The five most famous and influential people in the world

More than the ones you voted for, the ones you ignored are a sensation this week. A fortnight ago, on our polls page, we offered you a selection of the people that the famous Time magazine had named as the most influential in the world.

They ranged from politicians (Merkel, Obama, Putin, Hillary Clinton) to sportsmen (Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams). Not to mention the singers (Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Beyoncé) to the actors (Matthew McConaughey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Redford).

Well, we will see shortly on who you have focused your vote on in particular. At first glance, however, we were struck by Beyoncé’s 0 – which Time has even put on the cover -, by Cristiano Ronaldo, McConaughey and Miley Cyrus. People who may be so successful but who still can’t be considered credible influencers by our readers.

5. Edward Snowden

The deep throat of the CIA and Homeland Security

Until June last year, no one knew who Edward Snowden was. Within a few months, however, this 30-year-old former computer technician has become one of the best-known men on the planet, to whom Pulitzer Prizes and magazine and newspaper covers are dedicated. Not surprisingly, many have named him “character of the year”, as in the case of the British Guardian .

Edward Snowden

The merit of such fame, you already know, is linked to the revelations on the citizen control system set up in recent years by the CIA and the NSA. That is from government agencies that Snowden has worked for in recent years both directly and indirectly.

Born in North Carolina in 1983, the son of a Coast Guard officer and a federal court clerk in Maryland, Snowden has a somewhat peculiar education background, but great computer skills.

After a brief experience in the Special Forces, he in fact worked as a technician, first for the CIA and then for Dell, which however assigned him to a division that collaborated with the National Security Agency. During this last assignment he realized the level of pervasiveness to which the control of citizens by the government had reached.

The publication in the Guardian

Hence the passage of confidential information to the Guardian , the only newspaper that had guaranteed him a quick publication of all the material (before the United States could intervene to block its disclosure).

Then came the confession about his identity, his difficult residence in Hong Kong, the attempt to obtain political asylum first in Iceland and then in Ecuador and finally the landing in Russia. That is to say in the only country that has accepted to host him without too many problems despite the American attempt to get him back to try him for espionage.

His revelations affect not only American citizens, but also those around the world. In fact, monitoring of text messages in China and wiretapping of European and even Italian politicians are documented.

All this, of course, has shaken world public opinion to a level perhaps even greater than what happened a few years ago with the scandals brought to light by Wikileaks. And he made Snowden a wanted man, a recluse and yet also a point of reference.

4. Benedict Cumberbatch

The most loved Sherlock on the web

In our list, however, there are not only political figures or their opponents. In third place, in fact, on an equal footing with Snowden are two personalities from the entertainment world, who this year have certainly crowned a career that has led them in a short time to become very influential in their sector: Benedict Cumberbatch and Pharrell Williams.

Let’s start with the first. Born in London in 1976, Cumberbatch is a classic British actor, with a rather traditional background – apart from a year spent teaching English in Tibet – and his beginnings in theaters.

Benedict Cumberbatch

After a lot of apprenticeship, he began to get noticed by the general public starting in 2010, when he appeared on TV playing Sherlock . From then on he appeared continuously in the cinema, in The Mole , War Horse and in the trilogy of The Hobbit , giving the voice and facial expressions to Smaug.

The latest movies

In more recent times, finally, he was among the protagonists of Into Darkness – Star Trek , 12 Years a Slave and The Imitation Game . All films that have confirmed the very strong rise, which also corresponds to a great attention from the fans.

Even our readers who sent us their comments through the appropriate form next to the survey underlined the talent of the London actor and how he has recently become the real ruler of the web. Even more and beyond what his important appearances on the big and small screen would suggest.

3. Pharrell Williams

Voice of Get Lucky and Happy

Pharrell Williams, one of the most successful singers of recent years (photo by kallerna via Wikimedia Commons)

Musically, these were probably the years of Pharrell Williams. Long considered one of the most powerful producers of the pop scene, he proposed himself as a cover character, first of all singing in the single by Daft Punk Get Lucky , which was the real smash of 2013.

Then she also released her second personal album, Girl . The next catchphrase was taken from this record, the Happy one that first appeared in the soundtrack of Despicable Me 2 .

  Born in Virginia in 1973, Pharrell made his debut in the early 90s with his friend Chad Hugo in the group – founded at the time of high school – the Neptunes . He then changed the name to NERD , also making the first production experiences of other artists.

Success in the new millennium

The great success, however, came in the new millennium, with the collaborations with Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake that earned the Virginian the first two Grammys, in 2004.

The following year came his solo debut with In My Mind , which was followed by collaborations with Madonna, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, the Strokes, Shakira, Damon Albarn and many other key names in the pop scene.

Our readers especially liked his ability to intercept the tastes of the public with a few hits but so disruptive as to “be worth an entire record”, as we read in one of the messages arrived in the editorial office.

2. Barack Obama

His last years as president of the United States

We arrive at the top positions, where we find two politicians who certainly have, due to the positions they hold, the ability to influence not only the record market or the film market, but the whole world.

The paradox here is that the first position is not, however, according to our readers, the prerogative of the president of the United States, traditionally considered the most powerful man in the world. In our survey, however, you have to settle for second place.

Born in Hawaii in 1961, Barack Obama is in his second presidential term having made two as senator from Illinois. He is, above all, the first black president in the history of the United States.

Recent moves

In recent times, in particular, its policy has been oriented on the domestic front. For example, he pushed for the recognition of the rights of homosexuals: he was in fact the first president to even mention the word gay in an official speech.

Barack Obama, famous and obviously influential

Then he worked for an increase in the minimum wage for American workers and – also following sad news stories – towards a stricter control on the spread of weapons.

On the foreign side, relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia worsened, both for the Snowden question, and above all with regard to the Ukrainian situation and the question of the independence of Crimea.

  Our readers voted for it because – they say – “despite all the compromises and failures that politics entails, it still represents hope in power.” But also, more prosaically, because “he is still the president of the first global superpower”.

1.Angela Merkel

Since 2005, the Chancellor of the Germans

Surprisingly, at the top of our ranking there are no Pope Francis, Barack Obama or Vladimir Putin, who also have leading roles in planetary geopolitics. But Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor.

The comments of our readers in this regard all refer to the fact that Germany, for better or for worse, is now considered the main political and economic engine of the European Union.

In this climate of electoral campaign and economic crisis in which we have been for months it was perhaps inevitable that the exponent of the CDU cashing in so many votes. Votes which, however, are not only marks of appreciation, but also of criticism.

Daughter of a shepherd

Born in Hamburg in ’54, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor and a teacher, she grew up in East Germany where her father was assigned, until she graduated and got her doctorate in physical chemistry. She then began to take an interest in politics in 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, earning her already the year after entering Parliament.

Within a very short time he then entered the fourth Kohl government as Minister for Equal Opportunities first and then for the Environment.

Angela Merkel, according to our readers the first of the most influential people in the world (photo by א Aleph via Wikimedia Commons)

With the electoral defeat and the scandal of illicit funding that engulfed Kohl and the old leadership of the CDU, she quickly became the leader of the party.

From the Great Coalition to current power

However, he failed to beat the SPD in 2005 and thus created that grand coalition which in recent years has also been often cited in Italy to justify the so-called broad agreements .

But then he won two rounds of elections, also closing with almost 17 percentage points ahead of the Social Democratic challenger, Peer Steinbruck.

A victory which, however – due to the German electoral law and the flop of the traditional allies of the Liberal Party – did not allow the birth of a government without the support of the SPD itself, guaranteed after a survey of members.