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Certainly linking to authority sites is beneficial to your site if in context, and relevant. It can be just a detrimental to link to a non relevant site as if they were linking to you (but I’m sure why anyone would do that).

The web is becoming more semantic, so it is becoming less about keywords and links (although they will still be important), and more about the wholistic entity of your web properties, i.e your website, social profiles, web 2.0 profiles, and the way they interact between each other, and with other relevant entities. Links are still important however, and should always be part of the way you think about SEO.