I created a list of the 100 most influential people on the planet. Time magazine already has a similar list, but theirs is not ranked, and is so absurdly politically correct, incoherent and celebrity focused that it’s not credible. Forbes publishes a much better list of the most powerful people in the World, but as Condi Rice once said, power means nothing unless you can turn it into influence.
So I made a list of people with real impact; people without whom the World would be a very different place. It could be a good impact or a bad impact, and while some on the list have been a force for good, many are far too evil.
Measuring influence is more art than science, but I tried to be objective. I polled my readers on who the most influential people are but most of the folks they picked were just those with forms of power (political, financial, cultural, religious), and not actual historical impact.
I realized people are much better at knowing what has influenced them, then who has influenced them, so I found a Pew poll asking Americans what events of their lifetime had most influenced the country. The results were as follows:
Because the poll was taken the summer before Trump was elected, it was a bit outdated, so I decided to assign Trump’s election the same importance as the Pew poll had assigned Obama’s (a score of 40%), since Trump’s kind of the anti-Obama. Of course a poll of Americans about events affecting America is U.S.-centric, however America’s been the World’s most important country for as long as anyone can remember, so any truly important event in recent World history should affect America.
The next step was to decide who had most influenced these events. I used a scale of one to four, so if one was extremely important to the event, they got a 4 for that event, and if they were only slightly important, they got a 1. If not important at all, they got a 0. These numbers were then multiplied by the importance of the event as measured by the poll and summed across events to determine each person’s impact score.
So for example, if someone got a 4 for the Vietnam war (which has an importance of 20% according to the Pew poll) but only a 1 for the moon landing (which has an importance of 17%), and 0 for all other important events, their impact score would be 97, because 4*20+1*17=97.
In cases where a person’s influence on an event was a matter of conspiracy theory (i.e. JFK assassination) I tried to strike a balance between the conspiracy theory (if it was plausible) and the skeptics.
My list was inspired by the great Jewish author Michael Hart’s book The 100, except his was the most influential people of all time. This list is The Living 100: The 100 most influential LIVING people of all time.
Here is the complete list ranked from most influential to least influential:
1. George W. Bush [impact score 406]: President of the United States during 9/11 and the start of the war on terror. Helped save millions of lives in Africa.
2. Bill Clinton [impact score 349]: President of the World’s most influential country at the peak of its influence
3. Khalid Sheikh (Shaikh) Mohammed [impact score 304]: considered a mastermind of the September 11th attacks which dramatically changed the World
4. George Soros [impact score 303]: Instrumental in advancing leftist policies in America and Europe
5. Oprah [impact score 280]: Created confession culture & a more intimate form of media communication, paving the way for social media and reality TV. Broke the taboo over discussing sexual abuse, leading millions of victims to recovery. Even back in the 1980s, popularized a genre of talk show that’s been credited with mainstreaming LGBT people. Played the decisive role in electing the first black president and first black First Lady of the United States; a President who brought health care to millions of Americans. Her televised book club has been credited with making literature accessible to millions.
6. Xi Jinping [impact score 228]: presiding over the rise of China with economic policies that turned the Iraq war to China’s advantage. The fear that China duped America in trade deals helped inspire Trump to run for President.
7. Bob Iger [impact score 212]: helped shape American media for decades thus paving the way for a black president and gay rights.
8. Gerald Levin [impact score 212]: consolidated mass media in America
9. Michael Eisner [impact score 212]: influential media mogul
10. Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi [impact score 211]: helped lead a terrorist movement
11. Vladimir Putin [impact score 200]: Although his direct influence on the election of Trump has been greatly exaggerated, according to commenter Tenn he has changed the world’s geopolitical landscape more in recent years than has any other individual.
12. Jack Dorsey [impact score 186]: the founder and CEO of twitter
13. Donald Trump [impact score 180]: the man who ended political correctness.
14. Rupert Murdoch [impact score 174]: his global right-wing media empire has changed the World
15. Mark Zuckerberg [impact score 164]: created the most influential social networking forum
16. Robert Rubin [impact score 160]: His advocacy for financial deregulation helped pave the way for the populist uprising that gave us Trump
17. Barack Obama [impact score 160]: First black in recorded history to ever be the most powerful human on the planet. Brought dignity and status to over a billion blacks. Brought healthcare to millions of working Americans. Saved America from a great depression and the world from an apocalyptic war with Iran, and achieved gay rights. Some foreign policy blunders combined with the controversy over his birth, helped pave the way for Trump.
18. Angela Merkel [impact score 160]: played a major role in changing the demographics of Europe
19. Bashar Hafez al-Assad [impact score 160]: in power during the Syrian refugee crisis
20. John Kerry [impact score 160]: Helped launch Barack Obama’s career by letting him speak at the 2004 Democratic convention. Later played a key role in the Iran nuclear deal.
21. David Plouffe [impact score 160]: played a key role in electing Barack Obama president
22. Katie Couric [impact score 160]: The woman who destroyed Sarah Palin’s political ambitions, thus paving the way for Obama to get elected
23. Julian Assange [impact score 160]: In spite of (or perhaps because) he is “autistic” according to a character in a Jonathan Franzen novel, the Nordic Assange advanced his ethnic genetic interests by helping Trump get elected.
24. Mohammed Mana Ahmed al-Qahtani [impact score 152]: Accused of being one of the 9/11 coconspirators
25-29. The Dancing Israelis [impact score 152]: Their behavior on September 11th 2001 inspired countless conspiracy theories
30. Ramzi bin al-Shibh [impact score 152]: accused of being a key facilitator in the 9/11 attacks
31. Larry Silverstein [impact score 152]: His real-estate played a key role in history
32. Efraim Halevy[impact score 152]: served as director of Mossad during a period of great change
33. Colin Powell [impact score 144]: Helped pave the way for the first black President by normalizing the idea of black military leadership. In 2003 he became the top salesman for transformative neocon foreign policy.
34. Phil Donahue [impact score 124]: paved the way for Oprah, by pioneering the provocative daytime talk show, the most important counter-culture movement of the late 20th century
35. David Axelrod [impact score 120]: played a key role in electing Barack Obama
36. Ricki Lake [impact score 120]: The Jewish Oprah; helped mainstream gays by hosting one of the more edgy Oprah style talk shows in the 1990s
37. Henry Kissinger [impact score 101]: According to Wikipedia, “Kissinger played a prominent role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated the opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, ending American involvement in the Vietnam War.
38. George H.W. Bush [impact score 100] President of the United States during the peak of its power, presided over a war, Vice President to the transformative Ronald Reagan and father to the transformative George W. Bush
39. Tim Berners-Lee [impact score 88]: created the world wide web, the most transformative invention of our time.
40. Steve Wozniak [impact score 88]: Helped launch the technology revolution
41. Ian Wilmut [impact score 88]: first person to clone an animal
42-44. The Primate cloners [impact score 88]: first people to clone a primate, paving the way for human cloning
45-46. Bill Gates & Paul Allen [impact score 88]: played a key role in launching the computer revolution
47.Svante Paabo [impact score 88]: Sequenced Neanderthal DNA
48. Bradford Parkinson [impact score 88]: The father of the Global Positioning System, which revolutionized how we navigate
49. Abe Karem [impact score 88]: invented the predator drone, transforming the nature of warfare
50. Gloria Steinem[impact score 87]: The mother of feminism; by paving the way for women, challenged gender roles, thus indirectly paving the way for gays too
51. Barbara Walters[impact score 87]: trail blazer and iconic role model for women in media; helped make news more celebrity focused
52. Madonna [impact score 87]: paved the way for an entire generation of provocative female performers such as Lady Gaga inflaming Muslim rage against America and helped make sexual deviance culturally acceptable, paving the way for gay marriage.
53. Howard Stern[impact score 87]: revolutionized American radio and helped make American culture more vulgar and sexual
54. Jerry Springer [impact score 87]: Made America more vulgar and sexual
55. Tina Fey [impact score120]: her impersonation of Sarah Palin helped cost her the election, paving the way for the first black president
56-57. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein [impact score 80]: brought down a U.S. president and inspired a generation of journalists
58. Bill Moyers [impact score 80]: played a key role in the Vietnam war
59. Diana Ross [impact score 80]: helped pave the way for blacks in popular culture. Inspired a young Oprah and Michael Jackson to dream bigger.
60. Condoleeza Rice [impact score 76] influential national security advisor during 9/11 and the run-up to the Iraq war. Despite being considered an “Uncle Tom” by the left, she advanced her ethnic genetic interests by getting Bush to save millions of African lives
61-80. The neocons [impact score 68]: Largely the visionaries and intellectual influence behind the extremely transformative foreign policy of the Bush43 administration
81. Tang Jiaxun [impact score 68]: By opposing the Iraq war, helped position China to be one of its biggest winners.
82. Howard Kohr [impact score 68]: executive director of the AIPAC during a critical period of U.S. foreign policy
83. Steven J Rosen [impact score 68]: One of the top officials at AIPAC during a critical period of U.S. foreign policy
84. Dick Cheney [impact score 68] powerful Vice President during the transformative Bush administration
85. George Tenet [impact score 68]: CIA director during a critical period of U.S. history
86. Tony Blair [impact score 68]: Dragged Britain into war with Iraq & brought Clinton style third way politics to the UK
87. James Watson [impact score 66]: helped discover the structure of DNA, revolutionizing the fields of biology, anthropology and law.
88-90. chad hurley steve chen and jawed karim [impact score 66]: created youtube which revolutionized media
91-92. Google guys [impact score 66]: launched the World’s most powerful search engine
93. Jimmy Wales [impact score 66]: Changed the way the World shares knowledge
94. Khieu Samphan [impact score 60]: played a critical role in the Vietnam war
95. General Khamtai Siphandon [impact score 60]: played a key role in the Vietnam war
96. Nuon Chea [impact score 60]: played a key role in the Vietnam war
97. Paul McCartney [impact score 60]: the leading living member of the most influential rock band of all time
98. Yoko Ono [impact score 60]: Advanced her ethnic genetic interests by inspiring the World’s most influential rock stars to inspire the hippies that ended the war in Asia.
99. DJ Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell[impact score 60]: the father of hip hop
100. Mikhail Gorbachev [impact score 52]: played a key role in the fall of the Soviet Union
[Based on feedback from readers, this list was revised on Feb 4 – 5, 2018]