David Burkus

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


Ranked #46 in 2019.

Previous positions:

#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Burkus challenges the traditional and widely accepted principles of business management and proves that they are outdated, outmoded, or simply don’t work.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“The Bruce Wayne of management thinkers, Burkus challenges the orthodoxy from within, battling outdated practices and righting wrong assumptions”.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

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest and greatest ideas in business, management, and thought leadership.

*mandatory field

Thinkers50 will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide news, updates, and marketing. Please confirm that you agree to have us contact you by clicking below:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at . We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Privacy Policy Update

Thinkers50 Limited has updated its Privacy Policy on 28 March 2024 with several amendments and additions to the previous version, to fully incorporate to the text information required by current applicable date protection regulation. Processing of the personal data of Thinkers50’s customers, potential customers and other stakeholders has not been changed essentially, but the texts have been clarified and amended to give more detailed information of the processing activities.

Thinkers50 Awards Gala 2023

Join us in celebration of the best in business and management thinking.