10 Best Writers Who Ever Lived


Compiling a list of the history's ten best writers is like skating on a heated swimming pool. Just when you get started, you find yourself in hot water.

The reason is: writing's completely subjective. What interests you may not interest me. We all read for different reasons.

But, here - in no particular order -- is another list of the world's top wordsmiths:

1. Aesop - Around 600 B.C. this Greek slave began to chronicle fables from around the world. His stories - like the one about the tortoise and hare - gave animals human qualities, and illustrated critical life lessons.

2. Aristophanes - Reportedly the first comedy writer, back in 400 B.C. He combined plays with song and repetition to provide entertainment for ancient Greeks.

3. Socrates - A contemporary of Aristophanes, he was likely history's first "self-help" writer. He taught people to seek ultimate truths by questioning conventional wisdom and examining their own beliefs. He said folks shouldn't accept opinion as fact.

4. Sophocles - Another guy with no last name. He created plays that usually centered on a single heroic character who chose an unpopular course of action.

5. William Shakespeare - This brilliant author's plays and phrases will live forever. If historians ever prove a theory that he was a composite of three dramatists, the list of "top ten" authors will immediately expand to 12.

6. Benjamin Franklin - This multi-talented American championed succinct writing, and his epigrams became part of our national heritage. Ben warned, "He that speaks much is much mistaken."

7. Abraham Lincoln - Sure, he nearly always heads the list of "best Presidents." But this Illinois native crafted some of this country's finest speeches, including the Gettysburg Address.

8. Mark Twain - He's been called America's finest author because he wrote in American dialect, using phrases and speech unique to the United States. He punctured pompous prose, and laced his stories with regional references.

9. Winston Churchill/Franklin Roosevelt - These Allied leaders led their countries through World War II, and their vivid words inspired millions.

10. You or me? - Who knows? There's an old saying that "there's always room at the top." Good writing can change minds, and great writing can change the world.

Rix Quinn wrote "Words That Stick: A Guide to Short Writing with Big Impact." It's a writing book to help people who hate to write... and it's available from your local bookstore, or from Amazon.com.

He speaks frequently to education and business groups, and may be contacted at his office, phone 817-920-7999.


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