The list is long. I will start with a few here (in the order in which I discovered them in my life).
- Marie Curie – For being a source of inspiration and a role model. I just recalled that I read about her before I read any other stories from the list below.
- P.G.Wodehouse – for his amazing sense of humor and creating an interest in language
- Arthur C Clarke, Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Larry Niven for their imagined possibilities and long term predictions.
- Doug Engelbart – for his efforts in Augmenting Human Intellect and for his other amazing ideas (bootstrapping, co-evolutions, improving improvement)
- Paul Graham for his wonderful, thought-provoking essays
- Tim O’Reilly and his advice on “Creating more Value than you can capture”
- Steve Blank for demystifying entrepreneurship
- Seth Godin for his idea viruses
- Peter Norvig – for being a big source of inspiration in demystifying complex topics (like Machine Learning and AI)