Feb. 11, 2016.

We are delighted to share with you Watkins’ 2016 list of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People – spiritual teachers, activists, authors and thinkers that change the world.


Watkins 100 List Spiritual teachers and authorsThe list came out in print in the Spring issue of Watkins Mind Body Spirit magazine (you can get a copy of the current issue or take out a subscription directly from Watkins Books).

Watkins bookshop in London has been encouraging spiritual discovery and providing seekers with esoteric knowledge for over 120 years. In 2011, we started publishing the 100 list with the goal of celebrating the world’s living spiritual teachers. Our special magazine issue features 16 pages dedicated to interesting details, bios, photos and highlights about each person on the list. As you read through this list, we hope that you feel as inspired as we are by each individual’s significant impact.

There are plenty of newcomers on this year’s list including the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, physicist and environmental activist Vandana Shiva and poet and philosopher Mark Nepo (see the interview on page 26 in the Spring issue, no.45).

2016 Spiritual 100 list at a glance:

1 Dalai Lama35 Thomas S. Monson68 Ajahn Brahm
2 Pope Francis36 Gary Snyder69 Gary Zukav
3 Desmond Tutu37 Alex Grey70 Anita Moorjani
4 Eckhart Tolle38 Pema Chödrön71 Tony Robbins
5 Deepak Chopra39 Francis Chan72 Robert Bly
6 Paulo Coelho40 Mooji73 William Bloom
7 Alice Walker41 Vandana Shiva74 Michael Bernard
8 Rhonda Byrne42 Rob BellBeckwith
9 Alejandro Jodorowsky43 Amma – Sri Mata75 James Redfield
10 Oprah WinfreyAmritanandamayi Devi76 James van Praagh
11 Matthew Fox44 Iyanla Vanzant77 Fritjof Capra
12 Louise L. Hay45 Rowan Williams78 Tara Brach
13 Jaggi Vasudev46 Neale Donald Walsch79 Mark Nepo
14 Graham Hancock47 Ali al-Sistani80 Steve Taylor
15 Arianna Huffington48 Julia Cameron81 Starhawk
16 Elizabeth Gilbert49 Byron Katie82 Huston Smith
17 Ram Dass50 Robert Thurman83 Caroline Myss
18 Robin Sharma51 Bruce Lipton84 Adyashanti
19 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar52 Dan Millman85 Richard Saul Wurman
20 Karen Armstrong53 Jack Canfield86 David Frawley
21 Jon Kabat-Zinn54 Prem Rawat87 Seyyed Hossein Nasr
22 Marianne Williamson55 Dadi Janki88 Thomas Keating
23 Martin Seligman56 Brian Weiss89 Richard Gere
24 Rupert Sheldrake57 Daisaku Ikeda90 Gangaji
25 Sam Harris58 Richard Bandler91 Elaine Pagels
26 Richard Bach59 Richard Rohr92 Lee Carroll
27 Thomas Moore60 Clarissa Pinkola Estés93 Lynne McTaggart
28 Don Miguel Ruiz61 Gregg Braden94 Mantak Chia
29 Esther Hicks62 David Steindl-Rast95 Sogyal Rinpoche
30 Justin Welby63 Stanislav Grof96 Malala Yousafzai
31 Andrew Weil64 Doreen Virtue97 Shakti Gawain
32 James Lovelock65 Thich Nhat Hanh98 Michael A. Singer
33 Ken Wilber66 Jack Kornfield99 Sharon Salzberg
34 Daniel Goleman67 David Deida100 Claudio Naranjo

To discover more about each spiritual teacher, get a copy of issue 45,Spring 2016.

There are several factors that were taken into account when compiling the list. The main three criteria are:

1) The person has to be alive as of January 1st, 2016
2) The person has to have made a unique and spiritual contribution on a global scale
3) The person is frequently googled, appears in Nielsen Data, has a Wikipedia page, and is actively talked about throughout the Internet By taking into account the amount of times that a person is googled or how many times their Wikipedia profile is viewed, the list gains a highly democratic and transparent parameter. Additionally, we were highly selective in creating this list and did our best to remove candidates who spread messages that were hateful or intolerant. Ultimately, this list is meant to celebrate the positive influence of today’s spiritual teachers.