The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History

The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History is a 1978 book by the American author Michael H. Hart. Published by his father's publishing house, it was his first book and was reprinted in 1992 with revisions. It is a ranking of the 100 people who, according to Hart, most influenced human history.[3][4][5][6] Unlike various other rankings at the time, Hart was not attempting to rank on "greatness" as a criterion, but rather whose actions most changed the course of human history.

The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History
Cover of the 1992 edition
AuthorMichael H. Hart
CountryUnited States
  • 1st Edition (1978)
  • 2nd Edition (1992)
  • Ranking
  • Biography
  • History
Published1978 (Hart Publishing company, New York)[1][2]
Media typePrint


The book consists of 100 entries as well as an appendix of Honorable Mentions. Each entry is a short biography of the person, followed by Hart's thoughts on how this person was influential and changed the course of human history. He gave additional credit for importance for people whose actions Hart felt were unusual, unlikely, or ahead of their time compared to a hypothesized course of history had this person not lived.

Founders and shapers of successful religions were among the most influential in Hart's view, as these shaped many people's lives quite strongly over a long period of time. The first person on Hart's list is the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[7][8] Hart asserted that Muhammad was "supremely successful" in both the religious and secular realms, being responsible for both the foundations of Islam as well as the Early Muslim conquests uniting the Arabian Peninsula and eventually a wider caliphate after his death. Hart also believed that Muhammad played an unusually singular and personal role in the development of Islam.[9][10] The development of Christianity, by contrast, has its influence split between Jesus's initial teachings and foundational work, and Paul the Apostle, who played a pivotal role in the early spread of Christianity as well as distinguishing its doctrines and practices from Judaism and the other Greek and Roman religions of the time period.[11] Gautama Buddha, Confucius, and Moses are all placed highly as well due to their role in establishing religions.

One of the most notable omissions was Abraham Lincoln, which Hart relegated to the "Honorary Mentions" in the appendix. Changes in the 1992 revision include the rankings of figures associated with Communism being lowered after the Revolutions of 1989, such as Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong, and the introduction of Mikhail Gorbachev. Hart took sides in the Shakespearean authorship issue and replaced William Shakespeare with Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford in the 1992 version. Hart also substituted Niels Bohr and Henri Becquerel with Ernest Rutherford. Henry Ford was promoted from the "Honorary Mentions" list, replacing Pablo Picasso. Finally, various rankings were re-ordered, although no one listed in the top ten changed their position.[3]

The book was first published in 1978 as imprint from "Hart Publishing Company".[1][2] According to the Calgary Herald, at least 60,000 copies were sold.[12] The book has since been translated into many languages.[13]

Hart's Top 10 (from the 1992 edition)

Rank Name Time frame Image Occupation
1 Muhammad c. 570–632   Spiritual & Political leader
2 Isaac Newton 1643–1727   Scientist
3 Jesus 4 BC–33 AD   Spiritual leader
4 Gautama Buddha 563–483 BC   Spiritual leader
5 Confucius 551–479 BC   Philosopher
6 Paul the Apostle 5–67 AD   Christian apostle
7 Cai Lun 50–121 AD   Inventor of paper
8 Johannes Gutenberg c. 1400–1468   Inventor of the printing press
9 Christopher Columbus 1451–1506   Explorer
10 Albert Einstein 1879–1955   Scientist


For placing Muhammad in first place of the list, the book received several controversial reviews from western critics,[25] but the book was widely welcomed and outburst with positive reviews in the Muslim world, and the book is often cited in the Muslim writers' book including Ayatollah Sayed Muhammad al-Shirazi, Ahmed Deedat etc.[26][27][28][29][30] In 1988, the former contemporary Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak honored Michael Hart for placing Muhammad in first place.[31] Steven Skiena and Charles Ward writes in their book Who's Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank that The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History "is probably the best known ranking of historic figures by influence."[32]


Hart wrote the 1999 follow-up A View from the Year 3000,[33] voiced in the perspective of a person from that future year and ranking the most influential people in history. Roughly half the entries are fictional people from 2000 to 3000, but the remainder are taken mostly from the 1992 ranking, with some sequence changes.[34][35]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Publisher: Hart Pub. Co". Open Library. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Michael Hart, eBook, Biography - search". Open Library. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b Editors of LIFE (2016). LIFE 100 People Who Changed the World. Time Inc. Books. ISBN 9781618934710.
  4. ^ Michael H. Hart The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. first published in 1978, reprinted with minor revisions 1992. ISBN 978-0-8065-1068-2
  5. ^ Interview with Michael H. Hart by Russell K. Neili, April 14, 2000. Swain, Carol M.; Nieli, Russell K. (24 March 2003). Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America. Cambridge University Press. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-521-81673-1 – via Google Books. I (like other white separatists) resent being called a white supremacist.
  6. ^ Newsweek. Newsweek, Incorporated. 28 August 1978. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  7. ^ Nduka, Otonti A.; Iheoma, E. O. (1983). New Perspectives in Moral Education. Evans Bros. p. 74. ISBN 9789781672279. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  8. ^ a b Alphonse Dougan, "Understanding Prophet Muhammad Beyond the Stereotypes", The Fountain, Issue 46 (April–June 2004).
  9. ^ Deedat, Ahmed (2001). Muhammad, The Greatest. Islamic Presentation Committee. ISBN 9781471604416.
  10. ^ Malik, Saeed (2009). A Perspective on the Signs of Al-Quran: Through the Prism of the Heart (2nd Edition October 2010 ed.). Booksurge. p. 112. ISBN 9781439239629. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  11. ^ White, James W. (2014). Brief Christian Histories: Getting a Sense of Our Long Story. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 216. ISBN 9781630873059. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  12. ^ McGoogan, Ken (1993-01-08). "What to do when your kid drives you crazy?". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on 2019-08-04. Retrieved 2019-08-04 – via
  13. ^ Petersen, Clarence (1987-11-01). "Roger's Version, by John Updike (Fawcett/Crest, $4.95)". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2019-08-04. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  14. ^ Yuan, Haiwang (2010). This is China: The First 5,000 Years. Berkshire Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 9781933782768. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  15. ^ Freedman, David Noel; McClymond, Michael J. (2001). The Rivers of Paradise: Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and Muhammad as Religious Founders. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 676. ISBN 9780802829573. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  16. ^ Benson, Garth; Glasberg, Ronald; Griffith, Bryant (1998). Perspectives on the Unity and Integration of Knowledge. P. Lang. p. 90. ISBN 9780820434872. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  17. ^ Publishing, Pearson Custom (2000). Reasoning and Writing. Pearson Custom Publishing. p. 26. ISBN 9780536615022.
  18. ^ Ultimate Reality and Meaning. Van Gorcum. 1994. p. 171.
  19. ^ Science Digest. Science Digest. 1978. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  20. ^ "Korea Now". Korea Herald. 32: 49. July 2003.
  21. ^ Senior Scholastic. Vol. 111. Scholastic Corporation. September 1978.
  22. ^ Books, Honor (2003). You Can Be a World Changer. David C. Cook. pp. 281, 284, 286. ISBN 9781562928070.
  23. ^ Books in Print. Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10. R. R. Bowker Company. 1997. p. 3601. ISBN 9780835239356.
  24. ^ Kosova, Hakan (2007). A Tribute to the Prophet Muhammad. Tughra Books. ISBN 9781597846028.
  25. ^ [8][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]
  26. ^ Ramadan, Hisham M. (2006). Understanding Islamic Law: From Classical to Contemporary. Rowman Altamira. ISBN 9780759114340.
  27. ^ Malik, Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam (1997). English Translation of the Meaning of Al-Qur'an: The Guidance for Mankind (English Only). The Institute of Islamic Knowledge. p. 21. ISBN 9780911119770. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  28. ^ de_paul_legislation. IslamKotob. p. 5. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  29. ^ Abbas, Syed Ghulam; Anis, Mir Babbar Ali (1983). The Immortal Poetry & Mir Anis: With the Versified Translation of a Marsia of Mir Anis. Majlis-e-Milli, Pakistan. p. XV. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  30. ^ American Book Trade Association; American Book Trade Union; Book Trade Association of Philadelphia; Publishers' Board of Trade (1992). Publishers Weekly. Whitinsville, Mass. | R. R. Bowker Company. p. 156. ISBN 9780671793630. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  31. ^ Fellner, Jonathan (1988-10-19). "Egyptian president to honor AACC astronomer for history". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2019-08-04. Retrieved 2019-08-04 – via
  32. ^ Skiena, Steven; Ward, Charles (2013). Who's Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank. Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-1107041370. is probably the best known ranking of historic figures by influence.
  33. ^ Michael H. Hart. A view from the year 3000: a ranking of the 100 most influential persons of all time; first published in 1999
  34. ^ Nagel, Stuart S. (2001). Handbook of Policy Creativity: Creativity at the cutting edge. Nova Publishers. p. 14. ISBN 9781590330302. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  35. ^ Humanity three thousand. Foundation for the Future. 2000. ISBN 9780967725239.