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Back in 2009, AskMen named Don Draper, the leading character of the AMC’s television series ‘Mad Men’ the most influential man in the world. If it doesn’t take to live in the present time – or to be real at all – to become influential and successful, then what does it really take?

Don Draper keeps more than just his head above water

Most of us have wished at least once to have been able to change their identity, bury the past and start life anew, in another time, at another place and with other people around. The chosen few might have even got the chance to do it, but Don Draper (marvelously played by Jon Hamm) took that chance as well.

Nobody really knows who he is, what is his real name, where he comes from, but his mere talent and wit took him far. Son of a prostitute who died during childbirth, raised by an abusive father and stepmother, Don Draper never even graduated from a high school  – he fled to the Korean war, instead, where he mysteriously obtained his new identity by swapping the dog tags with the real Don Draper who was killed in action.

People are usually uncomfortable with his mysteriousness, but his talent is more important than that – Don Draper became the  Creative Director in one agency and the founding partner of another. It’s not really where you are from, who are your parents and what are your academic credentials, but what you really know and who you really are. It turns out that Draper has a unique gift – he knows what other people want. Nothing can be more lucrative than that in this world.

Draper is a seducer, his life is full of sex and affairs, but it’s only one reflection of his talent. What makes him truly unique is his personal ethics, despite his moral ambiguity, arrogance and cynicism – Don Draper is the man who protects those weaker than himself in numerous subtle ways, and that is the essence of what Don Draper truly is and the best answer to the question why so many people want to be a little bit like him.

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