Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Top 10 Intellectual Power Couples

Power couples are quite fascinating to those on the outside: they're two typically successful, attractive, and charming people who are intriguing independently, but even more so as a pair. These pairings exist in all sorts of groups, including Hollywood, politics, and business, but some of the most intriguing power couples lie in the intellectual realm, as writers, philosophers, academics, and other intellectuals come together to not only share considerable intellect, but their lives as well. Read on, and we'll explore 10 power couples whose households have a much higher than average IQ.

  1. Niall Ferguson and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

    This intellectual power couple is so popular, they've attracted the attention of British tabloids, who have dubbed them "history man and fatwa girl." Niall Ferguson and Ayaan Hirsi Ali have enjoyed prominence independently, with Ferguson as an economic historian and Hirsi Ali as an activist, but together, they've taken on almost celebrity status. In fact, they first met at a fitting event: Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" party. Their attraction and affair stirred up a fair amount of controversy, as Ferguson was married at the time (and still is). Still, Ferguson and Hirsi Ali have forged a relationship and a fervent following as a power couple, both often found on cable news networks, as well as in speaking and writing engagements.

  2. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir

    Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir may have been one of the most influential intellectual power couples of the 20th century, but they started out as mere students in Paris when they met in 1929. She was an aspiring school teacher turned feminist pioneer, and he was a thief and teenage runaway until he realized his intellect was highly attractive to women, after which he became one of the world's most brilliant minds. They shared their lives together, but chose not to marry, and even gave each other freedom to have affairs. Together, they pushed new boundaries in romantic situations, including shared sexual partners, while also pushing intellectual boundaries in novels, plays, and philosophical works. Together, they were followed like globetrotting celebrities as they went everywhere to support the latest cause, including communism after meeting Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. And although their love affair had its dark and damaging moments, fans were as apt to follow their conquests and developments in love as much as they were in Sartre and de Beauvoir's intellectual causes.

  3. Shoshana Zuboff and James Maxmin

    If you ask Fast Company about Shoshana Zuboff and James Maxmin, they'll identify them as a business-intellectual power couple with excellent insight into the economic world. But ask their neighbors in coastal Maine, and they'll tell you about the "people with the deer farm." This couple seems to be living two different lives, one with Zuboff as a prophetic economic author, and Maxmin as the chief executive of high profile companies including Laura Ashley and Volvo UK, and another spent living the farm life. But despite their rural leanings, they have not lost touch with the market, and in fact, have written a book together: The Support Economy: Why Corporations are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism, in which they share critical examination of the causes of the economic crisis, and the fundamentals that must change in order for the world to take a new leap forward in wealth creation.

  4. Cass Sunstein and Samantha Power

    Sunstein and Power are regarded as a power couple in Washington DC, both "celebrity professors" who became Obama officials. He is a legal scholar, with positions at the University of Chicago Law School and Harvard Law School, as well as a position as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. She is a Pulitzer Prize winning author recognized for her studies in US foreign policy response to genocide, and now a special assistant to President Barack Obama as senior director for Multilateral Affairs as part of the National Security Council. There are rumors that Power may be on a highly influential track as a possible candidate for the next Secretary of State if Obama wins a second term as president, which would only serve to make this couple all more powerful. Appropriately, Sunstein and Power met while working together on the Obama campaign. They have one child, dubbed by bloggers as the "World's Smartest Baby," and in true power couple fashion, experienced paparazzi photos stalking Powers' baby bump.

  5. Harold Pinter and Lady Antonia Frasier

    Harold Pinter was a world famous playwright, and Lady Antonia Fraser is a well known and respected biographer. When they met in 1975, they initially did not expect to hit it off. In fact, they were both married to others, with children. Fraser attended an after-show party for the opening of one of Pinter's plays, and after a brief discussion, Pinter insisted that she stay, sparking a 33 year literary love affair that ended their two marriages and scandalized Britain. Together, they shared friendships with major intellectuals and artists, all while being hounded by the press for their seemingly inappropriate brand of love. In the end, Pinter died of cancer, leaving Fraser as a widow and a biographer with a new purpose: in 2010, Fraser published a celebrated memoir, Must You Go? chronicling their life and relationship together.

  6. Siri Hustvedt and Paul Auster

    Fans of intellectual prose can find a double whammy in the relationship of Siri Hustvedt and Paul Auster, a husband and wife who are both famous in their own right for their works of poetry, novels, essays, and nonfiction. They are particularly popular in the New York literary scene, and commonly referred to as a cultish literary couple, enjoying friends within the ranks of Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie. Auster is even regarded as "Mr. Cult New York Novelist" himself. In years past, Hustvedt was somewhat in Auster's shadow, despite great accomplishments herself, often feeling "like people were trampling over [her] to get to the great man" until she published her novel, What I Loved, a complex novel that sold well and shot Hustvedt to fame. And although we're sure feelings of jealousy do occasionally crop up, Auster says that it's "pure joy" to live with another writer: "It's never competitive, and I think we both are glad to have someone who understands and supports us." Even their daughter, Sophie Auster, is successful, with an album that was a cult hit in France.

  7. Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld

    Amy Chua has received a lot of attention lately for her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, in which she explains and gratifies her style of extreme parenting that pushes kids to perfection. Chua has received both praise and criticism for the work, but there's one undeniable fact: that she and her family have been shot into the limelight, exposing Chua and her husband Rubenfeld as an academic power couple. Of course, it's not hard to see why Chua and her husband Jed Rubenfeld expect a lot out of their two daughters: they themselves are both accomplished law academics and bestselling writers, and both are professors at Yale Law School. But according to the New York Times, they are simply a high profile version of Asian-Jewish academic power couples that seem to populate many university towns.

  8. Ann Hetzel and David Gunkel

    At Northern Illinois University, you'll find one half of a local power couple, professor David Gunkel. His wife, Ann Hetzel Gunkel, is a professor at Columbia College Chicago. They've been referred to as an academic power couple in the Chicago area, and the title seems to fit: they're both award-winning scholars with PhDs in philosophy. Their work has taken them all across the globe, and they're highly sought after by the news media for their expertise. But they're not the only ones in the family finding fame: they've raised a son, Stas Gunkel, who in 2008, just days before the November 4th presidential election, received a personal thank you letter from Barack Obama in response to the young Gunkel's political blog.

  9. Harry and Michele Elam

    Sometimes, academic power couples come as a package deal. That certainly seems to be the case for Stanford professors Harry and Michelle Elam, who are well known as a power couple on campus. She's an English professor, he a drama professor. The two enjoy the opportunity to work together, moderating talks, and even teaching a class together. The Elams seem to greatly enjoy the opportunity for collaboration in research as well, and are even working on a book together. Harry shares, "I absolutely love working with my wife!" as they both believe that their close work has enhanced their relationship, and seemingly furthered their status as an academic power couple at Stanford.

  10. Ralph and Carol Cicerone

    Ralph and Carol Cicerone are much beloved figures at the University of California Irvine, and certainly regarded as an intellectual power couple on campus and beyond. Ralph served as the chancellor of the college from 1998 to 2005, and Carol as a respected professor after they both began teaching at UCI as professors of science. The Cicerones used UCI as a jumping off point, and have continued to charm others with their intellect and combined power, as the two have moved on from the university to allow Ralph accept the prestigious position of president of the National Academy of Sciences.

Taken From Accredited Online Colleges

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