Reputable Business People

November 29, 2006

Reputable Business People

How influential are business people? Well not so influential. Atlantic Monthly just came out with their Top 100 most influential figures in American history. Since the list is compiled by a panel of historians, no surprise that past presidents, inventors, architects, sports figures, entrepreneurs, social advocates, and political types made this list of highly reputable people. The first five were no big surprise — Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, FDR, and Alexander Hamilton. Ronald Reagan came in at #17 and Richard Nixon at #99.

Not too many celebrities made the list besides Elvis Presley (#66).

Thought it would be worth seeing who the panel chose as the most influential business people in American history. I counted 8 such individuals with such sterling reputations that they qualified for the list:

John D Rockefeller (#11)
Henry Ford (#14)
Walt Disney (#26)
J P Morgan (#37)
Bill Gates (#54)
Sam Walton (#72)
William Randolph Hearst (#80)
Sam Goldwyn (#95)

Most interesting is that nearly all are entrepreneurs and business-builders. No hired guns like CEOs such as Jack Welch or Mark Hurd. Not even Steve Jobs.

Bill Gates is the only living most influential business person among the top 100. Quite an honor.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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