Russell Brand voted world’s 4th most influential thinker

Russell Brand. (Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett)
Love him or loathe him, there’s no escaping Russell Brand. Now the controversial comedian and self-styled revolutionary has been voted the fourth most influential global thinker by an leading current affairs magazine.

Prospect magazine, which compiles an annual list of internationally renowned thinkers, has placed Brand among authors, philosophers and economists in this year’s top 10.

He sits between Canadian economist and activist Naomi Klein, who came third, and Nobel-winning US economist Paul Krugman, who came fifth.

Topping the list is French economist Thomas Piketty, author of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” followed by left-wing Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

The shortlist of 50 names was compiled by the magazine’s editorial team, with individuals selected for their leadership in their fields and for engaging communities with critical issues in new and original ways.

Readers were then allowed to cast their vote to select a top 10.

Russell Brand experienced a whirlwind 2014 with the publication of his latest book, “Revolution,” thrusting him into the spotlight as one of the UK’s most controversial figures.

READ MORE: Russell Brand leads ‘sleepover protest’, activists reoccupy vacant properties

In his book he calls for the eradication of the nation state, huge redistribution of wealth and a radical overhaul of society where “corporate tyranny, ecological irresponsibility and economic inequality” are ended.

Speaking about the results, Prospect editor Bronwen Maddox said: “This was voted for entirely by readers and does not represent Prospect’s views. Russell Brand has made an important contribution to conversation and ideas over the past year.”

“We have an initial list of 50 people for readers to vote from and, given the platform Brand has been given on the BBC and the Guardian, we felt he should be included. It is a list that is very dependent on events over the past year, so it is not surprising, with the recent release of Revolution and all the conversation around it, that Brand appears on this list.”

“But this was very much Thomas Piketty’s race,” she added. “He was well beyond all the others in terms of votes.”

Prospect magazine gave Brand’s book a scathing review, criticizing his “constant changes of tone from whimsical memoir to somber pseudo-philosophic discourse,” which they said was “unpleasantly jarring” and “gratingly predictable.”

Brand is using some of the profits from his book, however, to fund a café on the New Era estate in Hackney, a cause which he has championed and supported over the past year.

He was part of a group of protesters who successfully resisted evictions.

The café, which will be called the Trew Era Café, will be used to raise funds for local community projects.

Prospect readers’ top 10

1. Thomas Piketty, French economist

2. Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister

3. Naomi Klein, US 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