Guess what! It’s my birthday again. As is tradition, I am obligated to post some clickbait list. Otherwise, did my birthday really happen? If you remember 365 days ago, I posted an article titled 23 Tech Topics to Tackle. Back then, I was a spry, young entrepreneur full of dreams and ideas. Today, I’m a jaded, old man. That’s why I’m not going to share some peppy list that inspires adventure and curiosity. Instead, I’m sharing a list of people who were way more successful than any of us, normal folk, by the age of 24.
Table of Contents
If you don’t watch hockey, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. If you do, then here’s a fun fact for you. Matt Murray, 23, is the current goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins. As of today, Murray holds not one but two Stanley Cups. If that’s not impressive enough, he technically held rookie status for both. That makes him the first and likely the last goaltender to ever receive such an accolade.
Did I mention that this all happened during the salary cap era? Insane.
Sticking with the athlete theme, let’s move on to my favorite swimmer, Katie Ledecky.
At age 20, Katie is an Olympic superstar. In 2012, Katie earned her first Olympic gold medal in the 800 meter freestyle by about half a second below the world record. Four years later, Katie found herself with four more Gold medals including two world records – one in the 400 meter freestyle and the other in the 800 meter freestyle.
Martin Luther King Jr.
While you likely know that MLK played a prominent role in the civil rights movement, did you know that he had a B.A. in sociology by 19 from Morehouse College? Just three years later, MLK received his B.Div from Crozer Theological Seminary. Shortly after, MLK enrolled at Boston University where he ultimately earned his PhD in systematic theology by 26. At 24, I’m just now thinking about enrolling in a PhD program.
With that kind of drive, no wonder he was so effective in tackling civil rights issues.
Ludwig van Beethoven
If you’re familiar with Beethoven, take a listen to the following piano sonata:
Beethoven completed this piece by 1783 when he was just a teen. Some of his more famous pieces weren’t written until he was in his early 30s, but I find it incredible that you can still find music written by a kid almost 300 years later. Have you even heard of such a thing today?
Alright, so maybe there are modern examples of successful teens in music. With great regret, I figured I’d mention the infamous Justin Bieber. As it turns out, we’re the same age. However, he managed to release Baby in 2010 when we were both 16:
By May 2013, Bieber sold 3.9 million digital downloads of this song. Insane.
Perhaps a better example of a modern-day musician with the same level of success as Beethoven is Michael Jackson. Remember the Jackson 5?
I believe Michael was just 13 in this video. By his 24th birthday, Michael recorded Thriller, the best-selling album of all time.
Millie Bobby Brown
Since we’re on the subject of young success, let’s talk Stranger Things. Up first on this sub-list is Eleven – or rather Millie Bobby Brown:
At the age of 13, she’s played a major role in two seasons of a Netflix Original Series. That’s insane. In addition, she’s had appearances on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family. And, she’s already cast for the Godzilla movie in 2019.
Another one of my favorite characters in Stranger Things is Dustin, played by Gaten Matarazzo.
The kid is hilarious, and he’s only 15. In addition to his work in Stranger Things, he’s also been featured on The Blacklist.
Finally, I’d like to feature my last favorite Stranger Things character, Steve Harrington. I suppose in real life you’d call him Joe Keery:
Among the entire cast, Joe is probably the closest to my age. In fact, season one was released when Joe was 24, so he makes the cut! Plus, he plays a great character.
Thus far, this list has mainly tackled performers and athletes (except MLK, of course). Is that the only way to be successful before 24? Ask Mark Zuckerberg who launched Facebook while in college in 2004. By 2010 when Zuckerberg was 26, Time marked him as one of the “100 wealthiest and influential people” in the world.
While you probably know Zuckerberg, I would be surprised if you’ve heard the name Matt Mullenweg. That said, Mullenweg is quite influential. In fact, he started developing WordPress, the platform my site is built on, at age 19.
Here’s a video of him talking about the dotblog movement.
Alright, back to another performer: Taylor Swift. Swift’s first self-titled album was release in 2006 when she was just 17. Two years later, she released Fearless. In fact, she managed to release two more albums before she was even 24. That’s four complete albums.
Here’s Love Story, a song that was released when Swift was about 19.
While we’re back to musicians, I figured I’d mention one of my favorites: Brendan Lukans. Brendan is the singer of Modern Baseball, and I’ve seen him and the band live a few times. In fact, I even got to see them in Liverpool while I was attending the University of Manchester. According to Google, Brendan was born in August 1992 which puts him at 25. I’d say he’s been pretty successful so far.
Here’s Brendan performing Fine, Great. I love this song.
No, I’m not talking about the football coach. This is Dan “Soupy” Campbell of The Wonder Years, the band. I know that’s a lot to clarify for someone who’s supposed to be successful, but listen. Soupy is on of my biggest heroes thanks to his music. Fortunately, he very narrowly makes the cut. With the release of The Upsides in 2010, Soupy would have been about 24 years old.
Here’s a live version of My Last Semester sung by Soupy.
You probably don’t recognize this name. That’s because Robby is more famous for his YouTube personality, Kid President. Take a look!
I believe Robby was just 10 in this video. Today, he’s 14, and this video has almost 42 million views. Meanwhile, I’m averaging about 10 views a day. After 4 million more days, I’ll be as successful as Robby!
Since we’re on the topic of YouTubers, let’s talk Ryan Higa. Ryan is four years older than me, but he was arguably most successful from 2009-2011 when he held the most subscribers on YouTube for 677 consecutive days. At that time, we would have been hovering around 20 years of age. Nice job, Ryan!
This video is just hilarious to me.
At the age of 21, Carrie Fisher played the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars. How’s that for success? In fact, the franchise is so popular, she still gets to play a prominent role in its third trilogy.
Here’s a small bit from her role in that first Star Wars movie.
Being a Penguins fan, I could have easily made this about Sid. Hell, I could have made this post about a number of guys in the NHL. However, I figured I’d give it to a previous Erie Otter, Connor McDavid. I have almost three full years on him, so he has tons of time to impress us. Check out these highlights:
You gotta love this kid. He’s fun to watch.
Can we just talk about this kid for a minute? He was ten when he started his Pokémon journey. I assume the next 800 episodes all take place in the hyperbolic time chamber, so the kid doesn’t age. Talk about success:
Check out this kid’s life.
Since we’ve already dove straight into the deep end, let’s talk about Little Mac. Apparently, the kid is 17, yet he’s able to take out just about anyone in a fight. You hear that Mayweather? Just check out how broken the kid is:
My friends and I once joked about Little Mac beating up on kids like Villager. Turns out, Villager is no kid. Apparently in Japan, you need to be at least 25 to be a Mayor. Guess who’s not making my list?
Since we’re already here, might as well dive deeper. Okabe Rintarou is the protagonist in Steins;Gate, one of my favorite anime of all time. In this anime, Okabe is essentially a mad scientist who develops time travel at the age of 18. Here’s a 10/10 clip of him getting thrown out of an airport in the US:
If you haven’t seen this, you probably should.
How deep can we go, you ask? Well there’s three left, so I might as well dive a bit deeper. Kousei is a 15-year-old piano prodigy in Your Lie in April. Despite his incredible success, he finds that he can’t even play piano anymore. Fortunately, he finds a friend who is willing to give it her all to see him succeed. Unfortunately, she has a terrible illness. Bust out the tissues because this one is rough.
If you’re looking for a good cry, I recommend this anime. Unfortunately, I still can’t get some of my friends to watch. They’re too scared.
Up next, Satoru Fujinuma of Erased. At the start of the anime, Satoru is a 29-year-old man, so that technically disqualifies him from this list. However, what makes him unique is that he is sort of like a 4-dimensional creature. In other words, he exists at all times – not just the present. Anyway, Satoru spends most of the anime as an 11-year-old version of himself. That’s because he has a super power which draws him back to time periods where he can stop bad things from happening. Basically, he solves a major mystery as an 11-year-old. How’s that for success?
Also, here’s four minutes of cute scenes from the anime. Now, it’s time to really go off the deep end! 😉
If you aren’t prepared, I’ll just preface by saying that Ken Kaneki is half-human, half-ghoul. In Tokyo Ghoul, he’s just a college kid who has an unfortunate run-in with a ghoul. With some luck, he manages to escape with his life but not without acquiring a few new ghoul organs via surgery. After recovering, Kaneki finds himself in a bit of a predicament. Just take a look:
Despite this condition, Kaneki attempts to bridge the gap between humans and ghouls for the greater good. I’d say, in that respect, he’s pretty successful.
Until Next Year
And, that’s all she wrote. I meant for this article to be a bit satirical, so hopefully it gets some laughs. Now, what should I do with this year? I’m only 24 once!
As always, thanks for your support. 🙂
The ACT/SAT discourse is back, and I found a pretty cool article debunking many of the common arguments for them.
The Sample Programs repository is in its fourth Hacktoberfest. Are you interested in making a contribution?