10 Mentors on my Imaginary Advisory Board

As I was reading the novel Post Office by Charles Bukowski the other day, I couldn’t help but wonder what the self-proclaimed low-life writer would think about my blog.

Have you ever wondered anything like that?  Or have you thought about what feedback your role models would even give you?

After thinking about it, I thought the imaginary boardroom would make for a cool concept for a blog post, and I’ve actually done a similar post before on a previous blog in the past.

But before getting into the list, there are several honourable mentions that come to mind, which I should provide a disclaimer for.

I definitely look up to artists like Kid Cudi and J Cole, however, the folks on this list were specifically chosen to help with writing, marketing, business, work ethic, and ways to reach a more financially independent lifestyle.

Having said that, here are the top 10 people on my imaginary advisory board.

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Gary Vaynerchuck


People are chasing cash, not happiness. When you chase money, you’re going to lose. You’re just going to. Even if you get the money, you’re not going to be happy. – Gary Vaynerchuk


There was just no way to keep Garyvee off this list, plain and simple.  I’ve read his book Crush It before, and have recently spent a lot of time watching the Ask Garyvee show on youtube.

This man has such a vast amount of knowledge about social media, marketing, and business that he gives away for free.

I’d love to hear what his thoughts on reverse the crush.  Through listening to him all the time, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what he’d say, but I still think it’d be great to hear what he thinks in person.

My bet is that he’d get me to improve the about and work-with-me pages asap to improve conversions.

Charles Bukowski

Although he wasn’t around long enough to see blogs exist, it would be fascinating to hear his take on blogging and get a few writing tips in the process.

I imagine we’d meet at a local bar or at least be drinking something during the meeting, because, well, he’s Charles Bukowski.

But anyways, I’ve always loved his simple, straight-forward approach to writing.  He was able to say so much with so little.

He was also an incredible poet, and poetry is something I would love to learn more about.

Nevertheless, we’d at least have one thing in common. He wanted to escape the Post Office just as badly as I wanted to elude-the-9-to-5.

Kobe Bryant


I’m chasing perfection. – Kobe Bryant


Ever since Kobe Bryant in NBA Court Side for Nintendo 64 came out, I’ve idolized the guy.

I use to practice his patented mid-range, pump fake jumpers obsessively back during high school.

And I truly believe that somewhere out there in a different dimension, where I’m a superstar basketball player, I carry that same relentless demeanour as he did.

I’d be similar because of the silent act-as-I-do leadership style and ultra competitiveness.

Honestly, I don’t like to lose at all.  And I don’t care who’s in front of me or what the challenge is.  I’m a terrible loser and part of it comes from growing up watching Kobe’s competitive drive.

There would be plenty of takeaways from Bryant, including work ethic, drive, and mental preparation.

Lebron James


You have to be able to accept failure to get better. – LeBron James


What can I say about Lebron James?

Well, he’s the other basketball player I’ve always admired from a work ethic and skill level perspective.

And he’s actually my favourite player, so I was happy to see that Cavs pull it out over the Warriors this year.

But he’s also a smart fucking dude.

With all the media scrutiny and hype surrounding him throughout his career, he’s actually surpassed expectations.

He wrote his own destiny during the course of his career and has built up the other people in his life in the process.

I could learn a lot about long term planning, marketing, and business from LBJ.



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Warren Buffett


I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute. – Warren Buffett


How could I call myself an investor and leave the living legend, Warren Buffett, off this council?

I couldn’t leave him off because I’d trust him over anyone else on the planet, when it comes to my portfolio management, so he’s a absolute must to add to the team.

I’d love to talk stocks with him and get his thoughts on my portfolio strategy.  He’d have so much to share about life.

Steve Jobs

Like many people, I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the news that he passed away.

I’ve read the biography and watched all the documentaries, yet he still continues to fascinate me.

Though, he was in a completely different space that I am, it would be cool to get his take on branding, marketing, and business partnerships.

His relentless drive and pursuit for what he cares about would be enlightening to be around.

J.K. Rowling


It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. – J. K. Rowling


First things first, I have not and will not read a Harry Potter book ever.  Fantasy novels are just not my thing.  Frankly, I’m just too much of a realist.

However, J.k. Rowling is obviously a very accomplished lady.

I watched a youtube video recently, on her top 10 rules for success, and she’s got some great pieces of advice

She got me thinking about writing and English class with some of the things she said in the youtube video that was put together by Evan Carmichael.

Because the truth is that English class always made me feel like I didn’t want anything to do with writing.

I knew I was able to effortlessly pass English classes, despite all the disastrous, red-faced presentations I uncomfortably butchered my way through.  But school seems to have a way of ruining things for me.

Which makes me wonder how that process went for successful writers like J.K. Rowling.

I didn’t pick her because I’m trying to write a novel or anything, I picked her because her story is interesting.

She could critique writing, and provide a general sense of direction of what to focus on.

Seth Godin

I first read Seth Godin’s book Linchpin after finishing up school, and to be honest, I learned a lot more about marketing from reading him than I ever did in school.

I swear, reading The Purple CowLinchpin, and a couple Garyvee books is a better business marketing education than getting an actual diploma.  You really learn so much more.

Having said that, Seth would be a great person to talk to about marketing and branding.

Elizabeth Gilbert


I have a rigid self-accountability. You have to work hard. – Elizabeth Gilbert


Again I’ve never read any of her books, but thanks to Evan Carmichael’s youtube video, I’ve been able to know how fucking cool she is.

She’s really smart and seems to be more of a realist, which is refreshing to hear in the area of art.

Having said that, I could definitely find value listening to her thoughts on work-life balance, writing, and her journey thus far.

Tim Ferris

Honestly without Tim Ferris, my 10 month mini-retirement probably wouldn’t exist.

I read his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, while I was still working for the man and suppose to be studying for CSI exams.

And somehow, it’s seems to have tucked itself away in my mind and then manifested its way out 6 months later.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it appears to have really stuck with me.

Tim would be a fantastic resource on blogging, writing, time-management, and the freedom lifestyle.


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Question: Who’s in your imaginary boardroom? Have you ever thought about something like this?

12 Comment

  1. Jeff says: Reply

    Cool post, Graham! I really like this idea. Napoleon Hill first introduced me to the concept in his books Think and Grow Rich and the Laws of Success. He talked a lot about having imaginary board meetings with Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and the like.

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey Jeff,
      Thanks for commenting! And that was actually one of the other reasons behind this post. I read Think and Grow Rich back in 2012 and forgot to mention that in the post. But I definitely remember him talking about those board meetings. Great book. Thanks again 🙂

  2. Karen says: Reply

    Interesting post. I never even imagined an imaginary (haha) advisory board, let alone who would be on it. After reading yours, I definitely would love to have JK Rowling (Huge Harry Potter fan here), Steve Jobs, Seth Godin and Warren Buffett on mine. I would probably also add Sophia Amuroso (founder of Nasty Gal), Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, Mark Zuckerberg and Howard Schultz (founder of Starbucks).

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi Karen,
      Appreciate the comment! And that’s a swell list of mentors there. I’m familiar with Sophia Amoroso and almost considered putting her on the list too. Howard Schultz is another great pick. He’s brilliant when it comes to branding. Hope everything is going well over there! Thanks again 🙂

  3. I like this list. A lot of different perspective from aspects of life.

    I might make my own list and add Kobe (he’s better then Lebron ;))

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey Steve,
      Thanks for commenting and glad to hear you liked the post!
      That would be cool if you made your own list. Let me know if you do because I’d be interested to see your selections. And haha, I like both Kobe and Lebron. They’re both good. Thanks again 🙂

  4. I think this is one of the coolest posts I have ever read. And it definitely has me thinking… I agree with a bunch of your picks too. But it would take me work to come up with others. And now I think it isn’t a good thing that I can’t come up with them! 🙂

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hi Vicki,
      Thanks for commenting and for the kind words! Much appreciated!
      It’s actually really hard to narrow it down… I keep thinking of more people that should’ve been on the list. Maybe I’ll update the post down the road. Let me know if you write your own list! Thanks again 🙂

  5. I’d love to have a meeting with JK Rowling, Lebron and Warren Buffett. Your team would beat some basketball teams lol.

    Tristan

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Haha, I didn’t even think about that, but I’d probably have a good chance against anybody lol Good picks and thanks again, Tristan 🙂

  6. Interesting and original post, Graham! I honestly don’t know who I’d want on my board….that can’t be good. Haha!

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Thanks for commenting TY,
      I came up with the idea for this by watching Ted Talks and top 10 rules for success videos on Youtube. It’s really difficult to narrow it down.

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