21 Exceptional Bloggers You Should Be Following

Do you get bored of the same old lectures every week, and fall asleep whenever you open your textbooks? Wishing you had some resources to help you actually learn stuff that matters?

One of the best ways to do this is to read! Books are great, and you can check out my Essential Reading List if you’re looking for a great book to enrich your life with. However, this post isn’t about books; it’s about blogs (and the bloggers who run them).

I’ve compiled a list featuring 21 of my favorite bloggers, which is waiting for you right below. Each of the bloggers on this list is doing amazing things in their life and creating unmissable content – content that has made my life better. I’m confident they can make your life better as well.

Some of these bloggers are A-listers with huge audiences, and some are just starting out. Many are simply in between. To me, it isn’t the size of their audience that counts, but rather it’s how epic their content is. Everyone here has some epic content to offer.

I’ve formatted each entry so that the blogger’s name will direct you to their Twitter account, while the name of their blog goes to… well, their blog. Nothing too surprising there. I’ve also linked each blogger’s picture back to their blog.

If you find that everyone in this list is just awesome (they are) and you want to follow them all, I’ve also compiled a Twitter list of them that you can check out. Alright, here we go!

Leo WidrichLeo Widrich of Leo Starts Up

I met Leo Widrich pretty early on in my blogging career, and he’s been one of my greatest inspirations ever since. When I met him, he and his partner Joel were in the pretty early stages of running their startup, Buffer. At the time, Leo was also still a college student in the UK (so no excuses about college taking up the time you need to do something amazing!)

Leo is one of the few people who I’ve been able to literally watch build success day in and day out. His strategy for building up Buffer’s user base is simple, but incredibly effective; he just gets out there, writes lots of guest posts, networks with tons of people, and interacts with the community. That, along having an amazing product, is the key to effective marketing, young grasshopper.

I interviewed Leo when he was still in school and learned a lot about his process, and I highly recommend you check out that interview. Since that interview, Buffer has grown tremendously. Leo and Joel have also moved out to Hong Kong to build their app in a new city.

Leo Starts Up is Leo’s blog, where he posts the lessons he learns from being a part of a small startup. If you’re interested in starting your own company or getting involved in a startup, make sure to follow him!

Here are a couple posts that rock:

Corbett BarrCorbett Barr of CorbettBarr.com

I don’t think there’s anyone else out there who’s taught me more about how to blog effectively than Corbett Barr. Corbett’s main site is ThinkTraffic, which is hands-down my favorite blog about, well… blogging!

However, since most of you probably aren’t reading College Info Geek to become a pro blogger, I’d like to point you to his personal site. This site is where Corbett writes about personal development and taking action and responsibility for your life.

It’s super-inspirational stuff – and Corbett definitely knows what he’s talking about. He’s able to support himself solely from the income he makes through blogging-related activities, and has become completely location-independent (my main career-related goal).

I should also mention that Corbett runs a third site called Expert Enough, a site that’s all about getting good at things. All three of Corbett’s sites are amazing, so check them out!

A couple of my favorite posts:

Derek Jensen

Derek Jensen of Resimplify

Derek is the only other person at my school I know of who’s got a serious blog, and as such he and I spend a lot of time working together every week. Of course, we also spend a lot of time arguing about design superiority – particularly minimalism vs. complex, colorful designs (guess which camp I’m in). But I digress…

Derek is the founder over at Resimplify, a blog that’s focused on rethinking design. It’s also got a pretty heavy focus on marketing, and analyzes the intersection between the two topics.

Resimplify is a great blog to read if you’re planning on going into a job that deals with either of those fields, or if you’re just interested in them. Derek also recently launched a podcast for the site, which is worth a listen as well.

Check out these posts:

Colin WrightColin Wright of Exile Lifestyle

Colin Wright’s website has one of the best examples of an “About Me” page I’ve ever seen, and that’s the reason I’ve been following him so intently for some time now. There aren’t many sites out there that create such an immediate and strong connection between the author and the reader – with the excellent photos, explanation of his ideals and the site’s purpose, as well as mentions of interesting stories like having a breakup party with his girlfriend and getting punched in a gay dance club, Colin’s done a smashing job.

But enough about that page. It’s just one page, and there’s more to say. Colin’s life is ridiculously interesting. Every four months, he lets his readers vote on which country he’ll move to next. Sure, this could backfire if 4chan decides to send him to North Korea (like they did to Justin Bieber), but so far it’s worked out pretty well for him.

Colin’s blog, Exile Lifestyle, is full of posts about his travel experience and things he’s learned. He’s also written five ebooks, two of which I’ve read and added to my List of Essential Books.

A couple of my favorite posts:

Matt CheuvrontMatt Cheuvront of Life Without Pants

A few months ago, I stumbled across this blog called Life Without Pants and signed up for the email newsletter. It’s been incredibly rewarding. (Just like going to the bottom of this post and signing up for my newsletter will be rewarding for you)

Matt Cheuvront has a lot to say about about productivity and better living, and it’s all laid bare at Life Without Pants. However, he’s very realistic about it, which is a nice break from all the sensationalistic writing out there. I especially love The Problem with Idealism, in which he drops a heavy dose of realism on the whole “Pursue Your Passion Right Now Bro Or You’ll Die Alone” idea, while remaining positive and inspiring.

A couple of my favorite posts:

Joel RunyonJoel Runyon of Blog of Impossible Things

I’m a sucker for blogs with giant bucket lists of amazing experiences. Joel Runyon’s Blog of Impossible Things has one of the best ones out there, especially considering he’s crossed off some really impressive accomplishments.

Joel’s focus on having amazing experiences, rather than getting lots of toys, is one of the reasons his blog is so engaging. It’s packed full of individual spirit and inspiration, so I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re not cool with the whole mortgage, cubicle, and beer gut approach to post-college life.

Three of my favorite posts:

Amber RaeAmber Rae of Hey Amber Rae

Amber Rae’s blog was made known to me by Colin Wright’s book, How to Be Remarkable, and has quickly become one of my favorites for two reasons.

Reason 1: She puts inspiring quotes over really cool pictures, which results in even cooler-looking pictures. As a subscriber to the “great artists steal with both hands” philosophy, I will probably be incorporating this technique into the graphics I make. In fact, the featured image for this post is somewhat inspired by it. Thanks Amber Rae!

Reason 2: Her writing is ridiculously inspiring. I absolutely love her Unconventional Dictionary: 

Anxiety: Experiencing failure before it happens.

How true. Just think about that the next time you’re nervous about a test ;)

Bonus Reason 3: I just have to mention this since I’m running a college site, and by “this” I mean The Bold Academy. (I don’t usually bold my links, but this time it just seems fitting)

This is Amber Rae’s upcoming summer program for college students, and it’s shaping up to be quite possibly the best educational experience ever. This summer is shaping up to be pretty financially demanding for me, but I still want to make attending this program part of it if I can. Yeah, I’d love to have Amber Rae as a professor.

A couple of my favorite posts:

Steve KambSteve Kamb of Nerd Fitness

The health and fitness niche is ridiculously saturated, and fitness blogs are seemingly a dime a dozen. Steve Kamb’s Nerd Fitness is different, though. Steve isn’t just some gym owner or author with a diet book. He’s one of those life-hacking, world-travelling types I admire so much.

Nerd Fitness is an uncommon fitness blog because it doesn’t just cover the old “Here’s what to eat” and “Here’s how to do a Jump Squat” bases. There’s a lot more fun content, like tutorials on parkour and Crossfit, as well a post on kung-fu.

The blog also focuses on Steve’s goal to essentially apply gamification principles to his entire life. He’s set up a huge, epic quest for his life including “levels” full of goals that increase in grandeur and difficulty. Just looking at it makes me want to work ridiculously hard so I can do similar things.

Some of my favorite posts:

Leo BabautaLeo Babauta of Zen Habits

Leo Babauta may just be the most popular blogger in the world (among single-author blogs – I’m not counting Pete Cashmore or Arianna Huffington). His blog, Zen Habits, has almost a quarter-million subscribers and probably gets millions of hits a month. Leo is definitely the “800-pound gorilla” blogger in this list.

It’s for good reason, though; Zen Habits is one of the most value-packed blogs in existence. Seriously, just take a look at his archive page – every time I look at it, I find at least 10 posts I want to read. Almost all of the content is timeless and applicable to just about anyone. Zen Habits is all about being more productive, simplifying your life, and basically living better.

So start reading.

A few of my favorite posts:

Bud HennekesBud Hennekes of A Boundless World

I only discovered Bud’s blog a few days ago, but I’m already a fan. A Boundless World is the young blogger’s take on personal development, productivity, travel, and other similar topics. There’s some amazing content here.

The cool thing is that Bud is a junior in college just like me. It’s always cool to find more college students out there with blogs that have more ambitious focuses than just being online journals. A Boundless world definitely deserves more readers.

His take on the current educational system of judging success is just awesome:

Grades don’t guarantee success.

Passion + Determination + Positive Attitude = Success

I’ll give you an A if you transform the world  :-)

Bud is also reportedly working on a podcast, so I’d look out for that soon.

A couple of my favorite posts:

EvolvifyAndrew Badenoch of Evolvify

Some people get adventurous by creating a bucket list and doing things like skydiving, bungee jumping, or getting rid of their TVs. Other still decide to sell all their stuff and travel the world as a digital nomad.

Andrew Badenoch went and lived on a sailboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He also recently used Kickstarter to raise over $9,000 to fund a trip around the entire state of Alaska – using only a bike and an inflatable raft.

While I greatly admire Andrew for how ridiculously adventurous he is, I also love his blog. Evolvify is all about evolutionary psychology and the paleo lifestyle, two subjects that I’m quite interested in. The way in Andrew can take evolutionary psych ideas and apply them to interesting concepts like, “Why your girlfriend wants to cheat on you,” makes his blog both addicting and enlightening.

A couple of my favorite posts:

Adam BakerAdam Baker of Man Vs. Debt

As college students, most of us probably have a hefty chunk of debt resting on our shoulders. Getting rid of that debt is super-important; yet, statistically, a good portion of students will be saddled with it for decades after graduation (even with the $50,000+/yr salaries!)

This is pretty much unacceptable to me, and I’ve made it my personal goal to pay off my debt before my original graduation date of May 2013 (I may end up graduating a semester early).

That’s one of the reasons why I’ve included Adam Baker’s excellent blog in this list. Adam has systematically payed off almost $20,000 of debt together with his wife – and they’ve done it while travelling the world! His tips on simplifying life in order to get better control of your finances are essential, and I hope you’ll give his blog a read (and then start hitting that debt hard).

Some of the best posts include:

Benny LewisBenny Lewis of Fluent in 3 Months

I once heard a quote that went like this:

“If you know three languages, you’re a normal human being. If you know two, you’re thick. If you know one, you’re American.”

Now, since I’m American and still only know one language well, I feel no qualms at all posting this potentially offensive quote. If you’re American and bilingual (like Martin), feel free to retort in the language of your choosing.

On to the point. Benny Lewis speaks 8 languages fluently. And he’s working in Mandarin as his 9th. The title of this blog - Fluent in 3 Months - shows off the other amazing part of his story; Benny learns languages fast. He does this mainly through hardcore cultural immersion, but he’s also got a lot of other “language hacking” techniques that he shares through the blog. If you’re trying to learn another language, it is in your interest to read Fluent in 3 Months :)

Oh, and one more thing. If you’re American, go read that 2nd post I listed below. Do it. It’s super Un-American – but that’s the point (and hopefully we can learn from it).

A couple of my favorite posts:

Brett and Kate McKayBrett and Kate McKay of The Art of Manliness

I’ve been reading The Art of Manliness for a long time – since even before I started blogging myself. I love this blog. I mean, sometimes it’s kind of awkward to read it in class since people look at the title and immediately think of something cheesy like this – but that’s not what this site is about at all.

The Art of Manliness is about cultivating manly qualities like integrity, competence, confidence, and intelligence. It’s also about gaining practical skills and knowledge every man should have, like changing tires, rescuing people from avalanches, and picking out a suit.

This blog is just about the exact opposite from something like Men’s Health - it’s not about getting 6-pack abs, having sex all the time, and buying expensive crap. It’s about being a real man. A comprehensive man. 

However, I still think there is useful content here for the ladies as well. Obviously, the blog is mostly dedicated to men, but some posts are gender neutral and the site does have a female author (Kate, Brett’s wife). In fact, I’d recommend that all of you ladies reading this check out the first and third posts I’ve listed below. Gentlemen, read all three.

A few essential posts:

Tyler TervoorenTyler Tervooren of Advanced Riskology

No other blogger in this list has a rockin’ mustache, and that earns Tyler Tervooren and his blog, Advanced Riskology, a place on this list. You all know how much I like mustaches.

Just kidding, Ok, so he does have a pretty awesome ‘stache, but that’s not why he’s on the list. Tyler’s site is awesome because it’s all about taking risks and learning to live a less fearful life. Tyler is basically on a mission to kill complacency. I hate complacency, so as a result, I love Advanced Riskology.

His post on starting and ending a conversation is awesome. For part of it, he literally approached random people on the street and asked them to talk about risk-taking on camera. That takes balls.

Oh, and he’s also really good at replying to people on Twitter.

Here are a few amazing posts:

Jessie SpielvogelJessie Spielvogel of JessieSpielvogel.com

Jessie is a relatively new blogger, and she’s less than two years older than I am. I discovered her blog when someone I followed on Twitter tweeted her article based on created great “About” pages (where she also mentioned Matt Cheuvront). It was an awesome article, so I decided to start following her blog.

Even though her blog is pretty young, it’s got some excellent content to check out. Her article on making the best of your commute is great advice, as many people I see on the bus simply stare into space instead of using that time effectively.

I’m eagerly awaiting more content.

A couple of my favorite posts:

Chris GuillebeauChris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity

Chris Guillebeau is definitely one of the “A-list” bloggers on this list; in fact, the only blogger with a bigger following is Leo Babauta. His blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, is dedicated to people who make life remarkable.

Chris is the author of an awesome book, and has also created a ton of content on travel-hacking (including crazy ways to get FF miles that you’d never think were possible).

His writing on how a small group of “True Fans” can result in more success than mobs of passive fans really shaped my philosophy on blogging and helped me to focus on creating the content I really want to create, rather than trying to be all things to all students.

A couple of my favorite posts:

Joel GascoigneJoel Gascoigne of Joel.is

Joel is the other half of the Buffer app, alongside Leo Widrich (listed above). While Leo does most of the community engagement and guest blogging, Joel is the guy who actually builds the app. He’s the one slinging around all the PHP, JQuery, and other code.

His blog, Joel.is, is full of insights on running a startup. As someone who never wants a regular job, his writing is super valuable to me. Not all of it is strictly startup-related, though; some of what he writes is definitely applicable to any student, no matter your goals.

A couple of my favorite posts:

Jeff GoinsJeff Goins of Goins, Writer

Aptly named, Jeff Goins’ blog is mainly about how to write better. Some of his post topics include eliminating weak words from your writing, becoming a better writer by reading more fiction, and finding your voice.

“But what does a blog about writing have to do with students?” – You

Everything.

You may not be writing a book, and you may not be an active blogger, but I know you write. Effective writing is effective communication, which is something you need to learn. It’s just as, if not more, important than your actual major. Luckily, Jeff’s blog has some awesome strategies for becoming a better writer.

Jeff also blogs about other topics, such as travelling and living a better life. I absolutely love his work!

Here are a few of my favorite posts:

Benny HsuBenny Hsu of Get Busy Living

Get Busy Living takes its name from the classic movie The Shawshank Redemption. The found, Benny Hsu, writes about living an epic life and doing what you love.

From going through his archives, I’ve seen that Benny sometimes likes to focus on people who have been successful after age 30 (like Steve Carrell, who got his big break at age 43). I think he does this to inspire people who are past that age to believe they can achieve great things.

Most of us aren’t at that age yet, but the lesson is still applicable. To be honest, even I have fits of doubt about being too old to succeed sometimes, especially when I see the Alex Manginis and Christian Hollingsworths of the world having massive success at such young ages. However, I know that success can be had at any age, and thinking you’re too old is just a mental barrier. Benny’s work reminds me of that. 

Some of my most-loved posts:

Maria PopovaMaria Popova of Brain Pickings

Maria is an absolute expert at the art of curation, and Brain Pickings is where she shows off this expertise. This blog doesn’t have lots of new, original content; instead, Maria decides on the point of an article and then take pieces of media from far and wide to illustrate that point.

This is actually a super-effective technique to create meaningful content, for two reasons. Firstly, curated media comes together to form a bigger idea. A quote from a famous author, a TED talk, and a cool painting are all great, but they’re stunning when put together and giving a common meaning.

Secondly, Brain Pickings is successful because of the following idea, which I credit myself as saying but I’m sure has been said before by someone more important:

That is the power of curation. It brings media to the light which wouldn’t be known about otherwise, and it gives validation to the media since the audience can plainly see that someone else liked it enough to do the curating.

BrainPickings focuses on, well… a lot. I’ll let the site speak for itself…

Brain Pickings is your LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces across art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, you-name-itology.

So, while it’s probably not the site to visit when you’re looking for posts on a specific topic, it is an incredibly educational and enriching place.

A couple of my favorite posts:

That’s It. (For Now)

Alright! Over 4,000 words later, and we’re through 21 of the most awesome bloggers out there today. I have no doubt that each of the people on this list can help to change your life in a positive way, so I’d recommend following as many as you can (without getting too distracted from your homework). Check out their blogs, follow them on Twitter, and actually reach out to them if you find their work meaningful!

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32 Comments:
  1. im supposed to be in somewhere but im reading your post good quality.
    thank you:)

  2. Thanks for what looks to be a great list. I’ll definitely have to check these guys out. As if I didn’t already have two windows with endless number of tabs open.

  3. Thanks for sharing this list, Thomas. It’s always fun to discover new people and insights. It’s time for me to get reading!

  4. Maybe I don’t get out enough (maybe not maybe), but this is the first time I’ve seen such complete descriptions for a recommended blogs post. AND links to the specific posts you liked on each site? Well done guy. I’ll make my way through the list now….

    • Thanks for the compliments Kathy :) I felt that if I was going to recommend my readers to follow someone, I should tell them why and point them towards the posts that caused me to add them to my list!

      Have you seen other blogger lists coming out lately? I saw ProBlogger’s list that came out last month, but that’s been it for a while!

      • I’ve seen a few on Brazen careerist lately. But they don’t seem as popular, or maybe people are tired of doing the work. I love them. When someone you read recommends someone they read, it’s a natural.

      • Definitely! It’s just like that tweet quote in the entry for Brain Pickings. Recommendations are always heard louder than self-promotion :)

  5. I guess I am the one that benefited most from this list! Thomas, hope you can testify to that?

    Got some interview leads here.

    Thomas: Waiting for the answers to t he questionnaire.

    Sheyi

  6. Awesome list, I’m always looking for new great bloggers to follow and connect with, usually on the lists you see the same names, but out of the 21 you listed I only knew of 3 (Corbett, Leo, Adam). Thanks! :)

    • Good to know I’ve helped you discover some new blogs, Jamie. Thanks for taking the time to speak out!

      I checked out your blog – good stuff! I like your idea of doing all 17 of Kim Roach’s post ideas – I have those bookmarked along with the ones from Sean Platt. I won’t be running out of ideas anytime soon!

      • Hmm… I think you’ve inspired me to try something like this! Maybe I’ll try doing one of these formats each week alongside my current content plan :)

  7. Thanks for this. There are so many fantastic bloggers out there that I cannot possibly know everyone am sure there are still many more!

  8. Thanks for the email letting me know about this. First of all, love the design of your blog! Really unique.

    Secondly, thanks for adding me to a list of amazing bloggers. Many of them I look up to because they’re at a level where I want to be in terms of business and blogging.

    Thanks again Thomas!

    • I’m in the same boat, Benny – I look up to all of these bloggers (you included) and try to learn all that I can from what they’re doing – both in their subject matter and in the way they run their blogs.

  9. Excellent list, Thomas! Honored to be included with such outstanding company – all of whom I respect and read regularly! Cheers!

  10. Thanks so much, Thomas! Seriously so excited to be included in this list. You may have just made not only my day, but potentially my whole month :) And thanks for sharing all of these other blogs, as well! I’m excited to read them!

  11. Thanks for posting. While there were some familiar faces Amber & Jessie were totally unheard of before. At least I had not heard of them.
    But glad I stopped by and visited they are some great content.

    • Both Amber Rae and Jessie are definitely worth following!

      Also, thanks for sharing that article about Google authorship. I’ve been trying to get that to work for months with no success, but I didn’t know about that testing tool. It looks like I’ve got everything set correctly, so I guess I’ll just have to wait :)

  12. Hey Thomas. Thanks for the kind words. I hope your readers get a lot from the articles you mentioned.

    I love getting pinged about lists like these because I always end up learning about someone new I hadn’t heard of, so thanks for that, too.

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