Margaret Calvert, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Khan Tervel, Grace Hopper, Ciara Judge, Momofuku Ando, Ron HIll, John Cage and Samiya Parvez.

Fluxx Heroes: 48 people who inspire us

This year, while compiling our book “Whatever happens, we don’t want people to write to the Daily Mail” we started collecting a long list of people who inspire the Fluxx team. This is the latest version.

From Taoists to engineers to pie-flingers, from 8th century military leaders to CEOs of utility companies, it’s a diverse list…

  1. Ron Hill, long distance runner who competed in the 1964 Olympics, has run at least 1 mile every day since 20th Dec 1964. No matter how bad the weather is, how under the weather he feels, he still got his trainers on. (Suggested by Toby de Belder)
  2. Madam C. J. Walker, one of the first American Women to become a self-made millionaire. She was also a black civil rights activist. (Nadine Hall)
  3. Momofuku Ando the shed-based inventor created instant noodles in 1958 to solve a post-war food shortage. “Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat.” (Richard Warmsley)
  4. Bruce Dickinson Olympic-class fencer and pilot who purchased the company he flies for to save the jobs of his colleagues. Oh yes, and lead singer of Iron Maiden who tour the world in their own customised 747. (Clare Midgley-Jewitt)
  5. Elizabeth Warren, Senator for Massachusetts, for waging a war against Trump and being a self-proclaimed ‘nasty woman’. (Rory Keddie)
  6. Thomas Nagel, the philosopher who once wrote a paper called “What is it like to be a bat?” (Charlie Palmer)
  7. Limor Fried, the MIT graduate who built an open-source electronics factory in Manhattan, employing 60 people with $33m in annual sales. (Tom Whitwell)
  8. Anna Pohlmeyer, from the Delft Institute of positive design is devoted to understanding the science of happiness and the design for human flourishing and well-being. (Joelle Bataille)
  9. Samiya Parvez, co-founder of Andiamo, providing families with disabled children access to orthotics quickly & affordably using 3D scanning & printing. (Melanie Marchant)
  10. Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, although she described herself as an Analyst and her approach as “poetical science”. (Clare Midgley-Jewitt)
  11. Frida Kahlo, painter who was self-taught, curious about the world and a challenger of conventions. She painted her reality and you feel both the pain and joy. Sadly, only recognised after her death. (Richard Edgley)
  12. Lady Ottoline Morrell, flamboyant hostess of the Bloomsbury group, for being the ultimate facilitator. She inspired the minds of her lovers and friends, including Bertrand Russell, Virginia Woolf and Aldous Huxley, who regularly gathered at her house to discuss their ideas. (Rory Keddie)
  13. John Cage, the composer, who lived a very long life of experiments, laughter and eating mushrooms. (Tom Whitwell)
  14. Margaret Calvert, who helps us all get around by creating simpler designs for road, rail and airport signs in the 1960s. (Richard Warmsley)
  15. Michael Faraday, discovered the principles underlying electromagnetic induction without which there would be no electric guitars, no Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly or the Beatles. Ergo he is the father of rock ’n’ roll. (Dean Wilson)
  16. Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese-Australian, Muslim woman who has repeatedly smashed stereotypes associated with religion, race and gender, particularly in her work as a mechanical engineer on deep sea oil wells. (Emily Sears)
  17. Corey Bellemore, adidas-sponsored holder of the world Beer Mile record, who ran a mile and drank four cans of beer in 4 mins 34 seconds. (Toby de Belder)
  18. Nick Bostrom, Head of the Future of Humanity Institute, for imagining what comes next for our species. (Rory Keddie)
  19. Jahangir Khan is still considered to be the greatest player in the history of squash. Between 1981 and 1986, he won 555 matches consecutively, the longest winning streak by any athlete in top-level professional sports. (Peter Hay)
  20. Khan Tervel of Bulgaria, the 8th century military leader who managed to both infiltrate and overtake Constantinople without any bloodshed and at a later date defend it, and save the Byzantine Empire from a mass invasion by the Arab army. (Digby Killick)
  21. Kilian Jornet, ultra marathoner, extreme skier and mountaineer who once climbed Mount Everest twice in a week. (Toby de Belder)
  22. Liv Garfield, CEO of Severn Trent, for being the youngest female boss in the FTSE and a mum of two. (Rory Keddie)
  23. Ciara Judge jointly with her 2 friends won the grand prize in Google Science Fair for their research into how Diazotroph bacteria could be used to fight world hunger. (Peter Hay)
  24. Frank Skinner, living proof that being a recovering alcoholic need not dampen a lightning fast wit, or mean you are no longer fun to be around. (Paul Dawson)
  25. Corrie ten Boom, was the first female watchmaker in Holland and Christian who, along with her family, risked her own life to help Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II and saved nearly 800 lives. She was imprisoned for her actions. (Chesca Kirkland)
  26. David Chalmers for not being afraid to ask some of the hardest questions out there, including perhaps the hardest of all, ‘what is consciousness?’ (Rory Keddie)
  27. Roy Plomley, who, in 1941, devised the BBC Radio series Desert Island Discs while ‘contemplating ideas and deciding whether to retire to bed or not’. (Dean Wilson)
  28. Zaha Hadid for changing the face of architecture, shaping women’s role in the industry and for playing Drake’s Hotline Bling on Desert Island Discs. (Rory Keddie)
  29. Joanna Macy, an ex-CIA agent turned buddhist translator of poetry, who at nearly 90 years old is still proving that the best things in life are worth fighting for. (Charlie Palmer)
  30. Benjamin Hoff, author of the ‘The Tao of Pooh’ and (my favourite) ‘The Te of Piglet’ which explain the principles of philosophical Taoism using the characters from Winnie-The-Pooh, making Taoist principles accessible to westerners. These books are now regarded as essential reading for those studying Taoism and were on the New York Times bestseller list for 49 weeks. (Charlotte Schofield)
  31. Saul Bass, graphic designer and regular collaborator with Alfred Hitchcock, his work in the 1950’s defined cinematic opening title sequences, while his style is still mimicked today. (Andy Lewis)
  32. Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer programming, her inventions led to the development of some of the fundamental principles of programming and the programming language COBOL. She was also a Rear Admiral in the US Navy and is the owner of one of our favourite quotes: “It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission” (Digby Killick)
  33. Katherine Johnson, mathematician and literal computer for NASA in the 50’s & 60’s. Calculating flight paths, orbits, and landings by hand before assisting with the introduction of digital computers alongside Dorothy Vaughan. (Andy Lewis)
  34. Turia Pitt received burns to 65% of her body when she was trapped in a bushfire while running the now notorious Kimberly Ultramarathon. After 2 years of recovery and over 200 operations she defied every expectation to become an athlete again, competing in the Ironman World Championships. (Emily Sears)
  35. Ruby Wax, fearless comedian and mental health campaigner, for challenging stigma and making me laugh. (Rory Keddie)
  36. Amy Cuddy, who taught us that confidence can be faked. (Ariel Lerner)
  37. Anita Sarkeesian, the blogger who braved online abuse, rape threats and death threats to speak out on how women are portrayed in video games. (Jenn Torry)
  38. Ronnie O’Sullivan, his 147 break in 5:20 minutes in the World Championships back in 1997 is remarkable. He’s also a sub 35 min 10k runner! (Toby de Belder)
  39. Debbie Forster MBE, former CEO of Apps for Good; a tireless visionary who makes everyone she meets feel like they’re making the most valuable contribution, and who has achieved a 50/50 gender balance in her digital app design programme for schools. Now continuing the fight for diversity by getting big companies to sign up to the Tech Talent Charter. (Paul Dawson)
  40. Bill Drummond, a maverick who provokes and inspires in equal measure. Famous for the KLF, burning a million pounds and recording with Tammy Wynette. (Richard Edgley)
  41. Bill Bernbach, genius ad man in 1940s New York: “Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art.” (Amanda Howe)
  42. Richard Feynman, the bongo-playing physicist who proved that poor communication between NASA management and engineers was key to the Challenger disaster. (Daniel Kirk)
  43. Maureen and Tony Wheeler, the Lonely Planet backpacking pioneers. Their contribution to people meeting people, and realising they’re not so different, is overlooked. (Richard Warmsley)
  44. Hedy Lamarr, the Hollywood film star who collaborated with a playboy avant-garde musician to invent the spread-spectrum radio now used in every mobile phone. (Tom Whitwell)
  45. Spike Milligan, manic depressive with the most lateral-thinking brain ever. Inspiration for the Pythons and changed comedy forever, whose headstone reads “I told you I was ill.” (Paul Dawson)
  46. Ole Kirk Christiansen the Danish carpenter who began making wooden toys in 1932, calling his company leg godt or ‘Lego’. (Richard Edgley)
  47. Boyan Slat, CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, a group that develops advanced systems to rid world’s oceans of plastic. (Peter Hay)
  48. Tony Callaghan, world pie eating champion, launched a pie into space from The Fox pub in Roby Mill, Wigan on December 15 2016. Dozens watched in the pub car park as the pie floated into the sky. (Dean Wilson)

Previously by Nic Gray: Six behavioural flaws that make us stupid around money — and how banks could help

Nic Gray is a consultant at Fluxx, Vice-Chair of Waltham Forest Citizens Advice and a former Financial Ombudsman.