Requested by B.J. Novak

MOST INTERESTING PEOPLE I HAVE MET

  1. Arthur Kleinman, medical anthropologist
    Reads a book a day. The most ethical person I've met. Kind and impatient.
  2. Allan Maca, Mayan archaeologist
    Real life archaeologist adventurer and charmer. Even wears interesting hats.
  3. Eliot Weinberger, essayist and Octavio Paz translator
    Writes the weirdest little essays.
  4. Vann Molyvann, Cambodian architect and urban planner
    Beautiful, functional designs and thinking, has lived through craziness.
  5. Richard Schultes, ethnobotanist
    Adventurer, botanist, chronicler of plants of the gods.
  6. David Baum, paleobotanist
    Spends entire days in trees in Madagascar, waiting for blooms to open. Knows everything about plants.
  7. Stephen Jay Gould, geologist
    Amazing storyteller.
  8. Nadine Gordimer, writer
    Superpower writer and activist.
  9. Scooter Libby, vaccination advocate
    Smart, charming, maligned.
  10. Aimee Mullins, athlete and actress
    Beautiful, does everything.
  11. Reihan Salam, conservative thinker
    The best laugh ever. Talks too fast. Can convince anyone to be conservative.
  12. Christopher Hitchens, contrarian
    Wittiest ever.
  13. Jacob Rubin, novelist
    Poet, freestyle rapper, the funniest.
  14. Nicholas Britell, composer
    Carefree genius.
  15. David Carrasco, historian of mesoamerican religion
    Knows everything about human sacrifice.
  16. Jim Scott, political scientist
    Changes how you think about the state and development.
  17. Graeme Wood, journalist and polymath
    Strange, frighteningly smart, fearless. Read everything he writes.
  18. Joseph Massad, professor of arab studies
    His work on sexuality in the Arab world makes my head hurt. Makes me rethink everything.
  19. Donna Haraway, cyborg anthropologist
    Totally insane.