Despite resembling the corporeal manifestation of an absinthe hallucination experienced by Charles Dickens in 1861, Russell Brand has apparently made quite a name for himself with the rebellious British youth of late. In the past couple of years, Brand has embarked upon a radical reinvention from a mildly irritating Cockney caricature in movies you would only watch on a plane to a populist rabble-rouser and political pundit who is quickly becoming a force on the British left.
That—and presumably not Get Him To The Greek—is the reason why the self-proclaimed “leading magazine of ideas” Prospect has ranked him No. 4 on their list of the most influential public intellectuals in the world today. (Also, being smarty-pants types, they probably knew it would get them a lot of press.) Brand ranks between The Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman on the list, which is pretty impressive for someone who has been nominated for, but never won, a Teen Choice Award. In its writeup about Brand, Prospect describes him as “the spiritual leader of Britain’s disaffected anti-capitalist youth..Dismissed by his opponents as a clownish opportunist, he is nevertheless the most charismatic figure on Britain’s populist left.”
Brand’s newest book, Revolution, was released in October and, in Prospect’s words, advocates the “radical redistribution of wealth and power.” The magazine’s full “World Thinkers 2015” list is below.
Prospect’s World Thinkers 2015
1. Thomas Piketty, French economist.
2. Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister.
3. Naomi Klein, Canadian author.
4. Russell Brand, UK comedian and campaigner.
5. Paul Krugman, US economist.
6. Arundhati Roy, Indian writer and activist.
7. Jurgen Habermas, German philosopher.
8. Daniel Kahneman, US-Israeli psychologist.
9. John Gray, UK philosopher.
10. Atul Gawande, US surgeon and writer.