Writers tend to inspire other writers. Outside of journalists, there are several writers/authors/bloggers/storytellers that constantly inspire me. I love prose with perspective and find myself liking writers who write more from the heart about life in non-fiction form. Life is the journey and hearing other journeys are fantasy for me.
I figured I would share some of the writers/authors/bloggers/storytellers that inspire (and frustrate me). These are writers that fuel my curiosity and have fueled my desire to write again. Hopefully you’ll find their writing inspiring too.
WRITERS/AUTHORS/BLOGGERS THAT INSPIRE ME:
1. Anthony Bourdain – He’s a brilliant, raw, full of candor and unapologetically him. If he says he’s going to be an asshole, he means it. If he says he’s going to be kind, he is. He’s just the kind of writer/chef/storyteller he says he’s going to be and I LOVE HIM for it.
What I like about him: He’s not glamorous and he takes you off the beaten path. If you’ve read his book Kitchen Confidential, you know what I mean. His book is crass but honest and I love how he reveals his ego and all his missteps in life. Listening to how crass he is unleashes my inner “bad girl” (foul mouthed, unfiltered commentary). His show on CNN is spot on – he takes you beyond food into culture and its highs and lows. I guess if I were to ever be a journalist/storyteller/celebrity, I would want to be like Anthony. He gives it you raw and doesn’t seem to pretend to be anything else and is so passionate about it. He is a man I would want at my last dinner table.
I wish: I can’t get enough of his shows or books.
2. Scott Bedbury – From a marketing perspective he is my idol. My very first marketing book ever read was “New Brand World.”
What I like about him: He’s a marketing bad-ass. From working at Nike to Starbucks, he pretty much was the definition of taking a chance and growing a pair in both his Marketing jobs. Counter culture, counter thought, counter intuitive – he brought all those things to both companies and tells his stories well. They don’t read like boring case studies and he doesn’t come off as an over-intellectual branding snob. Even after meeting him in person, he seems just as genuine and even more humble than his written words. From lessons on “not skimping on toilet paper” to “redefining the business your company is in” he tells real life stories of the shit that went down in both his companies under his tenure. He tells the good, the bad and the ugly. He tells his ideas as is and is not afraid to admit when it has gone wrong. Most of all, he’s a man that seems to do it for the love of the consumer and that is ultimately what inspires me about Marketing.
I wish: I want him to update “A New Brand World.” The world is new again with the emergence of social media, co-creation etc. – please write about it.
3. Mark Manson – A millennial? self-help blogger who fell happenstance into his writing. Part realist, part optimist and full on “life enthusiast.” One of the better “self-help” writers I’ve read.
What I like about him: He fell into his writing/blogging/self-help on his own. He self-started his business and I find that so inspiring when someone’s idea/dream/inspiration/tenacity just starts to come together into a profession. His advice is sometimes good, sometimes pessimistic, sometimes optimistic and sometimes downright mean. However, his unfiltered advice is what drew me to his posts whether I agree or disagree with his POV. Regardless of whether I like all of his posts or work, what I enjoy most about how he writes is his level of self-awareness. He seems to fully bring all his baggage to the table and is honest about his baggage when he gives advice (thus I assume he follows it). I can appreciate that honesty and I think that’s why his self-help writing seems more practical at my stage of life right now. Favorite posts include advice on living in your 30’s, life and purpose.
I wish: I wish he wrote more articles about culture. He’s good at it.
4. yTravel Blog – (Caz & Craig) – This couple/family is everything I wish I could be but so fear being. I first discovered their blog when planning a trip to Vancouver last summer and have been addicted to their posts ever since. They just finished a year-long plus trip all over Australia and they live to travel/travel to live with their two kids.
What I like about them: They are adventurous people I wish I could be like. I wish I had their unbridled courage and limited fears. They have such an optimist’s view of life on the road, I secretly wish I could just muster the same courage they do to “excel” in their lives on the road. Their travels are their passion and their passion is their paycheck. They have a great “12 STEP Travelers” guide of articles that encourage you to unleash your inner adventurer and this article they wrote in particular is what got me hooked on them. As fleeting as this couple may seem, they actually seem to GET real people and their fears behind taking the leap. Why? Because they had to take the leap themselves and their writing (in blog, site, email newsletters) is so honest. They’ll even write you back as well if you respond to them 🙂
5. Young House Love – This was the first blog I read that inspired me to want to blog and write myself.
What I love about them: If I had a blog celebrity crush, this couple would be it. They are young, creative, hip, resourceful and inspirational and truly turned their passion into a paycheck with their posts. I always said I wanted to be a DIY doyenne and blog about DIY, design and art but never really got my passion off the ground. I’ve followed them through their first house, second house, first kid, second kid and current sabbatical. Between their blog and their books I’ve always admired their honesty and grit. Even though I don’t know them, I feel like I do and really appreciate that their writing came from the heart and that they genuinely seemed to want to inspire people.
I wish: I wish they weren’t taking a break!
WRITERS/AUTHORS/BLOGGERS THAT FRUSTRATE AND INSPIRE:
1. James Altucher – He’s kind of a brilliant asshole. I discovered his articles on Linked In and started following him as an influencer. His blogs and books inspire me to no end and frustrate me all at the same time.
What I like about him: He’s a great writer, has some interesting philosophies on life and authored a book called “choose yourself.” In principle I like his ideas (“have ideas, let no one ruin your life, the daily practice”). I like his candor, how crass he is and how he’s completely willing to put his shit out there, good or bad. In fact, he often refers to him self as “mediocre” and he seems to use his “mediocrity” as a way to humble himself. He’s got good advice about life, finances and entrepreneurship. He shares stories of all his successes (investments, business ventures) and also shares stories about his failures (relationships, business ideas etc.) He genuinely seems to offer practical advice and he’s clearly made something of himself and has a decent fan base as well.
What frustrates me about him: He’s sometimes disjointed in writing and advice. He will advocate doing good things for society but will at the same time advocate for choosing yourself with complete disregard for others. I sometimes find it hard to understand whether he follows his creed and find him contradicting his own advice. He walks the line of healthy selfishness (“choosing yourself” = good) and actually being an asshole (“choosing yourself” = choosing yourself without regard for others). He sometimes also reveals an “independent/do what’s best for you/Fuck everyone else” mentality that seems reckless. Perhaps it is my own personal baggage but sometimes I feel like he advocates selfishness in a way that is hurtful of others. I’m all for choosing you but I’m also for choosing respect and decency as well. For someone who has achieved a lot and has overcome a lot, I would think that he would be able to write from a more positive point of view (instead of a pessimist POV) and voice (but that’s probably my inner optimist wanting to see this vs. what works for his writing style).
Net net: Read his work. He’s smart and has sound advice. If you struggle with language that can be pessimistic, angry or just plain angsty, I recommend you strive to read beyond the pessimistic language to catch his wisdom. At the end of the day, his crash and burn tales culminate and illustrate a vision of hope beyond suffering (see, there’s the optimism in everything!)
2. Elizabeth Gilbert – Yes, she is the iconic writer who inspired millions with her story of self discovery. However, I find her story to be inspiring yet troubling at the same time.
What I like about her: She had the guts to go out and literally “get-it girl.” She deserves all the kudos in the world for going out there and making it happen for herself. She got enlightened, traveled the world and rediscovered love and a life that was truly what she wanted and needed in life. She’s inspiring for any woman to take control and make the best of her life happen. She’s the heroine that many women would probably want to model “self-empowerment” after.
What frustrates me about her: Her boredom can come across as reckless. She should have spoken about her pain with her husband instead of hiding it from him. I’m all for courage sister but I’m also all for being responsible and for communicating when things get tough instead of running away. Loving yourself doesn’t have to mean hurting others – there’s a fine line.
Net net: She’s a great writer and she has a great journey to tell. I’ll commend her for that.
That’s enough brain food for one evening. What are some writers that inspire you to read or write? Who do you love to read? Please do share – I’m always looking to add to the list.