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Odd Top 100 Influential List of Historic People


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I just bought a book entitled Who's Bigger?, which aims to make a more authentic date-driven way to calculate the top 100 most significant people. I think their list is worth discussing about. Some really strange placements and some obvious flaws for sure. Nevertheless, interesting. 

The 100 Most Significant Figures

  1. Jesus
  2. Napoleon
  3. Muhammad
  4. William Shakespeare
  5. Abraham Lincoln
  6. George Washington
  7. Adolf Hitler
  8. Aristotle
  9. Alexander the Great
  10. Thomas Jefferson
  11. King Henry VIII
  12. Charles Darwin
  13. Queen Elizabeth I
  14. Karl Marx
  15. Julius Caesar
  16. Queen Victoria
  17. Martin Luther
  18. Joseph Stalin
  19. Albert Einstein
  20. Christopher Columbus
  21. Isaac Newton
  22. Charlemagne
  23. Theodore Roosevelt
  24. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  25. Plato
  26. King Louis XIV
  27. Ludwig van Beethoven
  28. Ulysses S. Grant
  29. Leonardo da Vinci
  30. Emperor Augustus
  31. Carl Linnaeus
  32. Ronald Reagan
  33. Charles Dickens
  34. Saint Paul
  35. Benjamin Franklin
  36. George W. Bush
  37. Winston Churchill
  38. Genghis Khan
  39. King Charles I
  40. Thomas Edison
  41. King James I
  42. Friedrich Nietzsche
  43. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  44. Sigmund Freud
  45. Alexander Hamilton
  46. Mohandas Gandhi
  47. Woodrow Wilson
  48. Johann Sebastian Bach
  49. Galileo
  50. Oliver Cromwell
  51. James Madison
  52. Buddha
  53. Mark Twain
  54. Edgar Allan Poe
  55. Joseph Smith
  56. Adam Smith
  57. King David
  58. King George III
  59. Immanuel Kant
  60. James Cook
  61. John Adams
  62. Richard Wagner
  63. Pyotr Tchaikovsky
  64. Voltaire
  65. Saint Peter
  66. Andrew Jackson
  67. Emperor Constantine the Great
  68. Socrates
  69. Elvis Presley
  70. William the Conqueror
  71. John F. Kennedy
  72. Augustine of Hippo
  73. Vincent Van Gogh
  74. Nicolaus Copernicus
  75. Vladimir Lenin
  76. Robert E. Lee
  77. Oscar Wilde
  78. King Charles II
  79. Cicero
  80. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  81. Francis Bacon
  82. Richard Nixon
  83. Louis XVI
  84. Charles V
  85. King Arthur
  86. Michelangelo
  87. Philip II
  88. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  89. Ali
  90. Thomas Aquinas
  91. Pope John Paul II
  92. Rene Descartes
  93. Nikola Tesla
  94. Harry S Truman
  95. Joan of Arc
  96. Dante Alighieri
  97. Otto von Bismarck
  98. Grover Cleveland
  99. John Calvin
  100. John Locke
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My primary warning sign on this list is that it is almost too US-UK centric, although they may argue that these are the most significant countries for people living right now, perhaps. 

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40 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

100 most significant people for contemporary European-derived, English-speaking civilization? Sure - could do worse.

 

38 minutes ago, admin_270 said:

Alexander the Great probably would be p.o.'ed that he's only 9th. 😂

Yeah, on both counts. 

The book's argument for their ranking is a little all over the place. It seems to weigh fame, individual accomplishment, contemporary name recognition, breadth of influence all together. The later two scew the results, since a leader today has more global influence than in the past and more people are aware of their contemporaries than are aware of those long since dead. For instance, Genghis Khan make have killed 2% of the world population, but people in Europe (for the most part), New World, Africa, Pacific, etc., had no idea he existed until after he was dead. Wheras, George W Bush waged wars that engulfed a portion of Asia (Middle East and Central Asia), and indirectly led to revolutions in Northern Africa and the Middle East and this was broadcast worldwide. 

Obama is listed somewhere like 113, but this was published in 2013; therefore written in 2012. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are around 500. Wrestler Triple H is 1,600, while a ton of famous scientists and inventors are like 6,000, including the guy that invented musical notation--Guido d'Arezzo

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1 hour ago, vcczar said:

My primary warning sign on this list is that it is almost too US-UK centric, although they may argue that these are the most significant countries for people living right now, perhaps. 

Qin Shi Huangdi should definitely be in the top 100...

In fact, I don't see any Chinese figure there, not even Confucius or Sun Tzu. :S

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4 minutes ago, Patine said:

Qin Shi Huangdi should definitely be in the top 100...

In fact, I don't see any Chinese figure there, not even Confucius or Sun Tzu. :S

And Hammurabi, who produced the written, publicly available, and consistently-enforced (within it's own context) code of laws (Hammurabi's Code), and the first abstract-based symbolic transferrable resource-and-wealth-representative token-based exchange system - basically, modern currency as we know it (the Old Babylonian shekel) in verified recorded history, isn't there either. Some really big gaps, there...

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42 minutes ago, Patine said:

Qin Shi Huangdi should definitely be in the top 100...

In fact, I don't see any Chinese figure there, not even Confucius or Sun Tzu. :S

 

35 minutes ago, Patine said:

And Hammurabi, who produced the written, publicly available, and consistently-enforced (within it's own context) code of laws (Hammurabi's Code), and the first abstract-based symbolic transferrable resource-and-wealth-representative token-based exchange system - basically, modern currency as we know it (the Old Babylonian shekel) in verified recorded history, isn't there either. Some really big gaps, there...

They have Hammurabi at 899, one space above Johnny Cash. 

Qin Shu Huangdi is 226, one space ahead of Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

Confucius is 134, one head of John Quincy Adams and two behind Queen Elizabeth II

Sun Tzu is 771, two ahead of Sarah Palin and four behind PT Barnum. 

Somehow PotatoWalrus made the list...Just kidding. 

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1 hour ago, admin_270 said:

Alexander the Great probably would be p.o.'ed that he's only 9th. 😂

At least he'd only have Aristotle in front of him if those born after him didn't appear on the list. Interestingly, Aristotle was his teacher. 

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20 minutes ago, vcczar said:

 

They have Hammurabi at 899, one space above Johnny Cash. 

Qin Shu Huangdi is 226, one space ahead of Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

Confucius is 134, one head of John Quincy Adams and two behind Queen Elizabeth II

Sun Tzu is 771, two ahead of Sarah Palin and four behind PT Barnum. 

Somehow PotatoWalrus made the list...Just kidding. 

Wow! Talk about distorted perceptions of history.

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2 minutes ago, Patine said:

Wow! Talk about distorted perceptions of history.

Yeah, and the algorithm was created by two US university professors, along with a bunch of student interns at Stonybrook University. It was primarily created using Google searches, google mentions, Wikipedia searches, length of wikipedia entries, frequency of wikipedia entries being updated, etc. 

It doesn't seem to express anything about their weakness in their results. It talks about other 100 lists, like the well-known Michael Hart list, but it just attempts to claim that their list is more authentic. You know, Elvis Pressley being more signiticant than Confucius. 

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27 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Yeah, and the algorithm was created by two US university professors, along with a bunch of student interns at Stonybrook University. It was primarily created using Google searches, google mentions, Wikipedia searches, length of wikipedia entries, frequency of wikipedia entries being updated, etc. 

It doesn't seem to express anything about their weakness in their results. It talks about other 100 lists, like the well-known Michael Hart list, but it just attempts to claim that their list is more authentic. You know, Elvis Pressley being more signiticant than Confucius. 

Because Google and Wikipedia are the greatest fonts of academic wisdom ever created, of course. :S

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9 minutes ago, Patine said:

Because Google and Wikipedia are the greatest fonts of academic wisdom ever created, of course. :S

Yeah, it's a much more populist influence list. 

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3 minutes ago, Patine said:

Sorry, whose this guy?

The King of Kings, The Game, The Cerebal Assassin, 14 time World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H. He's also going to likely take over WWE with his wife Stephanie McMahon once Vince McMahon retires or passes away. 

 

Vince's wife Linda served in the Trump administration and is now chairing a pac for his re-election

Edited by SilentLiberty
finished comment.
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3 minutes ago, SilentLiberty said:

The King of Kings, The Game, The Cerebal Assassin, 14 time World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H. He's also going to likely take over WWE with his wife Stephanie McMahon once Vince McMahon retires or passes away. 

 

Vince's wife Linda served in the Trump administration and is now chairing a pac for his re-election

Well, Hulk Hogan was going to be President, and Sargeant Slaughter, backed up by the Iron Sheik, was going to take over the world while American forces were bogged down in Iraq. Since these two pronouncements were made on WWE (or, formerly WWF), I didn't give them any more serious consideration than a Saturday Morning Cartoon villain. This guy is almost certainly much the same.

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10 minutes ago, Patine said:

Well, Hulk Hogan was going to be President, and Sargeant Slaughter, backed up by the Iron Sheik, was going to take over the world while American forces were bogged down in Iraq. Since these two pronouncements were made on WWE (or, formerly WWF), I didn't give them any more serious consideration than a Saturday Morning Cartoon villain. This guy is almost certainly much the same.

Hahahah I mean yeah for the most part. However Triple H has significant pull in the company so he's a tad bit not just a cartoon villain lol, his on screen career though yeah for sure he was a heel most of the time. 

 

Man Hogan, Slaughter, and Sheik haven't been a thing in ages. The times they are a changing.

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2 minutes ago, SilentLiberty said:

Hahahah I mean yeah for the most part. However Triple H has significant pull in the company so he's a tad bit not just a cartoon villain lol, his on screen career though yeah for sure he was a heel most of the time. 

 

Man Hogan, Slaughter, and Sheik haven't been a thing in ages. The times they are a changing.

They were the crowd I watched when I actually watched that stuff (mostly because my two brothers were watching it and I was waiting for a program that came afterwards). But that was back in the '80's and very '90's, when I still lived with my mother and siblings...

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Just now, Patine said:

They were the crowd I watched when I actually watched that stuff (mostly because my two brothers were watching it and I was waiting for a program that came afterwards). But that was back in the '80's and very '90's, when I still lived with my mother and siblings...

I feel it. I haven't actually sat and watched anything in a few years but I watched in the early 2000's to about 2012ish. I do read about it from time to time though and I will watch stuff that goes main stream. Life. 

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3 minutes ago, SilentLiberty said:

I feel it. I haven't actually sat and watched anything in a few years but I watched in the early 2000's to about 2012ish. I do read about it from time to time though and I will watch stuff that goes main stream. Life. 

I don't own a television, and haven't for over a decade.

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3 minutes ago, SilentLiberty said:

I remember you saying that, doesn't mean you can't watch things on wifi though! 

I have a Netflix account, but it's currently inactive due to being empty of pre-paid funds or subscription. That could be changed quite easily by buying a pre-paid card (as I don't have the plastic chains of slavery one puts on themselves).

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As with previous lists, let's see how many have actually popped up on my radar as a Public School educated American who specialized in a career field that didn't require knowing about almost any of these people.  My half-joking theory is that if you somehow break through my wall of ignorance, you must be important!  ;c)

Things I know about...

The 100 Most Significant Figures

  1. Jesus - Son of God, virgin birth, inspired Christianity, was Jewish, carpenter, friends with fishermen, walked on water, water into wine, served a bajillion people with a loaf of bread and some fish, Crucifixion, rose from the dead.  (Not that I necessarily believe all these things, but he's certainly entered my radar as an alleged person of note, as I was raised Catholic).
     
  2. Napoleon - French, military, had a funny hat, was short.  Roughly late 1700's, early 1800's.  Mostly a joke now, but was Emperor in his time.  Ended up on an island?
     
  3. Muhammad - Inspired the Muslim faith, I think.  Divisions about whether he was an actual angel type figure or just an inspiring person is a key part of the rift between the various Muslim sects.  I think.  I used to know more about this when I was getting ready to deploy to Iraq, but I've been back for more than 10 years now so it's become a foggy distant memory.  My wife, daughter, and I count a Muslim family on our street among our closest friends, but while we do discuss politics in cultural differences (husband was born in Egypt, wife in Lebanon, kids were born here), we don't particularly discuss religion.
     
  4. William Shakespeare - Celebrated playwright.  This is arguably more my field as I did major in theater before I sold out and went into corporate communications.  That said, my focus was on more modern storytelling.  I've read his most obvious hits such as Romeo & Juliet, but didn't dive past the surface.  I have actually been to the house where he grew up though, so I know it was Stratford-upon-Avon.  Wore a goofy collar.  One of my favorite plays, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, is a parody of Hamlet.  
     
  5. Abraham Lincoln - 16th President, Illinois, log cabin.  Wife Martha was a bit off.  Debates with Stephen Douglas.  First Republican President, 1861-1865.  Presided over the Civil War.  Emancipation Proclamation.  His final State of the Union speech contained challenge to "Care for him who shall have borne the battle," which is now the motto of the VA.  "Four score and seven years ago..."  Assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, while watching Our American Cousin with his wife and a General.  Lost at least one child before he was assassinated, and another shortly thereafter -- but ironically his only child to live into adulthood was saved from certain death by John Wilkes Booth's older brother, prior to the assassination, in one of my favorite insane coincidences of all time.  Grew a beard after becoming President because a young girl suggested it in a letter.  Wore a top hat, exceptionally tall.
     
  6. George Washington - First president, Virginian, wooden teeth, General.  Had no sons except for the children he adopted from his wife Martha's first marriage.  May have become sterile from an illness he was exposed to while taking his brother to the Caribbean.  Generally a good man with the best of intentions for our nation, but it cannot be ignored in modern day his treatment of Native Americans or the fact that he was a slave owner.  Crossed the Delaware on Christmas eve, though not standing in the boat as paintings suggest.  
     
  7. Adolf Hitler - Nazi, goofy mustache.  Mein Kampf.  Atrocities against the Jews, Holocaust, Concentration camps.  Wanted to recreate the German Empire after WWI, leading to WWII.  Inspiring speaker, apparently (I don't speak German so I can't really tell, but obviously people felt inspired).  Wanted to be a painter.  He and his new bride committed suicide in a bunker.  The go-to reference when you want to say someone is doing a bad thing.
     
  8. Aristotle - Philospher who I studied in college but promptly forgot everything about.  Greek.
     
  9. Alexander the Great - I want to say he was Greek but I also want to say he was a major figure in the expansion of the Roman empire.  Not actually sure.  Both, maybe?
     
  10. Thomas Jefferson - Third President, Virginian.  Tall.  Red head?  Wrote the Declaration of Independence, played the violin.  Married to Martha but also fathered children with his slave, Sally.  Designed Monticello.  A man of many talents.  Made the Louisiana Purchase even though it went against his beliefs.  Preferred an agrarian country, favored the French revolution.  Was also John Adams' VP.
     
  11. King Henry VIII - King of England.  Is he the one who kept killing his wives for giving him daughters instead of sons (even though gender actually comes from the father, not the mother)?
     
  12. Charles Darwin - Founder of the Theory of Evolution.  During a boat right down the west coast of Africa, I think?  Had a beard.  British?
     
  13. Queen Elizabeth I - Queen of England.  Her name was Elizabeth.  The first one!  (Is this the current Queen of England?  I think the current Queen's name might be Elizabeth, but I don't know if she is the first or not.)
     
  14. Karl Marx - Wrote the book on communism, though I'm blanking on the book's name.
     
  15. Julius Caesar - Roman Emperor.  "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears..."  Killed in a conspiracy.  "Et tu, Brute?"  Admittedly, everything I know about him comes from a Shakespeare play that I only vaguely remember.  Inspired (or maybe made?) the 12 month calendar we use today.  Also I think maybe C-section births are named after him?
     
  16. Queen Victoria - Queen of England in the 1800s.  The Victorian Era is named after her.
     
  17. Martin Luther - Religious reforms, though I don't know what they were.  I remember something about pinning declarations to doors, maybe?  I imagine Lutherans must be named after him, but I don't know what their beliefs specifically are.
     
  18. Joseph Stalin - Russian.  Was he over the USSR during WWII?
     
  19. Albert Einstein - E=MC(2)  Crazy hair, mustache.  Brilliant in ways that I don't understand, science is probably my weakest subject.  I want to say he was a physicist.  German, but came to America around WWII time.  I think.  
     
  20. Christopher Columbus - "Founded the new world", but not really, as it had already been found by Amerigo Vespucci and also Vikings and of course there were already people here when he found it regardless.  Columbus Day is named after him, though there's a movement to replace this with something like "Native American Day" to push back against his legacy due to various atrocities.  His ships were Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria.  Landed in the Caribbean multiple times, never actually stepped foot on the US mainland.
     
  21. Isaac Newton - Discovered gravity when an apple fell on his head, though I"ve got to imagine that's some kind of old wife's tale and that he's actually notable for much more than an apple in the science community.
     
  22. Charlemagne - Roman emperor?  I've heard the name, but don't know anything more than that half-guess.
     
  23. Theodore Roosevelt - Was a cowboy in the Dakotas, a Police Chief in New York.  Would walk around at night in a disguise (wearing a cape, actually, I think?) to catch bad guys during his Police Chief days.  Was he also rooting out corruption as a Port collector?  I might be mixing up that part with another President.  I believe he was named VP because corrupt people thought that would be the best way to get rid of him...but then he inherited the Presidency when McKinley died.  (Again, I might be mixing that up with another President).  Established National Parks, was a big game hunter.  Got shot, bullet lodged in the speech he had in his pocket, still finished the speech.  Promised to run for only one term, and then endorsed his protege Howard Taft -- but then felt Taft's Presidency was an embarrassment  and ran against Taft's re-nomination efforts.  Lost the nomination so he founded the Bull Moose Party, which played spoiler and caused Taft to lose to...Woodrow Wilson, maybe?
     
  24. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Music composer.  
     
  25. Plato - Philosopher?  Scientist?  Both?  Most of what I know about him comes from an Indiana Jones computer game, so probably mostly made up.
     
  26. King Louis XIV - French.  Was he a Capet?
     
  27. Ludwig van Beethoven - Music composer.  Beethoven's fifth.  Namesake of the dog in those Beethoven movies.
     
  28. Ulysses S. Grant - 18th President after Lincoln & Johnson.  Failed at everything else he did in life, but found his calling while serving in the Civil War.  Became General and was ultimately responsible for our successful victory in that war.  Unfortunately, his Presidency was less successful as he relied heavily on friends who were largely corrupt.
     
  29. Leonardo da Vinci - Ninja turtle!  Haha.  No, he was an artist.  Drew that picture of a man in various poses.  Sometimes appears in works of historical fiction as an inventor with flying machines or turning mundane objects into gold, but I don't know whether that's based on anything real about his life or interests.
     
  30. Emperor Augustus - I have never heard of this person in my entire life.
     
  31. Carl Linnaeus - Does not exist.
     
  32. Ronald Reagan - Actor.  Started in radio as a sports announcer.  Had a technical difficulty during one sports game he was announcing remotely via radio, where he stopped receiving updates on the game but had to keep announcing it as if he was there so he made up stuff for a long time until the updates started coming in again.  Played "The Gipper" in a movie, creating the line "Win one for the Gipper" that was referenced again in his political career.  Presided over the actor's union during the Red Scare  Met one of his wives because she was an actress who was born with the same name as a more famous actress, so he was advising her to change hers.  (Can't remember if that was his first wife, or Nancy).  Got a job as a GE spokesman, became really good at crafting his message for each audience of factory workers.  Became Governor of California, ran against President Ford for the nomination and narrowly lost, but was nominated the following election in 1980.  HW Bush was his main opponent and then VP.  "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."  Space race, collapse of the soviet union.  Iran Contra scandal.  Suffered from Alzheimers.  Was our oldest President before Trump.  Died while I was in boot camp in 2004.
     
  33. Charles Dickens - British author.  A christmas carol, among others.
     
  34. Saint Paul - No idea.
     
  35. Benjamin Franklin - Writer, inventor, farmer?, founding father.  Had gout.  Wanted the Turkey to be our national bird.  Pennsylvanian.  Was originally in favor of slavery, but had become a strong abolitionist prior to his death shortly after Washington became President. Invented bifocals, some kind of stove, used a key on a kite to experiment with electricity.  

    Ok, this was fun at first but now I'm bored.  Haha.  I'll leave it there.
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