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May 6, 2008

News & Opinion: The Wall Street Journal Business Gurus List

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 5:38 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The Wall Street Journal yesterday had a major feature titled "New Breed of Business Gurus Rises." The article provides a ranking of the thought leaders in business today. The ranking system is based on the 2003 book What's the Big Idea? : Creating and Capitalizing on the Best New Management Thinking by Thomas Davenport. Davenport compiled the rankings using data from Google mentions, Lexus-Nexus media hits, and academic citations.

The methodology creates a systematic way of measuring popularity, but it seems problematic. Take the case of Bill Gates at #3 on the list. For the man who created Microsoft, people are constantly talking about him in the media, online, and in academia. It seems a stretch that business people look to Gates for advice.

Outside of Gates, the folks at the top are no huge surprise to folks who follow business books. Gary Hamel, Tom Friedman, Gates, Malcolm Galdwell, and Howard Gardner round out the top five. Below is a list of the gurus with their 2008 rankings and one of their noteworthy books:

|Name |2008 Ranking |Book
Gary Hamel1 Competing for The Future
Thomas Friedman 2 The World is Flat
Bill Gates 3 Business @ The Speed of Thought
Malcolm Galdwell 4 Tipping Point
Howard Gardner 5 Frames of Mind
Phillip Kotler 6 Marketing Management
Robert Reich 7 Supercapitalism
Daniel Goleman 8 Emotional Intelligence
Henry Mintzberg 9 Mintzberg On Management
Stephen Covey 10 Seven Habits For Highly Effective People
Jeffrey Pfeffer 11 The Knowing Doing Gap
Peter Senge 12 The Fifth Discipline
Richard Branson 13 Losing My Virginity
Michael Porter 14 Competitive Strategy
Michael Dell 15 Direct From Dell
Geert Hofstede 16 Culture's Consequences
Clayton Christensen 17 The Innovator's Dilemma
Jack Welch 18 Winning
Tom Peters 19 In Search of Excellence
Myron Scholes 20 ---
Ikujiro Nonako 20 The Knowledge Creating Company

There are some gurus listed here who we have not given much attention to. Anybody read much on Hofstede or Nonaka? We will do some research as well.

P.S. Rebecca also has a post on the side conversation going on at wsj.com about the lack of women on the list.


About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.