A Brief History
On April 14, 1775, Benjamin Franklin, inventor, statesman, scientist, musician, publisher and Most Interesting Man in the World co-founded the first Abolitionist society in what would soon become the United States, an event we used to name him as The Most Interesting Man in the World. The task for us today is to nominate several men for the current title of Most Interesting Man in the World, and we seek your input as to which person on this list best fits that description, or for you to nominate someone else that we somehow neglected to include. (We will address women at another date, so do not get all irate and stuff!) There is no significance to the order listed, but we are including only those people alive as of the time of this article (2018).
1. Donald Trump, President of the United States.
You do not have to like this guy or his policies to admit Donald Trump is interesting and has led an interesting life. He has married 3 different ravishingly beautiful women, fathered 3 sons and 2 daughters, has owned the Miss Universe beauty contest, has been a television star, appeared in television commercials. His name is famously plastered on his large buildings and private jet, and his hairdo is nearly as famous as the man himself! He has business interests all over the world, and regularly travels the globe. Tawdry though it may be, Trump’s dalliance with a porn star and a Playboy model make for news interesting enough to occupy a large part of the media circus that surrounds him. Millions of people wait like vultures for his next Tweet, and even before becoming President he rubbed shoulders with the richest and most powerful people in the world.
2. Elon Musk, CE0 of Tesla and SpaceX.
Born in South Africa and a self-taught computer programmer by age 12, Musk went to Canada (a Canadian citizen by virtue of his mother being Canadian) at the age of 17 to attend college. Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania and received degrees in business (from the Wharton School), and Physics, both disciplines he has put to good use. Musk went about founding computer related business (including PayPal) and made a fortune (currently worth around $20 billion) before founding SpaceX as both a founder and a designer of space hardware. The formation of Tesla, Inc. followed, manufacturing high performance electric cars and solar panels. Musk also founded other innovative companies and is pioneering an electrically driven airplane! He is an activist to reduce Global Warming and has founded a non-profit to explore the advancement of artificial intelligence. In spite of his South African-Canadian heritage, Musk is in his own words “nauseatingly pro-American.” Musk has been married twice and has 6 children.
3. LeBron James, Basketball virtuoso, actor, philanthropist.
We believe LeBron is the best all around basketball player in history, and probably could have been a highly successful pro football player had he chosen to do so. With 3 NBA Championships and 3 NBA Championship MVP titles to go with them, James has also earned 4 NBA MVP awards as well. Aside from numerous other athletic accolades, James was the 2017 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award Winner, a nod to his community work and philanthropy. Throughout his extremely public life since he was still in high school, LeBron has maintained a clean record and been a responsible citizen, a great example for kids. He has hosted Saturday Night Live on television and starred in a Hollywood movie as well as numerous television commercials. His charity, The LeBron James Family Foundation is the focus of his philanthropy, and his personal fortune is around $400 million. Already over 30,000 career points, barring catastrophic injury James will become the all time NBA leading scorer and will add many records to those he already holds. He is married with 3 children, and at only 33 years old has plenty of time to add more interesting things to his legacy.
4. Vladimir Putin, Dictator of Russia.
Acting as either Prime Minister or President of Russia since 1999, Putin is the de facto dictator of the second most powerful nuclear power on Earth. Putin graduated college in 1975 and began a 16 year career in the dreaded KGB, the Russian spy and secret police agency rolled into one. When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Putin turned from the spy game to politics, an arena where he seems to have put his spy and dirty tricks knowledge to prolific use. Putin has built a cult of personality around himself in the typical manner of dictators, with his image appearing all over Russia, often in outdoors settings, sometimes shirtless. Reigning over a kleptocracy in Russia run by oligarchs, he himself has amassed an immense fortune, perhaps as high as $200 billion, but no one in the West can know for sure. Without the constraints that an American president has, Putin is arguably the most powerful person on Earth. He is 65 years old and is divorced with 2 children.
5. Pope Francis, Religious Leader.
The first Catholic Pope from the Jesuit Order, Francis comes from a line of thinkers and scholars. Not only the first Jesuit Pope, Francis is the first “Pope Francis” and the first Pope from both the Americas and from South of the Equator (Argentina). A priest since 1969, Francis is now 81 years old, and has a less formal understanding of the Church and Papacy than his predecessors. His strong suits are concern for the Poor and interfaith dialog. His acceptance of all people includes homosexuals, a digression from previous pontiffs. Francis has eschewed some of the trappings of his office, taking a Silver instead of a Gold ring and wearing simpler clothing than the usually more ornate Pope-wear. His humility and aestheticism are profound, to the point of sometimes taking a bus instead of riding in the papal car! A further token of his humility was in the traditional foot-washing performed by the Pope, Francis washed the feet of 12 juvenile criminal prisoners, 2 of which were female (a papal first) and one of which was a Muslim. Inspite of his refreshingly welcoming nature, Francis does stand by Catholic doctrine about marriage, clerical celibacy and anti-abortion views, though he has talked about the need for birth control and population control (largely through abstinence rather than contraception). Francis, like his namesake, is concerned for the environment and therefore an advocate of moderating climate change. A political moderate, Francis does not embrace Marxism or pure Capitalism, and has helped the US and Cuba to restore relations. His admission of divorced and remarried Catholics back into the good graces of the Church has disappointed conservative theologians. He is a fan of soccer, music and dancing and first heard the call to the priesthood at the age of 22. Taking his advanced studies to Europe, Francis learned English while in Ireland and studied in Germany under a Ukrainian Greek Catholic teacher. His namesake as Pope is in memory of St. Francis of Assisi, an acknowledgment of the poor and the need to care for them. As the spiritual leader of over a billion Catholics, Pope Francis is believed by some to be the most powerful person on the planet.
6. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO.
Move over Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos is now considered the richest man on Earth (except maybe for Vladimir Putin). So rich is Bezos, that his creation, Amazon, has earned the scorn of an apparently highly envious Donald Trump, who has slammed Amazon for allegedly taking advantage of the US Postal Service to provide low cost shipping. (Trumps comments have been proven to be wrong.) Born in New Mexico in 1964 and raised in Texas, Bezos studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton, giving him the background he needed to develop the world’s largest online shopping store. The far-sightedness of this entrepreneur, genius and philanthropist includes founding a space exploration company called Blue Origin with an eye toward commercial space travel. He is married with 4 children (one adopted from China), and resides in Washington State. Oh, and he appeared in the 2016 Hollywood movie, Star Trek Beyond. Of course, to be truly interesting, a rich person must also be a philanthropist, and Bezos certainly partakes in that activity as well. He has donated untold millions of dollars to charities and public projects, and has even taken out a call for philanthropic ideas/suggestions on the Internet! Currently the owner of the Washington Post newspaper, he supports the rights of reporters and journalists. He has donated $33 million to a scholarship fund for the children of undocumented immigrants in the US.
7. Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder.
The reason Jeff Bezos was able to pass Bill Gates as the richest man on Earth is because Gates has given an incredible amount of his wealth to various charitable pursuits. How much is “incredible?” By 2007 he and his wife had already given $28 Billion to charity and has made it known that eventually he wants to donate about 98% of his wealth! He has teamed with Warren Buffett to encourage all fellow billionaires to donate at least half their wealth to charitable causes. Married since 1994 with 3 kids, Gates is best known as the founder of Microsoft and as a college drop-out, having left Harvard after 2 years. A computer genius, Gates scored 1590 out of a possible 1600 on his SAT test, and used his genius to make a fortune in the computer programming business, employing what has been criticized as ruthless business practices to get ahead. Gates had partnered with IBM to write the software for their PC computer projects, a synergistic relationship that made both sides a lot of money. Unfortunately, IBM and Gates eventually split over diverging interests. In 1999, through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he donated $1.6 Billion to the United Negro College Fund in the form of The Gates Millennium Scholar Program, a program that benefits 10,000 scholars per year!
8. Jonathan Goldsmith, Former Dos Equis Ad Icon.
Not only is this guy not Mexican, he is not even any sort of Spanish! In fact, the former spokesman pitching Dos Equis beer in television commercials is American and Jewish. Born in New York, New York in 1938 (he is now 79 years old), this graduate of Boston University (1958) has worked as an actor making over 350 television appearances, but has had to supplement his acting income in the past by working odd jobs such as garbage man! He has also appeared in 25 movies and lived for many years on a sailboat in Marina del Rey, though he has lived in Vermont since 2011. Goldsmith writes for an online web site called True-Ink and has been active in charitable organizations for victims of land mines and animal welfare, as well as for abused children and victims of sex-trafficking. He is married and has one son.
9. Richard Branson, Business Magnate, Philanthropist, founder of Virgin Group.
Branson’s Virgin Group controls more than 400 companies, including Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Virgin Records, and Virgin Galactic (a spaceflight company). Suffering from dyslexia, Branson was told he would end up “in prison or become a millionaire” by his headmaster. He did not attend college but went into the business world as an entrepreneur with the support of his parents, at first in the record business and publishing a music related magazine. His business ventures have earned him a net worth of over $5 billion, though it is the nature of his other endeavors that makes him so interesting. His sponsorship of the Virgin Earth Challenge to encourage technological advances and science has made him a major player on the environmental and technology stage. Branson has been involved in numerous world record attempts in a variety of fields, including ballooning, sailing and aviation, as well as offbeat things such as amphibious vehicles. Branson has appeared in numerous television shows and has made cameo appearances in several movies. Branson has authored books and articles, embarked on numerous charitable campaigns, and rubbed shoulders with many of the other most interesting people in the world.
10. Mystery Candidate (No, not the man in the picture. The man in the picture is The Riddler from the awesome television show Gotham that you need to watch!).
Do you think the candidate with the following credentials could possibly qualify for this list? How about being appointed to the both the United States Military Academy (West Point) and also the US Air Force Academy, and then serving in the US Marine Corps as an Infantry officer and then as an Intelligence officer, finally serving several years in the Marine Corps Reserve? Serving for 20 years as a police officer, and having worked as Santa Claus at May Company (mall department store) while at Cleveland State University (graduated with BA in 1979, a quarter early to boot!). Someone who has flown in at least 4 different kinds of helicopters for scores (if not hundreds) of flights, has flown in over 20 different types of airplanes (including a float plane on Canadian lakes), and got to actually pilot 4 of them (Cessna 150, T-33, T-37 and a glider), has para-sailed (over land, not water) many times, rappelled off cliffs, towers and helicopters, and been towed around by a helicopter on a SPIE rig and took a submarine ride. How about visiting at 37 of our states (including Hawaii, but not Alaska) and 3 Canadian provinces, along with Puerto Rico, St. Martins, the Virgin Islands, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, Italy, Spain (saw Snowflake, the albino gorilla), Egypt, Tunisia, Israel (and there went to all the famous holy places including the Dome of the Rock), Greece (all the famous places there), Turkey, Oman and Kenya? Throw in Sardinia, Ibiza, and Majorca for fun. He has been inside Cheyenne Mountain, the NORAD headquarters cave, and inside the CIA Headquarters at Langley. Talk about places visited, how about Disneyland and Disneyworld, Knott’s Berry Farm, Hershey Park, Kings Island, Cedar Point, Sea World, Hershey Park, 2 Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, Greenfield Village, Mt. Rushmore, Smithsonian Institution, Knobel’s, Waldameer, Kennywood, La Ronde, AND other amusement parks. Of course, having been to the desert in 120 degree temperature, visited Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth Cave and other natural attractions were interesting trips. Participated in Boy Scouts and attended Buckeye Boys State, member of the National Honor Society and Key Club. Going through the Suez Canal 4 times is kind of neat. Played little league baseball, softball as an adult, over 30 years old baseball as an adult, football at little league and high school level, track and field (elementary, Jr. Olympics, jr. high and high school), basketball, college intramural Rugby, Lacrosse, and wrestling. Passed 4 quarters of college calculus (and never used it or remember it today!), and fired scores of different firearms, including qualifying expert with the M-60 machine gun and M-9 pistol, as well as qualifying on the 60mm and 81mm mortar, 106mm recoilless rifle, M-16, M1911, Dragon anti-tank missile, LAAW anti-tank rocket, M203 grenade launcher, hand grenades, TNT, Dynamite, C-4, ammonium nitrate, and Det-Cord explosives (electric and non-electric ignition) and even got the chance to load and shoot M-60 tank main gun. How about outdoor activities? Taking deer with shotgun and crossbow, hunting Pheasants, Doves, rabbits and varmints? Completing Mountain Warfare training in the California wilderness, along with dozens of other military and police classes. Would saving a life with CPR be a qualifying factor? Being married for over 40 years, raising a son to be a high ranking police officer and another son to be a PhD college professor and author? How about becoming a Shellback by going through the age-old ceremony while crossing the Equator? (I doubt if any of the others listed here can match that.) Not so sure how “cool” it is but surviving 2 open heart surgeries is kind of interesting, including being life-flighted for the first one. This candidate also saw Presidents Kennedy and HW Bush in person, spoke to an Ohio governor and baseball legends Bob Feller and Herb Score, shook hands with Browns legend Lou “The Toe” Groza, as well as singer Harry Chapin. Would escorting a Congresswoman at a Washington event count? How about meeting 2 different Marine Corps Commandants, several other General Officers, the guy who blew up gangster Danny Greene and even a Bishop? Oh, and this candidate also has an IQ of 150, though you would never know it! An avid fisherman, this interesting person has caught scores of different kinds of fish, including 2 30 inch Walleyes, a 5.5 pound largemouth bass, a 36 inch King (Chinook) salmon, a 26 inch Steelhead, and some nifty saltwater specimens such as Great Barracuda, King Mackerel and Mahi Mahi.
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For more information, please see…
Hagy, Jessica. How to Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps). Workman Publishing Company, 2013.
Lee, George. Interesting People: Black American History Makers. McFarland, 2012.
Rank, Michael. The 31 Most Interesting People in History: Travelers, Spies, and Megalomanaics That Changed the World. Five Minute Books, 2014