between devouring yours) and will be spending time with the others as well. So thanks for taking the time to spread the word of these fantastic people. Enjoy your trip and looking forward to hearing your exploits!

  • Writer Dad says:

    Fantastic list, Chris. My wife and I were reading your manifesto side by side in bed last night. Great stuff. I can’t wait to finish it and I’m glad to have found you. Keep up the excellent work.

  • Gabriella says:

    Well I had to comment on your very nice list. Especially with Darren, Chris, James, Gretchen some of my favorites. Some I am not familiar (thanks will have to check them out) & some well it’s all about choices and opinions. After all it is your list. Sounds like you are on a world tour if you make it to San Francisco or New Orleans keep us posted. Again thanks for taking the time to share.

  • Shaun says:

    A great collection of inspirational people, many of which I already follow plus some great additions to my reading list. I’m particularly interested in hearing more about the joint project with Clay Collins, another who’s writing I’ve been following the last year or two. You guys definitely strike a chord with myself and a lot of people I know.

    Thanks for doing what you do.

  • Judy says:

    Can you set links to open in another tab or window? Just curious. I wanted to keep your page open while I checked out all the others, but ended up having to navigate back instead. I’m just lazy I guess. I want all the pages open at once. At once!

  • Valeria Maltoni says:

    @Judy – if you right click on the link you can select “open in a new tab”, that will allow you to keep this page open even as you explore the links. A trick I learned for multitasking, which I’m known to do when I research a story.

    Thank you for the kind mention, Chris. We learn from each other on a daily basis. Good to find a couple of people I didn’t know in your manifesto. Adding them to my reading list will make my sharing content even more impressive.

  • jaclyn turner says:

    i love this! i now have a bookmark folder called ‘life changing’. these will be included, as is yours ๐Ÿ™‚
    i am anxious to hear about Haiti…as I am planning a trip there in the next few months!

  • David Cain says:

    Hey Chris, thanks for this post. I followed most of these quality people on twitter.

    @ Judy — You can always right-click on a link and choose “Open in a new tab.” In FireFox, at least.

  • James NomadRip says:

    A lot of great websites full of information here. Thanks!

  • the (great) communicatrix says:

    Well. No one but you is allowed to use that qualifier in my name. Not even me. Except when I leave a little thank you note for such an extraordinary writeup. And only this one. And only (semi-)ironically.

    You are an international treasure. I cannot WAIT to help you sell your book.

    Enjoy this latest trip, my marvelous, young, lunatic friend.

  • Judy says:

    @ David and @ Valeria — Thanks, I didn’t know about that. I only recently started using a mouse again after years with an old iBook. I’d forgotten about right clicking. How handy.

  • Jonathan "Not The Cookie Lady's Son" Fields says:

    Sweet niblets! I finally made a list worth making! Thanks for including me, man. Though, I’m truly just along for the ride with you and all the other “really” worthy people.

  • Lovelyn says:

    What a great list of people! Being a Haruki Murakami fan is enough to keep me reading your blog. I think he is one of the best authors of all time.

  • Azzam says:

    I think it is important to have like minded people that support you along your way, but yet equally important that we give thanks and praise to people as a sign of appreciation.

    As social secretary {i did not coin that term} at the charity I work for I have the fantastic role of a monthly social lunch and breakfast for all colleagues. It is an opportunity for anyone to give us a brief of something that they have achieved and proud of within the month and we all just buzz off it.

    To appreciate is a currency of life

  • Aximilation says:

    Man, you just had to…now I’m going to have to check out all their sites/blogs and add them to my morning reading list….there goes my day…

  • Shawn Phillips says:


    Great list… as if you need another conformation of that obvious fact.

    Most I know… a few I don’t. Some personally, others, virtually.

    I was especially delighted to find Steven Pressfield on your list. What an amazing author and brilliant man. Yes, War of Art is terrific but man, read some of his Greek epics, like The Virtues of War.

    This and these are stunning works!

    Keep on cutting your path man!

  • Beth @ Smart Family Tips says:


    I completely agree on J.D. Roth; he’s first rate. I also really appreciate several others on your list. I’m eager to check out those I don’t know yet.

    Thanks for the list and for 279 Days.

  • Janice Cartier says:

    LOL ๐Ÿ˜‰ from the Murakami asides…Kafka By the Shore is good too. I have Blind Willow Sleeping Woman on my bedside table right now. Great list, Chris. Wonderfully generous PDF too. Read it this morning. Here’s the thing that is most useful, the focus on one’s craft or one’s art and …knowing what success really is…before marrying it with money.

  • Jess says:


    You can also click the scrolly center mouse button to open in a new tab. Works in both IE and Firefox. I’m counting the milliseconds it’s saved me. I think I’m at 2 minutes (jk)

  • Lisa Sellman says:

    I have to thank Barbara Winter who wrote the book, Make a Living Without Ever Getting a Job. Helped me to start my pet care business five years ago and I am loving every minute that I work with animals. Barbara also introduced me to your site which I am completely enjoying, also.

  • Leonie says:

    Chris, I heart reading your list… seeing familiar faces & meeting new ones. Thank you for being you!

  • Carolyn says:

    I am a first time reader — can you believe that! I have so much catching up to do!! I absolutely love your writing and overall message. Thank you for sharing such unique knowledge and insights.

  • eskah says:

    Okay, it’s official …..the door to this amazing world has just been blasted wide open. Totally inspiring! Thanks, thanks a lot! To you, to Leo, and Jonathan and Clay and Seth and all you mentors who take the time to pass along the creative spark. I’m going to check out the rest on your list…. there goes my night….

  • Juscelino M. Acevedo says:

    Although I have only heard of less than a handful of these folks, I find this article very useful. Being very new to the blogging scene I am always looking to learn a thing or two from anyone with more experience than me, and in this case everyone on this list (with a blog) has plenty of experience. I have subscribed to every single one of the available blogs and I will determine which ones are for me and which ones are not as they come into my inbox. Thanks for the list.

    By the way, I LOVE the design of your website.

  • Joel Leonard says:

    Interesting post and excellent selections but you left off a very capable resource that you may want to research and that is Greta Anita Lint. Her mantra is you can build it and they will come but only if you tell people about it first. Last summer Forbes Magazine stated that little town of Asheboro, NC was the 4th fastest dying town in the USA. Well a Bagel Shop owner said lets host a chili cookoff. Then he was connected to Greta, who worked on this project night and day. This weekend over 30,000 people came to Asheboro and had a ball. That is just the latest in her long line of successes of resurrecting small towns, helping startups, and numerous entities grow and prosper. She is the business woman I most respect! Check out this site and you will see why

  • Darryl Halse says:

    Chris, you’ve essentially created the ultimate starters kit for anyone looking to embrace online social networking. Add me to the list of grateful recipients now looking for ways to pay it forward.

    I noticed Australia is still on your list – if you need a contact down under for anything at all, get in touch!

    Cheers from North Queensland…

  • Rebecca Davey says:

    Hey Chris,

    Appreciating the list along with the others – as well as your 279 Days…

    At the point where I’m making some decisions about my own direction. I suddenly feel validated about continuing to embrace my artist roots…

    Thanks for what you’re contributing to the web,


  • Darren Rowse says:

    awww shucks – you’re too kind. Thanks so much for your encouraging words!

  • Roberta says:

    Darren Rowse and Liz Strauss have been nothing but a fountain of information on the internet and it’s inter-workings. I can’t thank them enough. Both are really nice, too. I appreciate their insight greatly.

  • Ibrahim | says:

    Wow, what a great list of inspirational people. Thanks for the links, you just shared a network of valuable resources and minds. I owe you one!

  • Steven-Sanders says:

    I had no idea about some of these people until this post. I’ll be following all of them from now on.

    Some of them really need a Twitter account.

  • Linda M. Lopeke says:

    Happy to meet you, Chris! I found it comforting that we had so many folks in common.

    Then I was a little envious because you’ve actual met many of them face to face whereas I’ve only had an online relationship with them over the years.

    Made me realize I’ve just got to get out more! Perhaps even to meet you in person one day. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Linda M. Lopeke

  • chris Zydel says:

    Hi Chris,

    Great list! I know the work of most of the people on it but it’s also fun to be introduced to some new cool folks. It’s also nice to see someone express so much gratitude to mentors and those who have inspired you. Classy!

  • Sherri (Serene Journey) says:

    Hi Chris,
    What a lovely tribute to all of your inspirations and mentors! I’ve just finished 279 Days and it’s a fantastic read thank you!!

  • Michelle (Artscapes) says:

    I found you through Seth Godin. I am so inspired and excited by what I have encountered in a few days… Thanks! And thanks to those who inspired you!

  • Liz Strauss says:

    You are everything you say about the people you respect. Wow! The work that went into this. Thank you, it’s a gift just to have the list. Being on it is awesome.

    I so respect you and your work.

  • Clara Mathews says:

    I came to your site from a Tweet by Darren Rouse.

    This is a great list. I subscribe to the blogs of several people on your list, like JD Roth, Chris Brogan and Seth Godin. But I will add some of the others to my Google Reader.

    btw-added your site too.

  • Susie Cheng says:

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks for this great information. This is a great list. They are such inspirational people.

    Thanks for the valuable information, I am very much appreciated.

    I like your website by the way, it is classic and stylish.

    Thanks so much for this.

    Best regards,

    Susie Cheng

  • Jean Philippe says:

    Thank you so much. Even though I know some of them, I felt like reading the “History of Successful Bloggers”. A great lesson in humility. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • eliz obihfrank says:

    Brilliant post Chris! I read your impressive manifesto through Seth and passed it along … Now I read this equally impressive list of people who add light to your life and must say “bravo!”
    You definitely get the concept of massive acts of giving – paying it forward.
    Wishing you creative abundance, constant grace and continued success!

  • Herman G. Morgan III says:

    WoW, I’m impressed !
    But then again, when Darren Rowse puts out a tweet about a Blogger I should visit, I’m there, and as always I’m glad I came.

    I only know about 3 or 4 people from your list, but that just gives me a lot of folks to visit once I finish with your beautiful / interesting site.

    Thanks for the Inspiration, Herman

  • Deergirl says:

    These are great people with very inspirational thought and points of view. I didn’t know about a lot of them until now. Thanks for this list. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pamela Slim says:

    Thank you so much Chris!!!

    I see you as the superhero, flying from country to country, bringing good will to humankind in a single bound.

    All I can think about is can you imagine what a fantastic dinner party it would be to have all these folks in one room? I am friends and fan girl of most, and those I don’t know, I want to meet!

    And, btw, David and I are almost done with your book. We will pass the final version on to you next week to proof. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Big hugs,


  • Pete Argo says:

    I was fortunate to hear Seth Godin speak at a recent meeting of the American Gem Society in Chicago, IL. He was a dynamic speaker and his presentation was amazing! I was so impressed with him that I immediately signed up at his blog to receive more words of wisdom and that is how I found you.

    Although I’m a fourth-generation business owner, I still require help from all kinds of people and sources. Thanks for inspiring me to work differently.

  • Joe says:

    Hi Chris! thanks for the links and the super people! ultra valuable, iยดll give my self a space and time to check them and also learn from them like you did.

  • Clay Collins says:

    I can’t tell you how honored I am to be on this list with so many amazing people. Gratitude for the shout out, Chris.

  • Patricia says:

    Great list.I’m following some of them, and you give me a reason to check the rest.Thanks again for all the things shared

  • Shanti Mama (Ellie) says:

    How does anyone find time to read all that there is to read? I began at 7am. It’s now 9:20 and I have to look up about 12 new blogs. I may begin my real ‘work’ at 11?

    Thanks so much. When is the Unconventional Guide to Art and Money coming? Baited breath…

  • Angel Vallejo says:

    This post has provided me with countless hour of joy by surfing the webs of the people you mention. Let me point out that all of them are grate, but the one corresponding to Kevin Kelly and Seth Godin are simply “incredibly inspiring”.

    Let me be selfish and say that I would like to read about books that really inspired you. Many thanks.


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