Those, I found at a distance, through my travels in no particular order.
Someone asked, "how, did you get this way?" My answer? I started reading the classics too young: Aristotle, Socrates, Plato; even Jesus, Buddha, and others.
I tried to focus on what Yeshua said and not follows, especially those hundreds or thousands of years after. But only what he said, as best we can now fathom; following that which others say, and not a Founder, is a slippery and dangerous road and we must do the best we can to avoid that).
Then, the Philosophers of the Enlightenment and earlier and later.
Finally late genius and Buddhas: Krishnamurti, Thich Nhat Han, Dalai Lama, Christopher Hitchens, M. Merleau-Ponty and others as I think of them.
Below, is an ever growing and ever updated list of authors that affected my mind and brain and carved from stone, that mind which is now my own. In some cases, I offer, the specific book a specific author placed in the catalog of Human History for me to find, eat, and abuse.
Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, various writings).
Christopher Hitchens - "God is not Great"
brief Biography from The Hour's George Stroumboulopoulos
Dr. Hitchens greatly sums up my thoughts about our enemies at this time
Why Women Aren't Funny - if you don't find him quite intelligent and funny in this, well, you just don't get it. Perhaps, you can't read either. Is someone reading this to you now?
Marshall McLuhan -
The Medium is the Massage (1967)
John W. Campbell ("More than any other individual, he helped to shape modern sf.") - for giving us Science Fiction writers: Issac Asimov, Robert Heinlein ("The Dean of Science Fiction"), Arthur C. Clark, once known as "The Big Three".
Harlan Ellison - "A Boy and his Dog", "The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World", and so much more....
Ray Bradbury - Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), and so, so, so much more.
Steven King - for Jack, enhancing horror and supporting Clive
Clive Barker - for the "Books of Blood", Pinhead and so much more
JRR Tolkein - for Hobbits
William S. Burroughs - considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the twentieth century." Wikipedia/2003 Penguin Modern Classics edition of Junky.
Robert E. Howard - "Conan" and all his works
Lewis Carrol - for Alice
Edgar Allen Poe - For Horror's refinement
Hunter S. Thompson - for being Gonzo
William Gibson - cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction
Len Deighton - "Game, Set, Match" espionage series done in miniseries with Ian Holm, a set of episodes that the author hated and I greatly love. It was the last book, "Berlin Game" that my father read before he died. I had just finished the TV show, when he died. I hadn't seen him in seventeen years and my half brother handed me this book the day of the memorial; a day that gave me back a younger brother I had never before gotten to know very well, not since he was eleven. I met him again, in his late 30's. We are now good friends.
Edgar Rice Burroughs - "John Carter of Mars"
Richard Dawkins -
Responding to devout Christian
On The Hour about his book The God Delusion
Condensed Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Colin Wilson - "Mind Parasites"
Elmore "Dutch" Leonard - "Dutch's" 10 rules of writing Leonard penned the F/X popular show with Timothy Oliphant, "Justified" (love this show).