Friday, March 23, 2012

Top 10 cool people who influence me from afar

My first top 10 list - I think. I wanted to share some of the people whose work and thinking and just the way their brains approach things inspires me and helps me over hurdles. This does not include any important friends and family members. These aren't in any order of importance, necessarily.

1 - Jane McGonigal- Someone as fascinated with how people interact through games as I am with how they interact through story. She's done great work and come up with some fascinating game systems. I look forward to seeing where SocialChocolate and SuperBetter go.

2 - Jan Chipchase - One of those brilliant anthropologist/ design minds who see the disfunction of things that should work and the functionality in jerry-rigged work arounds. His work in India and Africa - understanding the interaction with devices in the daily lives of the masses, is very cool.

3 -Oliver Sacks - Anthropologist on Mars got me hooked. I had always wondered what life was like, what the world looked like, to people with different neurological issues. Sacks explores these marvellously, putting you in the head of a painter who, after hitting a bump in the road, can no longer perceive color, of a doctor with Tourette's, and more. I'm currently reading Migraine, which is a bit dense but tells me so much more than any docs have.

4 - Umberto Eco - The man is a genius of language, its use, and hidden meanings. Foucault's Pendulum is my favorite to date, although I need to reread it and I have a couple of his newer books to still get to. Baudolino had some great storylines that still stick in my head.

5 - Neil Gaiman - A master storyteller, who has a firm belief that a large part of the experience of a story is what the audience brings to it. I've been following his blog for years, an avid fan, and I just really like the twisted cool way he thinks.

6 - Henry Jenkins - An expert on transmedia storytelling who often finds great examples like the guest blog post around Cookie Monster and Canadian healthcare. His book Convergence Culture was a great entry point for me into what the technology of today can do to shift storytelling.

7 - Dan Ariely - His work on why we make the decisions we do is incredibly interesting, as is his background and how he came to his initial observations of behavior.

8 - danah boyd - I started following danah when I was doing quite a bit of research on teens and sharing. I like the way she thinks and her perspective on the issues that she writes about/ speaks on.

9 - Seth Godin - I find he's got a great way of stating what just makes sense, but what so many fail to see.

10 - David Eagleman - Much like Sacks in delving into what makes our brains work the way they do and offering great slices of perspective, but maybe even a more diverse thinker. A new discovery for me, I have to check out his books.

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