Ten Greatest Leaders of All Time

Exploring the lives of the greatest leaders of all time is an interesting sphere of self-motivation. In general, the world’s great leaders are endowed with qualities like creativity, innovation, honesty, and integrity. They become great – not by birth but the sort of hard experiences they have lived. Passion and perseverance added to the firmness of character liberate the great leaders during their struggling phase.

Here is the list of the world’s greatest leaders of all time irrespective of the gender, age, nationality and race. The bunch includes a blend of great leaders in the history of diverse sectors such as business, finance, social initiatives, science and more.

Let’s read about the great leaders in the history and absorb the best qualities from them:

Greatest Leaders of All Time: STEVE JOBS

Greatest leader of all time Jobs

Steve Jobs. Source: MacRumors at MWSF: Steve Jobs with MacBook Air

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs

The technology business magnate Steve Paul Jobs co-founded Apple Computer. Jobs was the inventor of the revolutionary mobile phone, iPhone that has a single button on the main body. Born in California on February 24, 1955, Jobs pioneered in modern technology with a series of inventions including Macintosh, iPhone and iPad.

One of the greatest leaders in the history, Steve Jobs was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs. Paul was a machinist who taught Steve about how to take apart and reconstruct electronics. The learning eventually instilled a passion for technology in him.

Steve Jobs dropped out of the college and started working as a video game designer with Atari. Later in 1976, he went on to launch Apple Computer in association with his high school friend, Steve Wozniak. Whatever happened next is documented in every story written about some of the world’s greatest leaders.

Following a long battle with cancer, Jobs died in October 2011 after handing over Apple to Tim Cook. During the same year, Forbes estimated his worth at around $6.5 billion – $ 7 billion.

Greatest Leaders of All Time: BILL GATES & MELINDA GATES

Great Leaders of All Time: Melinda French Gates, Bill Gates

DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 30JAN09 – Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates speak during the ‘Gates Foundation’ press conference at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2009. Copyright by World Economic Forum; swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger

“In the course of your lives, without any plan on your part, you’ll come to see the suffering that will break your heart. When it happens, and it will don’t turn away from it; turn toward it. That is the moment when change is born.”-Melinda Gates

By giving away a massive amount of fortune for philanthropic initiatives, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates have become the faces of global altruism. It’s no wonder why they shouldn’t be on the list of the great leaders in the history. Through The Gates Foundation, the couple has done a huge amount of charity work in the education sector, medical treatment and the upliftment of poor.

Born on October 28, 1955, Bill Gates is another dropout (and that too, from Harvard College) who loved computers. He created the world’s most successful operating system, Windows for home computers which is still one of the most prevalent OS on all devices worldwide. Bill stepped down from the company in 2006 and now he is dwelling in societal responsibilities.

Melinda, born in 1964 joined Microsoft in 1987 as a product manager. She worked there for nine years and got married to Bill in 1994.

Bill and Melinda took initiative to create the Foundation in 2000 with $106million. Melinda was involved in every phase of decision making in the Foundation. Further, in 2011, the Foundation officially rephrased its mission as: “improving equity in four areas: global health, education, access to digital information via public libraries, and support for at-risk families in Washington State and Oregon.”

Greatest Leaders of All Time: ANNIE BESANT

Greatest leader of All Time Annie

Besant got interested in Theosophy, a religious movement founded in 1875 and built on Hindu ideas of karma and reincarnation.

“Refusal to believe until proof is given is a rational position; denial of all outside of our own limited experience is absurd.” Annie Besant

The ‘Diamond Soul’, Annie Besant was born on October 1, 1847, in London. She was a firm believer in human freedom and preached ‘free thought’. She participated in women rights campaign and turned into a huge supporter of Indian nationalism.

Annie had a difficult childhood and yet her thought process was revoking in context of the time she lived in. She became a great leader in the form of a social reformer in Britain; however, a hunger for all-inclusive truth still quenched her. She traveled to India in 1893 and got interested in Theosophy, a religious movement founded in 1875 and built on Hindu ideas of karma and reincarnation. Annie became the second President of The Theosophical Society from 1907 to 1933 and left the world on 20 September 1933.

Annie Besant, with her strong belief in the ultimate truth and constant efforts to reform the world lead her into the journey of the greatest leader in the history.

Greatest Leaders of All Time: WARREN BUFFETT

Greatest Leaders of All Time Warren

Warren Buffett started investing at the tender age of eleven years.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

The life of the richest person on the Earth transformed while reading a book titled, ‘One Thousand Ways to Make $1000’. The prominent investor, Buffett is known as the ‘Oracle of Omaha’.

Buffett was born in Nebraska in 1930. His business skills came into the spotlight at a very young age and started investing at the tender age of eleven years. Rejected by Harvard Business School, Buffett introduced his own company and right now he is the CEO Berkshire Hathaway. His individual net-worth is $84 billion presently.

Warren is a celebrity face in the field of philanthropy. He pledged 85 percent of his fortune to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006. Between 2006 and 2017, he also gave away approximately $28 billion in charity, according to USA Today.

Bestowed with innumerable titles such as ‘the most influential person of the year’, ‘world’s greatest investment guru’, ‘the greatest living legend of the century, ‘the highest charity giving celebrity in the world’ and more, Warren Buffet has all reasons to land in the ‘the world’s greatest leader’ list.

Greatest Leaders of All Time: HENRY FORD

Greatest Leaders of All Time Henry Ford

Ford invented the concept of consumerism and was a pioneer in ‘welfare capitalism’.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Henry Ford

America’s own, Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was the foremost and the greatest leader in the business industry. With the introduction of Ford Model T car, he revolutionized the automobile industry in 1908. He commenced the development of an assembly-line of production, that is, mass production of the car. As a result, the production cost of the decreased and millions of Ford cars were sold which helped the American economy during its dark days.

The word, Fordism is associated with his name that means ‘mass production of inexpensive products and higher wages for workers’. In a way, Ford invented the concept of consumerism and was a pioneer in ‘welfare capitalism’. His forward thinking during the early days of industrialism will always put him as one of the greatest leaders of all time. The industry genius died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 7, 1947.

Greatest Leaders of All Time: JACK MA

Ma Greatest leader of all time

Jack Ma founded ‘Alibaba’, Chinese e-commerce website in 1999. Source: Flickr

“If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. And when you are small, you have to be very focused and rely on your brain, not your strength.” Jack Ma on the dark days of Alibaba

The second richest person in China, Jack Ma is a true example of ‘rags to riches story’ in contemporary times. His unconventional entrepreneurship skills are good enough to confer him the title of the world’s greatest leader of all time.

Ma was born on October 15, 1964, in Communist China. He saw a series of failures over a period of time – failed his university-entrance exam twice, was rejected by Harvard ten times, dozens of jobs rejected him along with two failed commercial investments.

Jack Ma was mesmerized by the concept of the internet while traveling to America. Following this, he founded ‘Alibaba’, Chinese e-commerce website in 1999. The company has a strong presence in the online business and is a tough competitor to the e-commerce site, Amazon. Presently he is on the executive board of the Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate. Jack suggests keeping the trust of people over money.

Greatest Leaders of All Time: WALT DISNEY

Greatest leaders of All Time Disney

Walt Disney (left) was put down for his poor imagination skills during his struggling days.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney

Walt Disney is the most favorite person in the world even after his untimely demise in 1966. The creator of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland, Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901.

During his early, Walt used to make drawings and earn money. Following multiple job opportunities, Walt began his true work in Kansas City Film Ad Company in 1919. All through his stint at the ad company, he was put down for his poor imagination skills.

Together with his brother, Roy, Walt founded Walt Disney Productions in 1923. The studio started creating various animated cartoons and released a number of animated films. Walt Disney served a pallet of the world’s first. The well-known cartoon character, Mickey Mouse was created in 1928, the world’s first animated feature film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” was produced in 1937, and the world’s first theme park, Disneyland was launched in 1955. Walt Disney will always remain alive in every child’s imagination.

Greatest Leaders of All Time: MARGARET THATCHER

Another October-born great leader, Margaret Thatcher served as the first Woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. Dubbed as an ‘Iron Lady’, she served the longest term as British prime minister of the 20th century.

Thatcher was born on October 13, 1925, in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Appointed as the youngest woman ever to take on a role of a parliamentary under the secretary for pensions and national insurance in 1961, she was a firm beholder of women empowerment idea. She curbed the power of labor union during her term and pushed the free-market concept in the UK. She fought for decriminalizing homosexuality and abortion.

Greatest Leaders of All Time Margarette

Margarette Thatcher was dubbed as an ‘Iron Lady’. Source: Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Thatcher, though she had a controversial term as a Conservative Leader, her uncompromising attitude was an ingredient to her influential personality. Her efforts towards promoting individualism and personal responsibility arrested the public’s interest. She died on April 8, 2013. Terming her here as the greatest leader of all time is also a divisive decision, yet the Iron Lady remains unmoved.

Greatest Leaders of All Time: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Franklin, the foremost researcher on the concept of electricity who worked in a broad scope of things should not be a surprise while accumulating information on the world’s greatest leaders of all time.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of American constitutions. Counting the number of caps he worn as a polymath, an inventor, a scientist, a printer, a politician, and a diplomat, he is, indeed, called the ‘First American’.

Greatest Leaders of All Time Benjamin

Counting the number of caps he donned as a polymath, an inventor, a scientist, a printer, a politician, and a diplomat, he is, indeed, called the ‘First American’.

Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston. He was a vivacious learner and reader during his childhood days. He had a keen interest in electricity, mathematics and mapmaking and invented Franklin stove, Bifocals, American Penny, discovered Gulf Stream and coined the electricity words like battery, conductor and charge. Franklin left the world in April 1790 in Philadelphia, suffering from gout.

Though Benjamin never finished schooling, he earned honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, England’s Oxford University and the Scotland University of St. Andrews in Scotland through self-education.

Greatest Leaders of All Time: CHRISTINE LAGARDE

The Great Leaders of All Time

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 25JAN13 – Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC; World Economic Forum Foundation Board Member reflects during the session ‘Women in Economic Decision-making’ at the Annual Meeting 2013 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2013. Copyright by World Economic Forum; swiss-image.ch/Photo Michael Wuertenberg

“Gender-dominated environments are not good… particularly in the financial sector where there are too few women. In gender-dominated environments, men have a tendency to… show how hairy chested they are, compared with the man who’s sitting next to them. I honestly think that there should never be too much testosterone in one room.” Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde is a sturdy face in the financial sector. She is the first woman Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2011. Earlier she was appointed as the French Finance Minister from 2007 to 2011.

Born in Paris on January 1, 1956, Lagarde comes from a family of academicians. She joined Baker & McKenzie, a Chicago-based international law firm in 1981 and handled major antitrust and labor cases. She later went on to become the partner of the same firm and chaired it in 1999.

Lagarde speaks straightforwardly and can handle other people’s money in the fairest way. Fans of Lagarde know her as a person who can be a humane and a hard woman simultaneously.

Entitled with an array of ‘the first woman’ achievements, Lagarde is an apt personality to conclude the session on the world’s greatest leaders of all time.

Carrie Ann
Carrie Ann is Editor-in-Chief at Industry Leaders Magazine, based in Las Vegas. Carrie covers technology, trends, marketing, brands, productivity, and leadership. When she isn’t writing she prefers reading. She loves reading books and articles on business, economics, corporate law, luxury products, artificial intelligence, and latest technology. She’s keen on political discussions and shares an undying passion for gadgets. Follow Carrie Ann on Twitter, Facebook

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