The Most-Admired People in 2013 (by Americans)

Instead of ending the year with a list, I thought it’d be fun to start with one. It’s either that or I was too lazy to comment on this when it came out and I’ve spent way too much time thinking about it. Anyway, Gallup does an annual poll of The Most Admired Man and Woman by Americans. If you don’t feel like clicking the link, the winners were Barack Obama(16%) and Hillary Clinton (15%). People receiving more than 1% of the vote were:


  1. Barack Obama (16%)
  2. George W. Bush (4%)
  3. Pope Francis (4%)
  4. Bill Clinton (2%)
  5. Rev. Billy Graham (2%)


  1. Hillary Clinton (15%)
  2. Oprah Winfrey (6%)
  3. Michelle Obama (5%)
  4. Sarah Palin (5%)
  5. Malala Yousafzai (2%)
  6. Condoleezza Rice (2%)

Hrmph. I am, it appears, wildly out of step with the American public. I figure, if I don’t like their choices, I should probably offer some alternatives. So, I’ve been thinking about it and trying to come up with my own list. It’s a work in progress, but here’s what I’ve got so far (in no particular order):


  • Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Edward Snowden
  • The Dalai Lama
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Bill Gates


  • Amanda Palmer
  • Dilma Rousseff
  • Sarah Vowell
  • Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Elizabeth Warren

Essentially, I’m looking for people who are trying to move the world forward, make it better, smarter, more humane….stuff like that. It’s not a perfect list by any means, but it’s a personal list. They’re all people I admire, whether or not they’re, by any objective means, the most admirable people

There are a stack of folks on the periphery of my list: P.Z. Myers? Laurie Penny? Johns Linnell and Flansburgh? Neil Gaiman? Stephen Wolfram? Ted Leo? Jon Stewart? Any other suggestions?

Happy new year, everyone!

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