9 Most Successful Men Of 2012

by: Joseph On  Thursday, December 27, 2012


While we tend to focus on the debacles and tragedies of a given year, it’s also important to acknowledge the successes, enabling us to appreciate our accomplishments over the march of time, and perhaps use them as focal points for future endeavors. If you’re reading this, I hate to tell you: You probably didn’t make the cut this year as one of the nine most successful men of 2012. But. But. But…let this serve as your benchmark for next year, whether you’re striving to create Netflix but for puppy rentals or, I don’t know, a baby pacifier that tastes like bacon. Whatever your dreams are, in your pursuits, use this list of nine folks who got it right in 2012 as your beacon.

Nate Silver


The 34 year-old wasn’t exactly on a track to end up on a list like this. One can imagine that very few statisticians and pollsters are in it for the glory, after all. But after correctly calling (originally anonymously) the winners of 49 of the 50 states in the 2008 presidential election, he began to make a name for himself as a talking head, polling expert, and general genius when it comes to predictions. So when the 2012 election came along, people looked for lightning to strike twice, turning to Silver’s expertise via his blog fivethirtyeight.com. In case you were wondering, the name of the blog isn’t just a random number that didn’t happen to be occupied by GoDaddy, but the total number of electoral votes. You’re smarter already, and I’m just a guy telling you about Nate Silver. Imagine how people feel after reading the man himself.

Stephen Colbert


Having gone from Jon Stewart’s second fiddle on The Daily Show to Jon Stewart’s second fiddle via The Colbert Report, the Colbert now stands alone, having developed an as, if not more loyal following. He’s actually become such a source of pride among Americans and citizens of his native South Carolina that he was leading early polls to determine who should replace incumbent Jim DeMint, who is vacating his senate seat at year’s end. Thankfully, such matters aren’t conducted by phone polls, but the TV star has garnered the attention of the governor, who will ultimately make the call. But to go from a gimmick correspondent to a gimmick talk show host to a man who is using his gimmickry to vocalize the absurdity of American life and politics is no jive.

Felix Baumgartner


It may not have cured cancer or reversed global warming, but Felix Baumgartner’s fall from space (128,000 feet up), filled the same need that the daredevils and astronauts did in decades past. However, in the recent past, the closest thing we’ve gotten to an iconic daredevil is David Effin’ Blaine, and the space program is as much remembered for the Challenger tragedy and Hubble telescope fiasco. So when someone stepped up to set a record, no one raised an eyebrow when that candidate was brought forth by Red Bull, rather than some hegemonic nation. We’ll take our thrills and inspiration where we can get them. You can argue that it didn’t change the world, but Felix Baumgartner’s jump served as one of those increasingly rare moments when everyone in the world was rooting for someone. And that’s cool enough.

LeBron James


Just kidding. he’s the worst. But my rather diligent search for a sports figure who merits ranking turned up rather bleak. LeBron James found his way to a lackluster championship in a shortened season, Gary Bettman managed to once again destroy a hockey season through mismanagement of a labor dispute (which is actually impressive, but not in a good way). There were champions, and there were underdogs, but no character rose above the rest. So let’s just use this spot to say we tried, and hope for a few more compelling sports stories last year. (And maybe if Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow had managed to end 2012 as well as they started it, they might be headlining this entry. But they didn’t, so they don’t.) But tangentially related to the world of sports is…



A Brooklyn native has managed to parlay his meek stake (by percentage standards, anyway) into his emergence of the face of his newly-moved hometown franchise, the Brooklyn Nets. I mean, a rapper became the face of a sports team that is actually owned by a gargantuan Russian billionaire. Way to steal the spotlight, Hove. His net worth was estimated by Forbes at $500 million. He was photographed seemingly countless times with President Obama. He managed to get his month-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, a songwriting credit back in February. And he rapped a little, too with Kanye on the later dates of the Watch the Throne tour. Not to bury the lede, but the world’s most famous rapper wasn’t even known best for his rapping in 2012. That’s fame.

Barack Obama


A little on the nose, but we’re not going for subtlety here. Well, sometimes we are, but if you win the office of the Presidency of the United States, even if it’s not your first time to do so, I’m going to make the judgment call that you had a damn good year. Good enough to make the cut here.

Quentin Tarantino


Taking a flier here, since Django Unchained came out on Christmas Day and the dust hasn’t settled from either box office or critical reaction, but if history is any indication, a year that sees Tarantino release a film is a year that we can deem Tarantino one of the most successful men in America. Continuing with Tarantino’s career-long theme of…revenge, Django is a period piece the anticipation of which managed to overshadow the release of a film about Abraham Lincoln directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. That’s success right out of the gate.

Tim Cook

tim cook

To say that Tim Cook has ably filled Steve Jobs’ shoes as Apple’s CEO would be a bit cavalier at this point, but the fact that he’s still wearing those shoes at the end of 2012, following the latter’s untimely death is a testament to stepping up under immense public scrutiny and forging ahead. While Jobs’ style was to stick to his guns for Apple controversies, like the reception issues, Tim Cook has taken things in the other direction, apologizing for the Apple Maps fiasco like a toddler with his hand in the cookie jar. Time will tell how Cook’s efforts are remembered, but in this instance, not dropping the ball equates to wild success.

George Lucas

george lucas

Lucas double-dipped in success this year, all due to one big move, and no, I’m not at all referring to his early 2012 feature I. Rather, I’m talking about the sale of his Star Wars franchise to Disney, which a) made him even richer than he was before, ponying up $4 billion to the diminutive bearded man for the rights to his studio, which consists largely of the rights to every facet of Star Wars. That’s almost ten dollars for every time he pissed off a fan with a “modernization” of his films. And b), George Lucas solidified the legacy of Star Wars by ensuring that George Lucas will never be able to exercise creative control over the franchise again. Addition by subtraction in this instance.