thinkers50 ranked thinker

David Burkus

Leadership, innovation, and strategy podcaster; author, speaker, and educator on working smarter to improve your work and life.

01. ranked thinker

Ranked #46 in 2019.

Previous position: #48 (2017).



Broadcasts The Daily Burk  on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.


The job he really wants: Batman.


Burkus challenges the traditional and widely accepted principles of business management and proves that they are outdated, outmoded, or simply don’t work. And he argues for what does work. Covering traditional management topics such as interviews, annual reviews and customer-first policies, Burkus reveals how what was once considered “best pratice” now requires management re-thinking. In his 2018 book, Friend of a Friend, Burkus draws on research into the science of human behaviour to propose new perspectives on how to grow networks and build key connections.




A skilled researcher and inspiring communicator, Burkus is former associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University. He has delivered keynote speeches and workshops for Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Stryker, and governmental and military leaders at the US Naval Academy and Naval Postgraduate School. His TED talk has been viewed over two million times. 


Friend of a Friend: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018); Under New Managment: How Leading Orgniations Are Upending Business As Usual (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016); The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas (Jossey-Bass, 2013).




Media Picks


The Bruce Wayne of management thinkers, Burkus challenges the orthodoxy from within, battling outdated practices and righting wrong assumptions”.

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50