I thought I would write about some pretty cool people who inspire me.  I have been reading a few things about them recently.

By some coincidence they also happen to have beards.  Does a beard make a person cool.  Who knows?

Richard Branson (Business)

Richard Branson is the sort of guy who can be loved or hated.  You can hate him for being over the top figure head that it is almost cartoonish.  But he was one of the most forward thinking people about business and work before the rise of the Internet Billionaire.

Branson’s view for business is to better it – he spots opportunities to make things better and is not afraid to cross the lines of business.  He calls making businesses the Virgin Way – with his casual style of leadership, he is not a stuffy boardroom guy – as a result he has made a magazine, a record label, music shops, airline industry, banking, Cola and Condoms.  He doesn’t believe in sticking to business as usual but doing things the Virgin Way.

As an ex-environmental student I also respect his attitude to solving the various issues – not by wining about it, but trying to invest in solutions to make things better.

As a result whether you are an entrepreneur or just someone want to make your organisation better, Branson is an inspiration

Steve Prefontaine (Fitness)

Prefontaine was a track runner who competed in the Munich Olympics in the 5k.  He narrowly missed out on a medal, before he could get his second chance he tragically died in a car accident.

Prefontaine was the original face of Nike – (part of the jogging boom) and was critical of the US Olympic federation in supporting amateur athletes who were struggling to live.  Many where having to hold down a job, while meeting  the training requirements expected of an olympic athlete.

I was not born when Prefontaine was around but his attitude to training and running inspired me.

Firstly he saw the tragedy in wasted potential – he saw people who could have been better but didn’t try enough.

He also ran his all in any race – so much that when he crossed the finish line he would be wobbling out of balance ready to collapse.  Whenever I do a race and see the finish line I always sprint flat out (many times collapsing to the ground as I cross the finish).

Prefontaine was opinoate – many may say an arsehole.  But it’s that spirit that even  over 40 years after his death, he is still an inspiration to many.

Renoir (Creative)

I liked art at school and studied the likes of Dali and Lichtenstein, but never came across the work of Renoir.

That is until I heard the story of his later life – he developed arthritis and this meant everytime he held a paint brush, he was in agonising pain.

Why did he continue?

Renoir was passionate about what he did.  He would not let ill health stop him from doing what he loved.

So when I come home from work and feel tired or  stiff.  I think about just sitting on my arse doing nothing.

Then I think of Renoir, I do not know pain like he did – yet he went on.  So why shouldn’t I?

Jesus (Life)

I am not Christian, but I believe in Jesus.  If the stories are half-true, then he seemed a pretty cool guy.

He knocked around with 12 misfits – many who had a number of faults and gave them the chance to lead.

He did not hate, even on his death he forgave the guy who betrayed him.

From Jesus I take aware to keep cool and do what I can to make life better.

Who are some other cool people (beard or not)?


Richard Branson: The Virgin Way: How to Laugh, Listen, Learn and Lead

Steve Prefontaine: Pre: Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend Steve Prefontaine

Renoir: Open Culture

Jesus: Wikipedia

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