One-Minute Book Reviews

March 24, 2007

The Top Five ‘Most Influential People Who Never Lived’ in Order

Filed under: History,Nonfiction — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 10:25 am

Postscript to yesterday’s review …

I realized after posting the March 23 review of The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived (Harper, 2006) that you might like to see the authors’ list of the top five in order. Here they are:

1. The Marlboro Man

2. Big Brother

3. King Arthur

4. Santa Claus (St. Nick)

5. Hamlet

You can find the full list of on page 9 of the book and read more about the rankings by scrolling down to the full review. Who would be on your list?

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. Where’s God? (just kidding)

    Comment by heehler — March 24, 2007 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

  2. Not a bad question, though, because it gives me a chance to say something about the book I left out of the review: the authors ruled out all religious figures. I’m going to respond soon to your comment about Edith Wharton — whose writings on France I love — as soon as I check on what’s still in print …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 24, 2007 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  3. Ruled out all religious figures, eh? Then why is Santa on the list?

    And seriously…the Marlboro Man at number one?

    For those misfit years in middle and high school, Holden Caufield was always very influential on the ones who read Catcher in the Rye.

    And who says Big Brother doesn’t exist?

    Comment by David Schleicher — March 29, 2007 @ 11:51 am | Reply

  4. You could make a great case that Holden Caulfield should have been on the list. The authors publish a list of near-misses at the end of “The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived,” and Holden is No. 7, right between Dirty Harry (No. 6) and Homer Simpson (No. 8).

    The authors’ reasoning behind making the Marlboro Man No. 1 seems to be that the most people died or seriously damaged their health because of him (so he had the greatest literal, if not cultural, influence). It seems King Kong didn’t inspire people to put on gorilla suits and run up to the top of the Empire State building with kidnapped women the way the Marlobo Man influenced them to light up. But I agree that you could argue with that choice as much as with any others on the list ; part of the fun of the book is that the list is so arbitrary …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 29, 2007 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

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