- Gary Hamel — leading strategy guru and author of Leading the Revolution
- Thomas L Friedman — New York Times columnist and author of The World is Flat
- Bill Gates — Chairman of Microsoft
- Malcolm Gladwell — author of best selling books, Blink and The Tipping Point
- Howard Gardner — John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
This list is quite a change from Tom Davenport’s previous compilation from 2003. Gone at the top are management stalwarts Michael Porter and Tom Peters, replaced by the web darling Malcolm Gladwell and authors such as Thomas L Friedman who bring a new and fresh angle to business thinking. The Top 10 has also changed markedly with a host of “traditional business” thinkers yielding way to the psychology-oriented free thinkers such as Howard Gardner and Daniel Goleman (the author of Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence).
But echoing my earlier post, Wendy Bounds asks, “Where are the women?” There is not a single woman in the Top 20. It is not like we have to look far to see some outstanding examples of women leaders (here are some of those that I admire most — but I am sure you have your own list too). The highest ranked woman is Rosabeth Moss Kanter who in 2003 rounded out the Top 20, but has dropped down the list this year.
And while it is easy to dismiss this as “just another list”, pause to consider this for a moment. Lists are one of the ways that we as leaders and as managers organize and prioritize our working and personal lives. They are an ingrained part of our thinking processes and intimately linked to action. When businesses are looking for advice, it is likely that they will turn to a list and create their own. There is also a financial aspect — respected leaders can command $25,000-$50,000 per speaking engagement. When you include book royalties, it is clear to see that being a “guru” has a significant upside.
Nina nets it out: Like Santa at Christmas, Tom Davenport has made a list and has checked it twice. From the time he created his last list in 2003, things have changed somewhat. One thing that has remained remarkably constant, however, is the glaring absence of women on this list of Top Business Gurus. Like many others, I would love to see more women represented on these lists as there are clearly some brilliant and articulate women leaders that should certainly be represented here.