In this post, let’s answer this question:
“Who is the greatest man in the world?”
Here, we jotted down five prominent men as featured in 100 Most Influential Persons in History, a controversial book by Michael Hart.
This list could help you see what makes these men so great. You can refer to them as inspirational figures that can help you accomplish greatness, too.
Why does knowing who is the greatest man in the world matter?
Knowing who is the greatest man in the world matters because:
- It can help you make the world a better place – Great men are great because they make a difference. Their personalities empower you to take control and find solutions.
- It can encourage you to be brave – Great men show bravery. They’re not afraid to set an unconventional path, even if they’re the first ones to make it happen.
- It can awaken you to powerful acts – Great men are great because their actions carry weight. They don’t invest time and energy in useless pursuits.
And as mentioned earlier, knowing what makes a man great can help you, too. You can take inspiration from them — their behavior and responses to events. And you can use it as motivation to be just as great — if not better.
Five of the greatest men in the world
Here, we’ll round up five of the greatest men in the world. We’ll discuss what makes them great and their place on Michael Hart’s list.
1. Prophet Muhammad (Prophet of Islam)
From 570 to 632 A.D., the Prophet Muhammad lived a significant life. He was an exemplary leader. And he showed military skill and strength can blend with compassion.
He made notable contributions to the following fields:
- Religion – He founded Islam and introduced the teachings of Quran to people. As a result, he inspired these people to show confidence and stand up for their rights.
- Nationalism – He resolved the hostile treatment of his followers. Together with his followers, he migrated to a city and succeeded as he united various tribes.
- International politics – He went for peace talks and negotiated a treaty with Meccan tribes.
And among his notable contributions, his role of uniting Arabia is an act of incomparable greatness. On Michael Hart’s list, he is number one.
2. George Washington (Leader of US Forces & 1st US President)
For many people who would ask, “Who is the greatest man in the world?”, George Washington’s name often comes up. And it’s no surprise, considering this major figure during the American Revolution is a symbol of greatness. Even after his passing in 1799, his legacy lives on and history books are fond of mentioning him.
Top reasons he’s so great:
- Professionalism and friendliness – He was a smart man who never hesitated to make friends, even with foreign people. When he served in Virginia, he campaigned together with the British army.
- Powerful and noble writings – With Alexander Hamilton by his side, he authored thought-provoking pieces. Examples are Rules of Civility and The Farewell Address.
- Military expertise combined with wit – He knew when to retreat and when to attack in combat. And he led revolutionaries to victory in the War for Independence.
George Washington was also honorable and would always follow up on his people, even after he retired from government. And because of his character, he appears as the 26th influential person on Michael Hart’s list.
3. Albert Einstein (German scientist and independent thinker)
Albert Einstein is a celebrated scientist in the 20th century. He’s famous for his discovery of the Theory of Relativity. And he paved the way for a branch of physics.
Here are other reasons his greatness is worth celebrating:
- Free thinking philosophy – He was a genius. And he spoke with thoroughness and eloquence on a range of important humanitarian issues.
- Flexible adviser – He advised Franklin Roosevelt about the power of nuclear physics. But later on, he advised against it.
- Relentless determination – Although his educators thought of him as dim-witted, he never doubted his ability to learn. And so, he ventured into independent learning and taught himself math.
Another fascinating thing about Albert Einstein is his ambitious spirit. On his own, he made significant scientific discoveries, published prominent works, and won the Nobel Prize in Physics (1921). With all that he is, you could see why Michael Hart considers him the 10th influential person.
4. Voltaire (Powerful French writer)
Throughout his lifetime (1694-1778), Voltaire would always stay firm in his beliefs. As a prolific writer, he used his talent to voice out his wisdom. And he inspired his readers to do the same.
Here’s a list of why he’s great:
- Wit and satire – In a satirical fashion, he wrote about the abuse of power within Brandenburg (Germany).
- Contribution to European Enlightenment – He put his fluency in major European languages to good use. Through his writing, he tried reforming the French Judicial System.
- Fearless nature – He was a risk-taker and tested the strictness of censorship laws. As he would see fit, he would question the establishment of laws that made zero sense to him.
Voltaire showed no hesitation in letting others influence his radical thoughts. Until his death, he remained good friends with Isaac Newton, Adam Smith, and other insightful thinkers. And the fact he is a perpetual learner is why he belongs on Michael Hart’s list (74th).
5. The Wright brothers (Passionate inventors)
The Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, created the airplane. Come December 17, 1903, they made history by achieving the first-ever flight.
Here are the reasons the Wright brothers make influential people:
- Enthusiasm for marvel – The brothers, especially Orville, had a penchant for creating things. In 1889, they built a printing press that published daily newspapers.
- The power of positivity – Wilbur sank into depression after sustaining an injury. But instead of going down for good, he adopted a positive attitude and focused on life’s bright side.
- Openness for opportunities – The brothers capitalized on the safety bicycle boom in 1892. They launched a bicycle shop and earned commercial success.
Another admirable quality in Wilbur and Orville Wright is their fiery passion for the dream of taking flight. From a basic airplane, they leaned towards every possibility for improvement. And this is why Michael Hart thinks they’re the 28th most influential people.
Related: What Makes Someone Inspiring?
Who is the greatest man in the world for you?
Wondering why we brought up five influential people, as opposed to one? That’s because greatness is subjective.
The person you consider the greatest man in the world is up to you. They could be on the list. Or they could be a human being that only you know.
They could be your mentor, family members, or friends. They could even be someone you look up to but don’t know personally. And technically, they don’t even have to be a man — and they could be a woman instead.
You can find out who you consider is the greatest man in the world by thinking about the things that make your heart happy when you picture a person. If what makes you admire a person is someone who shows boldness, determination, and resilience, then name them as the greatest man in the world.