Wall Street Journal Names Top Business Gurus

By Michael O'Connell May 5, 2008, 5:57 PM EDT

The Wall Street Journal published its ranking of influential business thinkers today. The top five are Harvard professor Howard Gardner, writer Malcolm Gladwell, Bill Gates, columnist Thomas L. Friedman, and, coming in at number one, “strategy guru” Gary Hamel.

It may seem like a motley crew, but one thing they all seem to have in common is how much money people will pay them to speak at events. “Speakers' bureaus say most of the top-echelon business speakers charge between $50,000 and $75,000 a pop,” writes Erin White. “Among the most in-demand are Good to Great author Jim Collins, Death by Meeting author Patrick Lencioni, Dr. Hamel, Prof. Porter, and Our Iceberg Is Melting author John Kotter, speakers' bureaus say.”

The article also mentions how much fees for these speakers have grown in the last five years. Many are getting $50,000 for an appearance that might have earned them only half as much in 2003. Even less-famous speakers can get $15,000.

The Wall Street Journal ranked influencers based on Google hits, media mentions, and academic citations.

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