Who are the most influential businessmen in history?

Joel Mokyr offers his list:

Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) †¢ Powered Industrial Revolution (Marginal Revolution’s first post was on Boulton and his friends.)

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) †¢ Carnegie’s Steel Built America

Walt Disney (1901-1966) †¢ Mega Media Blueprint

Henry Ford (1863-1947) †¢ Democratized Transportation

Edward H. Harriman (1848-1909) †¢ Proto-turn-around artist

Henry J. Kaiser (1882-1967) †¢ Fathered the HMO

Ray Kroc (1902-1984) †¢ Founding Father Of the Fast-Food Nation

William Lever (1851-1925) †¢ Invented “The Brand”

Henry Luce (1898-1967) †¢ Mass Media Pioneer

J. P. Morgan (1837-1913) †¢ Saved Wall Street

Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) †¢ Invented Dynamite, Holding Company

John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) †¢ Spawned Global Energy Industry

Meyer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) †¢ International Financier Pioneer

Alfred P. Sloan (1875-1966) †¢ The Perfect Organization Man

Gerard Swope (1872-1957) †¢ Wove Capitalism’s Safety Net

Sakichi Toyoda (1867-1930) †¢ Smarter Machines Sage

Sam Walton (1918-1992) †¢ Perfected Mass Retailing

Aaron Montgomery Ward (1843-1913) †¢ “No Store” Retailer

Thomas J. Watson Jr. (1914-1993) †¢ Wired Corporate America

Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) †¢ Invented Celebrity Endorsements

A good list, but it fails to reflect just how much business has transformed our society. How about Zukor, Laemmle, Fox, or Cohn, some of the early founders of Hollywood? You could add the Medici, the unknown father of double-entry bookkeeping, or how about Gutenberg for that matter?

Here is the complete article. Thanks to Lynne Kiesling for the pointer.


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