I love talking about influences. We got where we are today by standing on the shoulders of giants, and it is always a good exercise to name those giants from time to time. It helps us move forward individually while hopefully inspiring others to track down some legendary artists and let them work their magic.

Today, instead of talking about those classic bands and authors who inspired me, I’m going to talk about what is influencing me right now. So here are a few voices who are informing my worldview at this moment:

  1. Austin Kleon – I reread Show Your Work! a few weeks ago and it has served as the guide for my online life. It is the reason I am doing this post. It’s a quick read and will change the way you look at bringing creative projects into the world.
  2. Rick Warren – I read The Purpose Driven Life several years ago and loved it. I have a copy of Daily Inspiration from The Purpose Driven Life that I dip into from time to time. But the book that is doing it for me right now is Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods. Getting into God’s Word might be the most important thing you do every day – so why not seek out a wise guide so you can get better at it? Warren goes through 12 different techniques for studying the Bible. In the appendices he gives what might be the best guide to personal devotions I’ve ever read. Priceless.
  3. Brian Eno – I ran across a quote by Eno right at the beginning of January, and it has inspired me to recommit to the practice of journaling. I’ve been reading his A Year with Swollen Appendices and it has been an encouragement towards maintaining my journal every day.
  4. James Altucher – I don’t agree with everything James says, but he has a really unique approach to life that involves letting go of the past, ditching assumptions that don’t work and creating a life that works. Most of all, he’s an amazing writer. He has a great book called Choose Yourself as well as a couple of podcasts that I listen to regularly.
  5. John O’Donohue – O’Donohue was a one-of-a-kind voice in Christian spirituality. He encouraged readers to eschew spiritual programs and instead seek God in the wilderness right where you are. I enjoy Anam Cara and Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. A couple of years ago I bought his complete audio collection and listen to it frequently.
  6. Bob Dylan – I didn’t get into Dylan until well into my twenties but he has recently become one of my biggest influences as a songwriter. I have been listening to his first four albums almost exclusively for the last couple of months. I love the simplicity and sparseness of his early work as well as his literary approach to life.