The 100 (book)

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In 1978, 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. It is important to note that Dr. Hart is not ranking the greatest people. His criterion is influence.

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, 17th Earl of Oxford for William Shakespeare. Hart also substituted Niels Bohr and Henri Becquerel with Ernest Rutherford, thus correcting an error in the first edition.

Rank Name Influence
1 Muhammad founder of Islam, conqueror of Arabia
2 Isaac Newton physicist, theory of universal gravitation, laws of motion, major developments in mathematics, optics
3 Jesus founder of Christianity
4 Buddha founder of Buddhism
5 Confucius founder of Confucianism
6 St. Paul proselytizer of Christianity
7 Cai Lun inventor of paper
8 Johann Gutenberg developed movable type and made great advances in printing
9 Christopher Columbus explorer, led Europe to Americas
10 Albert Einstein physicist, relativity, Einsteinian physics
11 Louis Pasteur scientist, pasteurization
12 Galileo Galilei astronomer, accurately described heliocentric solar system, led way to Newton's work
13 Aristotle influential Greek philosopher
14 Euclid mathematician, Euclidean geometry, author of a very influential study book
15 Moses major prophet of Judaism
16 Charles Darwin biologist, described evolution
17 Qin Shi Huang emperor who united China
18 Augustus Caesar Roman ruler
19 Nicolaus Copernicus astronomer, taught heliocentricity
20 Antoine Laurent Lavoisier father of modern chemistry, philosopher, economist
21 Constantine the Great Roman emperor who made Christianity the state religion
22 James Watt developed steam engine
23 Michael Faraday physicist, chemist, discovery of Electromagnetic induction
24 James Clerk Maxwell physicist, electromagnetic spectrum
25 Martin Luther founder of Protestantism and Lutheranism
26 George Washington first president of United States, general
27 Karl Marx founder of Communism
28 Orville and Wilbur Wright inventors of the airplane
29 Genghis Khan Mongol conqueror
30 Adam Smith economist, expositor of capitalism
31 Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford Possibly wrote works attributed to William Shakespeare
32 John Dalton chemist, physicist, atomic theory, law of partial pressures (Dalton's law)
33 Alexander the Great conqueror
34 Napoleon Bonaparte French conqueror
35 Thomas Edison inventor of light bulb, phonograph, etc.
36 Antony van Leeuwenhoek microscopes, studied microscopic life
37 William T.G. Morton pioneer in anesthesiology
38 Guglielmo Marconi inventor of radio
39 Adolf Hitler conqueror, led Axis Powers in WWII
40 Plato founder of Platonism
41 Oliver Cromwell English political and military leader
42 Alexander Graham Bell inventor of telephone
43 Alexander Fleming penicillin, advances in bacteriology, immunology and chemotherapy
44 John Locke philosopher and liberal theologian
45 Ludwig van Beethoven composer
46 Werner Heisenberg Codified the uncertainty principle
47 Louis Daguerre an inventor/pioneer of photography
48 Simon Bolivar National hero of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
49 René Descartes Rationalist philosopher and mathematician
50 Michelangelo painter, sculptor, architect
51 Pope Urban II called for First Crusade
52 Umar ibn al-Khattab Second Caliph, expanded Muslim empire
53 Ashoka king of India who converted to and spread Buddhism
54 St. Augustine Early Christian theologian
55 William Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood
56 The Lord Rutherford of Nelson physicist, pioneer of Particle physics
57 John Calvin Protestant reformer, founder of Calvinism
58 Gregor Mendel Mendelian genetics
59 Max Planck physicist, thermodynamics
60 Joseph Lister principal discoverer of antiseptics which greatly reduced surgical mortality
61 Nikolaus August Otto built first four-stroke internal combustion engine
62 Francisco Pizarro Spanish conqueror in South America, brought down Tahuantinsuyu (Inca empire).
63 Hernando Cortes conquered Mexico for Spain
64 Thomas Jefferson 3rd president of United States, central author of the Declaration of Independence
65 Isabella of Castile united Spain, patron of Cristopher Colombus
66 Joseph Stalin revolutionary and ruler of the USSR
67 Julius Caesar Roman general and politician
68 William the Conqueror laid foundation of modern England
69 Sigmund Freud founder of Freudian school of psychology, psychoanalysis
70 Edward Jenner discoverer of the vaccination for smallpox
71 Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered X-rays
72 Johann Sebastian Bach composer
73 Lao Tzu founder of Taoism
74 Voltaire writer and philosopher
75 Johannes Kepler astronomer, planetary motions
76 Enrico Fermi initiated the atomic age, father of atom bomb
77 Leonhard Euler physicist, mathematician, differential and integral calculus and algebra
78 Jean-Jacques Rousseau French deistic philosopher and author
79 Niccolò Machiavelli author of The Prince (influential political treatise)
80 Thomas Malthus economist, wrote Essay on the Principle of Population
81 John F. Kennedy president of United States, guiding force behind the US Space/Moon Program
82 Gregory Pincus endocrinologist, developed birth control pill
83 Mani founder of Manicheanism
84 Lenin Russian revolutionary and ruler
85 Emperor Wen of Sui China Unified China, founder of the Sui dynasty
86 Vasco da Gama navigator, discovered route from Europe to India
87 Cyrus the Great founder of Persian empire
88 Peter the Great forged Russia into a great European nation
89 Mao Zedong founder of Maoism, Chinese form of Communism
90 Francis Bacon philosopher, delineated inductive scientific method
91 Henry Ford developed modern assembly line
92 Mencius philosopher, founder of a school of Confucianism
93 Zoroaster founder of Zoroastrianism
94 Queen Elizabeth I British monarch, restored Church of England to power after Queen Mary
95 Mikhail Gorbachev Russian premier who was instrumental to the collapse of Communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe
96 Menes unified Upper and Lower Egypt
97 Charlemagne Holy Roman Empire created with his baptism in 800 AD
98 Homer epic poet
99 Justinian I Roman emperor, reconquered Mediterranean empire, made great advances in law
100 Mahavira founder of Jainism

Honorary mentions (Hart makes it clear that these are not the 101-110 on the list)
St. Thomas Aquinas influential early Christian philosopher
Archimedes father of experimental science
Charles Babbage mathematician and inventor of forerunner of computer
Cheops builder of Great Pyramids
Marie Curie physicist, radioactivity
Benjamin Franklin American politician and inventor
Mohandas Gandhi Indian leader and Hindu religious reformer
Abraham Lincoln 16th president of U.S., led during United States Civil War
Ferdinand Magellan navigator, named Pacific Ocean, first circumnavigation of globe
Leonardo da Vinci artist, inventor

Further reading

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