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The 100 (book)
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The 100 (book)

In 1986, Michael H. Hart published a book called The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. His book was a ranking of the 100 people who he felt had had the most impact on human history. His book was hotly debated and his book concept was widely copied.

The book was reprinted in 1992 with several noticeable revisions made to the original list of 100 people and their associated rankings. Chief among these revisions was the demotion of figures associated with Communism like Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and the introduction of Mikhail Gorbachev. This edition also substituted Edward de Vere for William Shakespeare.

RankNameInfluence
1Muhammadfounder of Islam, conqueror of Arabia
2Isaac Newtonphysicist, theory of universal gravitation, laws of motion
3Jesus Christ founder of Christianity
4Buddhafounder of Buddhism
5Confuciusfounder of Confucianism
6St._Paulproselytizer of Christianity
7Ts'ai Luninventor of paper
8Johann Gutenbergdeveloped movable type, printed Bibles
9Christopher Columbusexplorer, led Europe to Americas
10Albert Einsteinphysicist, relativity, Einsteinian physics
11Louis Pasteurscientist, pasteurization
12Galileo Galileiastronomer, accurately described heliocentric solar system
13Aristotleinfluential Greek philosopher
14Euclidmathematician, Euclidean geometry
15Mosesmajor prophet of Judaism
16Charles Darwinbiologist, described evolution
17Shih Huang TiChinese emperor
18Augustus CaesarRoman ruler
19Nicolaus Copernicusastronomer, taught heliocentricity
20Antoine Laurent Lavoisierfather of modern chemistry, philosopher, economist
21Constantine the GreatRoman emperor who made Christianity the state religion
22James Wattdeveloped steam engine
23Michael Faradayphysicist, chemist, discovery of Electromagnetic induction
24James Clerk Maxwellphysicist, electromagnetic spectrum
25Martin Lutherfounder of Protestantism and Lutheranism
26George Washingtonfirst president of United States
27Karl Marxfounder of Communism
28Orville and Wilbur Wrightinventors of the airplane
29Genghis KhanMongol conqueror
30Adam Smitheconomist, expositor of capitalism
31Edward de VerePossibly wrote works attributed to William Shakespeare
32John Daltonchemist, physicist, atomic theory, law of partial pressures (Dalton's law)
33Alexander the Greatconqueror
34Napoleon BonaparteFrench conqueror
35Thomas Edisoninventor of light bulb, phonograph, etc.
36Antony van Leeuwenhoekmicroscopes, studied microscopic life
37William T.G. Mortonpioneer in anesthesiology
38Guglielmo Marconiinventor of radio
39Adolf Hitlerconqueror, led Axis Powers in WWII
40Platofounder of Platonism
41Oliver CromwellBritish political and military leader
42Alexander Graham Bellinventor of telephone
43Alexander Flemingpenicillin, advances in bacteriology, immunology and chemotherapy
44John Lockephilosopher and liberal theologian
45Ludwig van Beethovencomposer
46Werner Heisenbergdiscovered the uncertainty principle
47Louis Daguerrean inventor/pioneer of photography
48Simon BolivarNational hero of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
49Rene DescartesRationalist philosopher and mathematician
50Michelangelopainter, sculptor, architect
51Pope Urban IIcalled for First Crusade
52Umar ibn al-KhattabSecond Caliph, expanded Muslim empire
53Asokaking of India who converted to and spread Buddhism
54St. AugustineEarly Christian theologian
55William Harveydiscovered the circulation of the blood
56Ernest Rutherfordphysicist, pioneer of Particle physics
57John CalvinProtestant reformer, founder of Calvinism
58Gregor MendelMendelian genetics
59Max Planckphysicist, thermodynamics
60Joseph Listerprincipal discoverer of antiseptics which greatly reduced surgical mortality
61Nikolaus August Ottobuilt first four-stroke internal combustion engine
62Francisco PizarroSpanish conqueror in South America, defeated Incas
63Hernando Cortesconquered Mexico for Spain
64Thomas Jefferson3rd president of United States
65Isabella of CastileSpanish ruler, patron of Cristopher Colombus
66Joseph Stalinrevolutionary and ruler of USSR
67Julius CaesarRoman emperor
68William the Conquerorlaid foundation of modern England
69Sigmund Freudfounder of Freudian school of psychology, psychoanalysis
70Edward Jennerdiscoverer of the vaccination for smallpox
71Wilhelm Conrad Roentgendiscovered X-rays
72Johann Sebastian Bachcomposer
73Lao Tzufounder of Taoism
74Voltairewriter and philosopher
75Johannes Keplerastronomer, planetary motions
76Enrico Fermiinitiated the atomic age, father of atom bomb
77Leonhard Eulerphysicist, mathematician, differential and integral calculus and algebra
78Jean-Jacques RousseauFrench deistic philosopher and author
79Nicolo Machiavelliwrote The Prince (influential political treatise)
80Thomas Malthuseconomist, wrote Essay on the Principle of Population
81John F. Kennedypresident of United States, guiding force behind the US Space/Moon Program
82Gregory Pincusendocrinologist, developed birth control pill
83Manifounder of Manicheanism
84LeninRussian revolutionary and ruler
85Emperor Wen of Sui ChinaUnified China, founder of the Sui dynasty
86Vasco da Gamanavigator, discovered route from Europe to India
87Cyrus the Greatfounder of Persian empire
88Peter the Greatforged Russia into a great European nation
89Mao Zedongfounder of Maoism, Chinese form of Communism
90Francis Baconphilosopher, delineated inductive scientific method
91Henry Forddeveloped modern assembly line
92Menciusphilosopher, founder of a school of Confucianism
93Zoroasterfounder of Zoroastrianism
94Queen Elizabeth IBritish monarch, restored Church of England to power after Queen Mary
95Mikhail GorbachevRussian premier who helped end Communism in USSR and Eastern Europe
96Menesunified Upper and Lower Egypt
97CharlemagneHoly Roman Empire created with his baptism in 800 AD
98Homerepic poet
99Justinian IRoman emperor, reconquered Mediterranean empire
100Mahavirafounder of Jainism

Runners-Up
St. Thomas Aquinasinfluential early Christian philosopher
Archimedesfather of experimental science
Charles Babbagemathematician and inventor of forerunner of computer
Cheopsbuilder of Great Pyramids
Marie Curiephysicist, radioactivity
Benjamin FranklinAmerican politician and inventor
Mohandas GandhiIndian leader and Hindu religious reformer
Abraham Lincoln16th president of U.S., led during United States Civil War
Ferdinand Magellannavigator, named Pacific Ocean, first circumnavigation of globe
Leonardo da Vinciartist, inventor

Further reading