The Most Interesting Man (and Woman) in the World

most interestingThere’s a fascinating article in Business Insider entitled:  The Truth About the Most Interesting Man in the World.  As it turns out, Jonathan Goldsmith, who plays him on the Dos Equis commercials, has an interesting story to tell:

As a journeyman actor, Mr. Goldsmith responded to the usual cattle call for the job with 500 younger and better-looking men ahead of him.  He appropriately figured he didn’t have a chance, did his “schtick” and promptly forgot about it.  A month later his agent took the call.  The Dos Equis rep said, “We really like Jonathan…BUT…he’s just a lot older than we’re envisioning.” To which she replied, “How can the most interesting man in the world…be young?”  The rep said, “I’ll call you right back.”

 18 of The Most Interesting Man’s punchlines (reduced from over 100):

  1. He gave his father “the talk”
  2. When he drives a car off the lot, its price increases in value
  3. Superman has pajamas with his logo
  4. He once brought a knife to a gunfight… just to even the odds
  5. He has never waited 15 minutes after finishing a meal before returning to the pool
  6. When a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, he hears it
  7. He lives vicariously through himself
  8. His business card simply says, ‘I’ll Call You”
  9. In museums, he is allowed to touch the art
  10. He never wears a watch because time is always on his side
  11. He has taught old dogs a variety of new tricks
  12. He has won the lifetime achievement award…twice
  13. If opportunity knocks, and he’s not at home, opportunity waits
  14. He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels
  15. He is fluent in all languages, including three that he only speaks
  16. Once while sailing around the world, he discovered a short cut.
  17. When in Rome, they do as HE does
  18. He’s never lost a game of chance

But then, arrogant sons-of-guns that we are, somewhere along the line we all begin to wonder where WE stack up.  What does it take to be the most interesting man or woman? 

amancio-ortega_270x190Money?  What does it come down to?  Money?  Of course not.   Fortunately, merely having a bank account with a one and a bunch of zeros doesn’t make you interesting.   Rest assured, there are many, many boring wealthy people.    BTW:  Who’s the bald guy on the right?  Any guesses?  His name is Amancio Ortega and…he’s worth seventy-two BILLION dollars.  Three seconds from now you won’t remember him.  Yeah, it’s not just money.  Oh…how did he get 72,000,000,000?   All it says is he’s in retail.  

Good Looks?  Oh, c’mon…  How many gorgeous men…or women have you gazed at across that crowded room only to find yourself pinching your leg in boredom when you engage them in conversation.  Nope, good looks alone don’t make you interesting.

Okay, then.  It has to be Fame.   You can quantify money and you can measure many forms of knowledgeability  depending on what test is administered.  Is it Fame?   Does Fame make you interesting?  Maybe, but not necessarily.  Depends on precisely what you’re famous for.  What if you’re in the Guinness Book for having said nothing for the most number of years?  Who has the biggest Star Wars collection? (The answer is Daniel Terdiman.)  Or…would you call Adolph Hitler an interesting guy…or just a psychopathic monster?

Humor?   Good stand-up comedians are funny.  Okay, we’re getting into interesting territory though most of the best ones spend months or years perfecting their routines, polishing them to a high gloss to achieve just the right response.  After the show, once they go home and put their feet up and have a slice of pizza are they still funny?  Are they interesting?  I don’t know.  I have my doubts.

936full-hedy-lamarrWorld’s Most Interesting Woman?  Well…you could ask ten people and get twenty different answers.  The actress you are peering at was perhaps one of the top three beauties on the planet, at least in my opinion.  But what you probably don’t know is  that Hedy Lamarr was also an inventive genius.  During WWII she invented a frequency-hopping spread-spectrum technique which allowed us to point unjammable radio-controlled torpedoes at the enemy.  For younger generations this translates to something more fathomable: She was the initial mind behind what is now called Bluetooth and Wifi.  Impressed?  And she was both charming and funny.


And as far as just interesting women are concerned, Christiane Amanpour might be pretty far up on the list as well.  I’d give a month of Sundays to spend an evening just listening to her.  And please, by all means, send in your candidates.


World’s Most Interesting Man?

bansonRichard Branson…hands-down.  Gutsy, funny, richer than 99.9% of the planet, very bold, takes chances that would make normal men faint and most endearing of all, tells the truth about his screw-ups.  His autobiography is as candid as it is inspiring.  His first enterprise, selling Christmas trees didn’t go so well.  Neither did raising budgies for fun and profit. (A budgie is some kind of bird.)

His headmaster at Bishopsgate told him he’d either end up in prison…or become a millionaire.  He started Virgin Records and nearly went to prison for it but then…he invested in a song called Tubular Bells for the movie, The Exorcist.  He also signed up the controversial Sex Pistols.  The money poured in, huge wheelbarrows full and then…he put ALL of his chips on one idea, buying up some old beat-to-hell 747s (knowing nothing about aviation) and launched Virgin Air Lines.  He’s flown the world in a hot air balloon and is now a mover and shaker in Virgin Galactic’s passenger rockets to outer space.  How many Virgin corporations does he own now?  I’m not sure even he knows the answer.  It’s over 400.  Does he drink Dos Equis?  Who cares?

Fascinating People are Fascinated People:  You’ve suffered enough.  Here’s my take for whatever it’s worth.   Go to a party, sit down at a business meeting…or order breakfast at a diner.  Who are the interesting people? the memorable ones? How can you spot them?  One dead give-away is a look in the eyes.  They are twinkling.  They are looking around and…they are actually looking at YOU.

You can tell that they’ve done a lot in the first five seconds you talk with them, but the big dividing line is they are also curious about you.  What’s your story?  What do you do? Where are you going?  What do you have planned?  They really want to know.  They’re curious about everything.  Lose the twinkle.  Lose the curiosity and you’re in trouble.

A spin-off or sidebar to this concept is that fascinated people…curious people have always done a bunch of things because of their very nature.  What does a grasshopper taste like?  They just might have an answer.  What’s it like to put peanut butter on your ears and then lie on the floor while the dogs go after you?  They might know that, too.  And there are a billion different curiosities, passions, anecdotes.  The more you do, the more you try, the more interesting you become.

What grade do you give yourself or your mate in the category of fascinating people?  Curious people?  It has to be a two-way street.  If you aren’t interested in others…it’s a pretty good bet you aren’t all that interesting to them.  But doing a bunch of cool things does help the cause.

 Henry_600pxAnd so, in conclusion…  Okay, there are a whole lot of readers who are also friends, young and old and…frenemies, also young and old.  The ones who know me well and have read down this far are…waiting…waiting for that egotistical shoe to drop.  To a man, they are thinking, “Henry will not be able to resist a chance to cleverly work-in his own credentials for this auspicious title”.  I really hate (love) to disappoint you but…not this time.

I have grown a lot over the years…matured, become less self-oriented and so, although I have, indeed, been many things, including: jet pilot, Titan Missile Launch officer, sculptor, writer, patented inventor, lumberjack, invitee for TED lecture, military spy, husband of decades, drone pilot, skier, passable father, state champ discus thrower…and, of course, dog whisperer which means: I whisper…they wag their tails and fart.  I will NOT descend into crass personal indulgence or horn-tooting this time. That’s a promise that you can take to the bank.  Just don’t try to cash it.


6 Responses to "The Most Interesting Man (and Woman) in the World"

  1. Peter Hengst says:

    Like those commercials! Beer is good, too. And I really enjoyed your article! Nothing I’d disagree with, though I might throw in a more specific clarification on your last quality. What gets my motor running is watching someone pursuing excellence, pursuing his dream, whatever that is. If you’re on this planet and your goal is to be the best waiter in the world, or the best dart thrower, surfer, anything. Pursuit of excellence whatever it is, is interesting and exciting.
    Peter H.

  2. Cameron Harvey says:

    I take issue with you referring to yourself as a “passable father.” You are, in fact, a pretty damn good one, and I am lucky that you always have been. 🙂

    • Henry Harvey says:

      Well… I guess twenty bucks doesn’t go all that far anymore. At least you didn’t put commas between the pretty and the damned. Kidding aside, thanks, Cam! I’m hoping in about 35 years Gryffin will have the same assessment of you! As you know, being a parent is really hard to do at all, much less do right.

  3. Branson is incredibly compelling. Island, planes, Space flight, etc. But interestingly I was part of an exchange with Elon Musk about two years ago and he wanted to pump our side for information while almost completely dodging questions asked of him. Interesting.

    Much to your point about: to be interesting, one must be interested. Likewise about a year ago we had Sergei Brin here at our lab for tour and briefings. Definitely more interested in deconstructing the lunch sandwiches to eliminate the carbs than almost anything else. Then again, he was having a fiery affair at the time.

    Bezos would also be interesting to talk to. Funny how silicon valley has generated so many seemingly interesting people, and not just because they are wealthy beyond belief. It is their interest in so many things. I would guess that moving completely beyond any concern for the basics in life some minds soar.

    The drone/nano issue is one you have of course written on before and your case here was very strong that we may be looking at the wrong threats. Agree, agree, agree.
    Rich B.

  4. Henry Harvey says:

    Hey Roomie!
    Shooting from the hip, what I’ve always felt with Branson has been a sense of wonder and enjoyment about the whole thing….like a very wealthy yet powerful little kid. Because of the laws of physics and electric motors deriving max torque at zero rpm, the Tesla is a sweetie in the 0-60 category (even beats the new Stingray) but…like so many CEOs I feel like there’s something missing in the man. My impression of him is that of a sidewinder missile rather than a person. Again, just shootin’ from the hip.
    P.S. I am probably prejudiced and dinosaurian here. By the statistics alone the Nissan GTRs and Teslas are in a world unto themselves. But they are cold machines, not needing people…happy to accelerate all by their lonesomes. Ferrari, Lambos, McClarens, even American Vettes still are automobiles to be driven by human beings. Within 5 years Tesla and Nissan…probably Toyota, will be able to street race and win…….with no man aboard at all. Is there a point in this? I’m not sure.

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