Greatest Leaders from the past 100 years

in Misc. 25 Comments

Ran across an interesting list from Time (from 8 years ago) on who they ranked as the greatest 100 leaders of the last century (the list came out in 2000). So thought I would attempt to put together my own top ten greatest leaders list from the last 100 years. Here you go:

1. Martin Luther King

2. Ronald Reagan

3. Winston Churchill

4. Mother Teresa 

5. Billy Graham 

6. Franklin Roosevelt

7. Nelson Mandela 

8. Walt Disney 

9. Gandhi 

10. Oprah Winfrey 

Do you agree? Who would you add or take off?


  1. Ben Arment says:

    Love him or leave him, I’d put Jerry Falwell on the religious list.

  2. I can’t argue with your list; I’d like to see Jackie Robinson on it, though . . .

  3. Jayson Teagle says:

    Maxwell must be in the top 3.

  4. Tony says:

    Michael Jordan… first person to transcend sport and use it for world domination :)

  5. Danny says:

    I’d take Oprah off and put on on General Patton.

  6. sabrinajoseph says:

    Pastor Lomenick in the Top 5…Him and Mother Theresa are neck and neck

  7. gail says:

    are these people great leaders or just popular?

  8. bradlomenick says:

    wow, we have quite a range of responses here.

    Gail- good question. i think some are/were popular and great leaders as well. Oprah is probably the most glaring example of someone who is wildly popular, but not sure what kind of leader she is. But if one defines leadership as influence, then she definitely has reason to be on the list.

  9. gail says:

    i def think some are great as well as popular (not saying you can’t/shouldn’t be both).
    as for oprah (love her magazine), i’m still thinking about her endorsement of barak. did anyone actually vote for him because of her? did she help? did she lead anyone into his camp? was she influencial in this regard? i mean with one of her endorsements eye cream will go flying off the shelf but what about things that actually matter (not saying eye cream doesn’t matter, i use target brand). anyway, it would be interesting to have a conversation about cross over leadership…

  10. bradlomenick says:

    good thoughts Gail. I am not sure her political endorsements are influencing tons of folks, just because the context of her recommendations are not necessarily around issues of leadership, but more books and products.

  11. Adam Lomenick says:

    I think more of the people on the bottom should be on the top Oprah, Walt Disney, should be top 5 but on the other hand I’m only 13 HI BRAD!!!!!!!

  12. Adam Lomenick says:

    What about the people these days that are leaders I don’t know about half these people. More this age Brad!

  13. Adam Lomenick says:

    I agree with Travis, Jackie Robinson should be on the list.

  14. [...] Mandela has retired for the most part from the public square but still is involved in a few initiatives. His legacy is undeniable. Most would count him among the greatest leaders of the last 100 years. I sure do. [...]

  15. austin says:

    i think Jesus Christ should be there don’t you…………

  16. [...] 1. Greatest Leaders of the last 100 years [...]

  17. Alberto Conde says:

    I would take Oprah off & Put on Reinhard Bonnke

  18. brittany says:

    love them both… but oprah and walt disney need to come off that list.
    oprah may of help a few but i don’t believe she belongs in the top 10.
    and walt disney… he made disney world but that really hasn’t helped anyone. he’s just a great creator of making lots of money.

  19. Spencer says:

    i think for the most part it’s a solid list. my first thought was similar to gail’s – is this about real leadership or influence. if it’s the former, than perhaps oprah, walt disney and even mother teresa would have to come off the list. if it’s the latter, then there’s probably a sports figure or entertainer that could crack that list over someone like churchill.

    i guess the question is, how closely do we define leadership & influence?

  20. [...] original post of The Greatest Leaders from the Past 100 years continually stirs up more interest than any other list I have ever [...]

  21. [...] 5. Billy Graham 6. Franklin Roosevelt7. Nelson Mandela 8. Walt Disney 9. Gandhi 10. Oprah Winfrey…Embed QuoteVia Jarka Turková.Comment Loading… • Just now  Add [...]

  22. Ron Cram says:

    A list like this is very hard to do, but this is not bad. I would make a few changes. Oprah is a salesperson, not a leader. She doesn’t belong. Lech Walesa helped to bring down the Soviet empire, he should be there. His leadership was among the most courageous and effective in history.

    While I love Walt Disney and would like to thank him for helping to raise my kids (Disney movies make great babysitters), I’m not certain he belongs on the list.

    If the list included the 21st century, it should include Rick Warren. His global PEACE plan is changing lives all over the globe.

    Also worthy of the list is Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Prize laureate who is known as “the man who saved a billion lives.”

  23. agbanimu says:

    I think when we are defining leadership it sure springs up many definitions considering myraid veiw points. But to me no man is a leader who has no follower and follower not of negativity but positivity. A leader might not be popular but inscribed with an undeletable ink in the hearts of people. If you consider this you would come to that conclusion that we are all leaders in as much as we have influenced at least a life positively. And can i say here that rankings are cultural i.e they are more country based. Every country and continent has gotten her own personality of a leader. Even you commenting you are indeed a leader. Though not popular, your words touches millions un-noticed.

  24. Steve Fields says:

    Golda Meir

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