Reputations for predicting market trends and outcomes are hard-won trophies. They are forged in the heat of impactful events and doubt filled circumstances. Investors seek wisdom and advice look to the authors of accurate predictions. Those that emerge with followings of faithful believers hold special places; they can influence opinions that shape the markets. The short items that follow describe some of the undoubted Gurus of the current era.

Warren Buffett in a Class Comprised of One

Warren Buffett has a track record and reputation that places this thoughtful man at the top of any list of Gurus. One should note that Guru is a name applied to his peerless stature. Historically and in a snapshot of today, he is the most successful investor. He is a proven winner that the business world follows as if a guru. At some point, an investor can become so influential that he or she is too big to fail. Their footprint is so impactful that every move changes a market dynamic in its favor. Buffett still contradicts the market wisdom, and those that follow his advice are more often rewarded.

1. Jack Bogle- Mutual Fund Mastery

Jack Bogle is the co-founder of Vanguard, which has more than a $trillion assets under management. His strength is the mutual fund that is the avenue most easily available to most investors. His strength is in an area highly relatable to the average investor.

2. George Soros Short-term and Speculative Moves

George Soros made legendary moves like the famous British Pound buy that netted $1 Billion in one day. He has focused on short-term moves and derivatives. Equally impressive, he is a citizen of the world with humanitarian involvements.

3. T. Boone Pickens Oil Gas and Energy

Pickens was a leading source of knowledge of the oil and energy business when oil and gas were the heart of the world markets. Things have changed, but energy is still very important; it is just not as critical in the conversation since the world shortage theory gave way to fracking and tar sands. He supports alternative energy and philanthropy.

4. John Paulson Reads News and Events

He has an events driven philosophy that has proven wildly successful; he has set records for annual earnings. He was notable in not following the sub-prime trend and made a fortune while others suffered losses in the crash before the Great Recession.

5. Ken Fisher Among Most accurate Gurus

If investors decide to follow a Guru, the accuracy should be the reason more than appeal, or flash, or reputation. This list of five includes those tested favorably over time by sampling and comparison with the real world results such as the leading indexes like the S&P 500. Ken Fisher was rated among the more accurate Gurus in a survey over a large sample of his predictions and commentaries. His scores were consistently in the top echelon. There is something to credit for accuracy in a business characterized by unpredictable change.

Gurus Are Not Important- Thinking Is

Warren Buffett probably does not follow gurus; all indications are that he has developed his approach to value investing from education, influential books, thoughtful conversations, and the wealth of experience. Gurus are one piece in a mosaic of infinite pieces. Success seems to come to people who develop, beg, steal, or borrow ideas and test them to find the outcomes. The best part of following gurus is the thought process they inspire. Following Gurus may be helpful, but it is not a goal. It appears that critical thinking is far more important and predictive of successful investing.