The Bnet blog has a critical look:
In Thought Leaders & Gurus: Too Big for Their Niches, Allen Weiss suggests the following:
My sense is that all of this thought-leader stuff is really just for selling something. The same goes for the word “guru.” That’s fine, I guess, if you want to characterize yourself in some new age words in order to sell books.
I couldn’t agree more. I also think the last thing we need when we’re all struggling with a global financial crisis is some self-proclaimed thought leader telling us where we went wrong and how, if we follow and pay for their brand of thinking, we’ll be better managers.
I personally think gurus/thought leaders/pundits/analysts or whatever you call them are necessary to generate ideas and spread them, but do approach them with a skeptic’s viewpoint, and not of the newly converted.
Remember, there are no new ideas. Only old ideas in new contexts.