The Final Cut Towards the 100 Most Influential People List

by Jonathan Hobratsch (with suggestions by Pauly Deathwish)

If you ‘ve checked out my last few blogs then you’ve seen my process of narrowing hundred of influential candidates into an exclusive list of 100 people (sometimes teams of people).

The list of candidates for the remaining spots are now few enough that I can rank this small group of people and make cuts at the bottom of the list.

Many of the suggestions were offered by Pauly Deathwish.

My criteria for inclusion requires candidates to not only have groundbreaking and lasting influence, but to have an influence that goes beyond a single country or region, preferably worldwide.



Archimedes (c.287bc-c.212bc) anticipated modern calculus and analysis. He founded hydrostatics and statics. He is credited with the invention of the screw, block and pully system and the principles of the lever.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) founder of Marxism, the most influential variant of Socialism. He was also arguably the most influential critic of capitalism. His writings on class struggles, labor and inequality make him a principle architect in the field of sociology. Much of his work was buttressed by Friedrich Engels. He is considered the father of Socialism, even though the principal ideas of Socialism were expressed by thinkers who are now known as Utopian Socialists, such as Robert Owen.

Adam Smith (1723-1790) is the father of modern economics. He laid the foundation for the classical free market economic theory.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) as the primary figure in the development of the English language into a world language. He also wrote plays that have been translated, spread, and staged across the world, even to the present day.

Julius Caesar (100bc-44bc) brought an end to the Roman Republic, allowing for the rise of the Roman Empire. Also, Julian calendar and the terms Caesar,  Czar and Kaiser.

Gautama Buddha (c.480bc-c.400bc) is the founder of Buddhism.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) is one of the two independent inventors of calculus. He also refined the binary system, which is currently used in computers.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was the predominant leader of the Indian independence movement. He is probably the most recognized practitioner of nonviolent civil disobedience in history.

Louis Le Prince (1841-1890) invented the first movie camera and shot the first movies.

Nicephore Niepce (1765-1833) invented photography.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) is the predominant figure in the African-American civil rights movement, and a leading inspiration for the rights of worldwide minorities. He was also, along with Gandhi, a chief practioneer of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Socrates (c.470bc-399bc) originator the Socratic method, which was an original and crucial development in the art of critical thinking. Socrates was the primary influence of Plato’s ideas.

Petrarch (1304-1374) considered the “Father of Humanism,” and arguably the single most important figure in initiating the Renaissance with his discovery of Cicero’s letters. He also sparked the popularity of sonnet poetry within his own time, and throughout much of Europe after his death.


Hammurabi (c.1810bc-1750bc) for the earliest code of laws.

Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566) inspired the growth of Ottoman culture and law, including Islam, which expanded into the areas that he conquered. He helped establish Islam as the second major religion in Europe and fixed Ottoman Turkish presence as the pivot between Europe and Asia cultures.

Simon Bolivar (1783-1840) established several South American countries as independent of Spanish rule. This inspired the rest of the Spanish-speaking New World to seek their own countries.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) Ended the French Revolution and initiated the Napoleonic Wars, which culminated in the European balance of powers. Also, sold the Louisiana territory to the United States, was the inspiration of two of the most important military strategy books (one by Clausewitz and the other by Jomini), initiated modern Egyptology (resulting in the founding of the Rosetta Stone), indirectly sparked the Age of Nationalism, inspired the “Great Man Theory” of German philosophers.

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1925) arguably the lead activist in fighting for women’s suffrage. Her efforts helped achieve suffrage in her own country of Great Britain, and inspired similar efforts in other countries, including in the United States.

Pier Giorgio Perotto (1930-2002) invented the first personal computer.

Philo Farnsworth (1906-1971) invented the first fully functioning television.

Homer (c. 850bc) for the first known literature of Europe and the inspiration for epic poetry.

John Lennon (1940-1980), Paul McCartney (1942), George Harrison (1943-2001), and Ringo Starr (1940) formed the best selling band in world history. Their influence on music is paramount.

John Calvin (1509-1564) is the founder of Calvinism, which is the chief philosophy of numerous protestant churches, such as Presbyterians, Congregational, Reformed.

Giotto (c.1266-1337) for his groundbreaking, solidly three-dimensional artwork.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) arguably the most inventive composer, who also developed the techniques of previous composers. He was a master at counterpoint, harmonics, modulation and contrapuntal motion.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) the originator of Keynesian economics. He is considered the founder of macroeconomics.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) invented assemblage and collage. He also had a profound influence on the foundation of modern art.


Maximilian Robespierre (1758-1794) was the primary advocate for the successful abolition of slavery, making France the first major country to end slavery. He pushed for the equality of rights and universal male suffrage, but was defeated and executed when the violence of the French Revolution spun out of control.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) prevented the breakup of the United States. Laid the foundation for the abolition of slavery in the most powerful republic. Centralized the United States, which made America’s dominance in the 20th century possible.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) facilitated America’s transition from world power to one of two superpowers, authorized the creation of the atomic bomb, and helped defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

Mao Zedong (1893-1976) founding father of the People’s Republic of China, the most populated Communist government in history. He laid the foundations for China as a world power through modernization policies. His form of communism, known as Maoism, is often an example to misrepresent Socialism.

Charlemagne (c.742-814) laid the foundation for modern France and Germany.

Cicero (106bc-43bc) influenced European prose literature and ideas with his humanism and political oratory. The Renaissance and the Enlightenment were a return to his ideas. He was an influence on both the American and French Revolutions and the governments they created.

Alexander Hamilton (c. 1755-1804) for founding the current dominant nation’s financial system and for founding the world’s first voter-based political party.

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) rapidly industrialized Russia into a superpower that both helped end World War II and became one of two major powers during the Cold War. Stalinism has often been used as an example to misrepresent Socialism. Russia’s relative strength today is due in part to Stalin’s regime.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is known as the “Father of Free Verse.” His poetry has had a large impact in North and South America and in Europe, specifically on the Iberian Peninsula.

Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) is considered the most influential architect in architectural history, primarily for his architectural treatise.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) the founder of modern political science. He described immoral behavior by political leaders as something that was normal and effective in politics, and at times, justified for the good of a country.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) for being arguably the leading developer in the popularity of the novel.



As I have tiered these figures, I will now remove nine candidates and move them to the honorable mention list. These include Dickens, Machiavelli, Palladio, Whitman, Cicero, Charlemagne, Robespierre, Hamilton and FDR. Which leaves Stalin, Mao Zedong and Abraham Lincoln as the only Tier 3 candidates to make the top 100.

I had to choose between Lincoln and FDR. I stuck with Lincoln since I think his centralizing of the federal government over the states was the turning point in making executives like FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, LBJ and Truman possible.


With this done, I now have a top 100 list, which I will post unranked in the future. The ranking of the top 100 will take some time.

Thanks for reading.


One Comment Add yours

  1. All You Need Is G’uh! I Wanna Hold Your G’uh. I Saw Her Standing G’uh. Hard Day’s G’uh. Yesterg’uh. Yellow Submarg’uh. 🙂 –Paul


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