Who's Who in America contains a diverse cross-section of American achievers, serving as a historical record of success and documenting trends and changes in America's professional landscape at any one time. Here are just a few interesting facts from the 2009 edition.
There are more graduates of Harvard University listed this year than any other college, making it the top source of future achievers in America. Rounding out the top five are Columbia University, University of California, Yale University, and University of Michigan.
In this age of technology it may not come as a surprise to many that Microsoft, with 122 current employees listed, is the most represented corporation.
Proving that greatness can be found in every corner of America, the top 5 most represented cities are New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston.
Just as Americans come from all ethnicities and nationalities, Who's Who in America includes many listees born outside the United States. The top five foreign birth nations represented in this edition are India, China, Canada, Germany, and England.
While on the surface, inclusion in Who's Who is an acknowledgment of individual achievement, on another level, it is recognizing membership in an elite class who claim to be achievers. Members of the elite media, while many may not actually be listed in Who's Who, conform to the specifications of the class: have attended the specified, or comparable, colleges and have resided in one of the specified cities, even if it is not their current city of residence.
Obama is stunning in how completely he has obtained these markers of the class. He received his undergraduate degree from Columbia and his law degree from Havard. He lived in Los Angeles when he attended Occidental, New York when he attended Columbia and then Chicago and Washington D.C. Even his multicultural ethnicity proves this system is based on merit, not inherited "social class" as it once was understood. Thus, Obama's rise is the validation of this new version of social class in America, and validates all the others whose claims to social class are based on this system.
Conversely, Palin has achieved without obtaining any of the markers of the class. She graduated from the University of Idaho and did not attend graduate school. She has lived only in Alaska, Hawaii and Idaho. She has absolutely no claims to elite status based on education or city of residence. Her rise to the most elite government position in the America would invalidate all those who base their claims to elite status on these markers.