Sorry, Harry Potter fans—JK Rowling isn't that influential
Boy wizards and broomstick games do not add up to an iPhone revolution or saving the world economy. So, apologies to "Harry Potter" fans, J.K. Rowling doesn't belong on the CNBC list of the top 25 business movers and shakers over the last 25 years.
She wrote a good book. Plain and simple.
Sure, it turned into a series of books (more than 400 million copies sold, according to Scholastic), with an accompanying set of blockbuster films (nearly $8 billion in box office receipt, according to Box Office Mojo) and a theme-park attraction at Universal Studios (which is owned by CNBC parent NBCUniversal). Yes, Harry Potter is big business. But it's not a transformative business … and that's what our CNBC list is about. (Here are our criteria)
Of course, I'm just one voice in the mix. We have a panel of top CNBC editors and four well-regarded outside experts reviewing candidates — as well as viewer/reader input — to decide on the final list of 25 most influential business leaders There have been many debates and discussions. Some are ongoing.
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Sigh. Parsons led the media giant when it was pumping out a good portion of the Harry Potter films through its Warner Bros. studio. Maybe the fact that her books made a ton of money for him taints his point of view?
It's the person who figured out that Rowling's book should be published and the person who figured out how to turn it into a major franchise who should be considered. They made the business moves. Rowling wrote books.
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Sure, they are fabulous books (well, the last couple could have used an editor). And her insistence that only British actors appear in the films may have saved them (Justin Bieber as Harry? Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dumbledore?!).
I agree — she made a good product. But the product didn't change how people consume books or films or turn around a financial disaster. Our final list of 25 movers and shakers should be about that … not good reads.
I rest my case.
(A fair amount of people disagree with me, judging by the votes. You can vote here).