Last updated on April 20th, 2016

Inspirational people

Because everyone likes lists, I decided to make a list about the most inspiring people of the last decade.

Reading about other people, their ideas and successes, can help us find our own ideas or give us strength to pursue our dreams.

Everyone will have his or her own favorites for this list. Feel free to add yours in the comments!

10. Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn runs the website smartpassiveincome.com.

After Pat was fired from his 9-to-5 job, he decided to start his own online businesses  to supports his wife and family. His story is interesting and his early struggles recognizable.

Pat offers a lot of useful information through his website and podcasts. He also shared his monthly revenue on his website, which gives you a very clear insight in what you can do to actually boost your income.

I like the way he brings his message. Don’t focus too much on the income, focus on helping your audience.

Unlike other bloggers, he doesn’t promise short term success. Pat reminds his readers that an online business is still a business that requires a lot work before it can become successful.

He shares most of his information for free on his website but also has written a few books.

In Let Go, Pat tells the inside story of his transformation leading to his current success.

In February 2016 he launched his new book ‘Will it Fly?‘. It’s a book full of practical suggestions you can apply to your business idea today and it will help you test your ideas before bringing it to market.

Here’s a fun fact about Pat Flynn: he claims he never finished a game of Monopoly in his life.

You can also find Pat on Twitter.

9. Seth Godin

Seth Godin

Seth Godin

I’ve know Seth Godin from his books but he’s also a successful and inspirational blogger.

One of my favourite books of Seth is Linchpin. The book inspired me to think about my role as employee and my relationship with my superiors.

This book is also my inspiration for my post about quitting your job.

As you  can see, he wrote A LOT of other books. I just wish I had the time to read all of them! Maybe I should start with The Big Red Fez.

         

Recently I started reading his blog and I can recommend it to everyone. The post are mostly short but they always sparkle the mind.

Another way of getting to know more about Seth Godin is to listen to this podcast interview by Tim Ferriss.

You can also follow Seth on Twitter.

8. Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom is a professor at the university of Oxford and become known for his book Superintelligence.

Superintelligence

In this book Bostrom warns about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence. He makes a case why we should be aware of these dangers now, instead of postponing handling these issues to the future.

Although I think his view is a bit too pessimistic, his message is important. I’m especially concerned by the increased use of AI in the Defence sector.

This book might have inspired Elon Musk to start OpenAI (but that’s just my guess).

He also wrote another cheerful book called Global Catastrophic Risks.

Global Catastrophic Risks

 

7. Sir Richard Branson

Richard Branson

Richard Branson

Everyone knows Richard Branson from his stunts and his Virgin empire. It was his book Losing my Virginity that inspired me in many ways.

What I’ve learned from his book is that believing in your dreams and perseverance can bring you a long way.

He also wrote a bunch of other books as you can see below but I haven’t had the time to read any of these yet.

    

To me Sir Richard Branson is an optimist with a healthy sense of humour who became successful by believing in himself and in his ideas.

His work in Africa also shows he has a good heart.

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6. Scott Adams

Scott Adams

Scott Adams

Most of you know Scott Adams of the guy who makes Dilbert. But after listening to a podcast interview I had to add him to this list.

His approach on things, the methodical manner he tries to improve himself are things I can relate to.

That one podcast interview with Scott had a big impact on my life. He inspired me to eat protein bars. I’ve started using affirmations after hearing his view on this . And I try to always see the business side in the things I do.

I still need to read his books, so I can’t comment on these yet. But they are on my read list.

One of his books is called How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. The book is also discussed in this article.

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5. Ellen Page

ellen page

Ellen Page

I’ve always liked Ellen Page as an actress but I respect her even more as a person. She confront both Hollywood as the political world in her fight against discrimination of LGBT people.

There is this great article in the New York Times talking about her encounter with Ted Cruz and her fight with Hollywood establishment.

How can you not be inspired by so much courage to stand up against the powers that be?

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4. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

A lot has been written about Steve Jobs after his death. They even made 2 movies about him. I didn’t see any of them, nor have I read his biography.

What inspires my about Steve Jobs is his strive for perfection. Instead of only focussing on the technical features of a product, Steve had the user in mind.

For a long time, design and usability have been a low priority task in the IT world. Apple’s sales figures prove that price and features are not the only factors that matter.

You can remember Steve Jobs at this Apple website.

3. Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb was a financial trader, turned academic and later started a writing career. I see him also as a philosopher.

I know him mainly from his book Antifragile.

Here is a quote from Taleb’s book Antifragile:

“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

In The Black Swan (released in 2007), Taleb predicted the banking and economic crisis of 2008.

His work had a big impact on me and how I look at business, money, risks, …

I will go into more detail when I will review Antifragile. But the best thing you can do is to read his books yourself.

His other books are also highly recommended. I will probably read ‘The Black Swan‘ next.

      

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2. Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

When I talk about Tim Ferriss, most people still remember him from his bestseller The 4 hour workweek. And indeed this book is relevant today for people that are tired of being work slaves.

But since the release of his first book, Tim didn’t stop. He went on to writing 2 more bestsellers (The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef). He invested in some start-ups (TwitterStumbleUponEvernoteUber). And he started recording an excellent podcast.

His latest publication is ‘The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master, Volume 1‘, an audiobook that I’m looking forward to very much. Especially  since Seneca was also quoted often by Nassim Taleb.


There are so many ways I’m influenced and inspired by Tim Ferriss that he almost made it to number 1 of this list.

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1. Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Most people know him as the Tesla Motors CEO. But Elon Musk is much more than just a CEO of one company.

His career started in software (Zip2, PayPal) and his success made him a nice sum of money. But instead of choosing the easy life and living from his dollars, Elon chose another path.  He re-invested all his earnings in 2 companies (Tesla, SpaceX) and at some point he was at the verge of losing it all.

His biography is a good read on understanding what happened next. Using a combination of willpower, vision, leadership and a lot of hard work, Elon Musk was able to do the unthinkable.

Elon Musk

With the Tesla Model S he forever changed the way people look at cars.

With Space X he proved that with innovative thinking you can achieve the impossible.

While the NASA space program was dying, SpaceX started to build their own space rockets for a faction of the cost of the competition. And since December 22nd 2015 SpaceX is able to reuse this rockets after an orbital launch.

What is most inspiring about Elon Musk is the proof that you can have huge dreams and goals. Like Elon’s dream of colonising Mars and getting rid of carbon emissions.

But Elon might be well on his way of one day achieving his dreams.

And I hope to one day see the first man set foot on Mars.

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Bonus

I created a goofy video to finish up this page. Hope you enjoy it!

Do you agree?

Do you agree with this selection? Who would you put on this list? Is there anyone who should be kicked of the list due to recent events? Please share your opinion in the comments!