Having the title “Founding Father” is enough to make anybody retire with a feeling of great accomplishment, but Big Ben did much more than just help make America and provide inspiration a classic Puff Daddy song. He’s credited as being pretty much everything: an author, politician, postmaster, newspaper publisher, diplomat, inventor (bifocals, flexible catheters, you name it…) and scientist, who helped us figure out electricity. He also created a volunteer fire-fighting company, played string instruments (guitar, violin and harp), made up his own alphabet based on phonetics, and of course, made it to the front of the $100 bill.
5. Douglas MacArthur
Because winning just one major war is never enough, General MacArthur just decided to be onsite at pretty much all combat between the beginning of the 20th Century until his death in 1964. In addition to be awarded multiple Medals of Honor throughout his career (WWI and II, etc.), he served as Superintendent at West Point (where he’d graduated top of his class), was put in charge of the US occupation of Japan after the country’s surrender following the atomic bomb, and played integral roles in the Korean and Pacific Wars. Though he was relieved from duty as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces after publicly contradicting the administration of President Truman, he is still considered an “American Caesar” and one of the country’s greatest military heroes.
3. Bill Gates
You may want to curse at your PC from time to time, but just think of how useless it would really be if Windows was never invented. When Gates and associates came up with the computer operating system (and ingeniously talked IBM into licensing the product instead of taking it for themselves), he revolutionized personal and professional productivity. Today, products like Xbox, Skype, Internet Explorer, the Surface tablet, Windows Phone, Bing, and good-old Microsoft Office, the company is once again dominating, and Gates is once again the richest man in the world (Forbes says $76 billion). He still plays an active role at the company he started but is now just as influential as a philanthropist. Say Word!
2. Frederick Douglas
Perhaps the most famous abolitionist in American history, Douglass was born into slavery, taught himself to read and write, escaped at age 20 on a train headed north from Maryland, married and became a Methodist preacher a year later in Massachusetts. For the next 50 years he was a major influence over the implementation of civil rights for all people, but especially slaves. He wrote books (his highly successful autobiography helped him legally buy his freedom), spent two years in Ireland and England giving lectures, came back to the States and strongly supported Women’s Suffrage, discussed emancipation with Lincoln before and after the Proclamation, served as a bank president during Reconstruction, constructed rental housing for blacks in Baltimore, published and edited newspapers, and even has the distinction of being the country’s first African-American vice presidential nominee and the first to receive a roll call vote as a presidential nominee at the 1888 Republican National Convention. And he did it all with one of the freshest hairstyles ever sported.
1. Winston Churchill
How do you get to be the first-ever honorary citizen of the United States? Well, if you’re like Churchill, you become a British soldier, then a Member of Parliament and holder of many other British offices of government (Minister of Defence, Minister of Munitions, etc.) on your way to becoming Prime Minister–even though you were born into aristocratic wealth and could have just sat around eating crumpets. Known for his courage and conviction in prosecuting WWII, Churchill was also a gifted painter whose works still hang in museums today. He also wrote fervently, with a novel, two biographies, three volumes of memoirs, loads of newspaper articles and several histories published to his credit, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. Add to that his hobby as an amateur bricklayer and breeder of bees, and you can see how he built a name that still buzzes today.
Start With Why: Simon Sinek Tells How Great Leaders Inspire Action