4. Heidi Murkoff
Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Time Warner
Even in the instant answer world of the Internet, the modern classic What to Expect When You’re Expecting, first published in 1984, still holds an exalted spot on bookshelves. Its author, Heidi Murkoff, is the unofficial godmother of millions of babies whose parents rely on the month-by-month guide leading up to the big event.
The numbers astound: USA Today has said that 93 percent of pregnant women who will read a pregnancy book choose Murkoff’s. There are 17 million copies in print in 30 languages.
Murkoff, who began the book when pregnant with the first of her two children, presides over an empire of resources that covers fertility, pregnancy, babies, and toddlers. The What to Expect Foundation provides assistance to low-income moms. A movie out this month loosely based on Murkoff’s work stars Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, and Chris Rock.
Murkoff’s unwavering dedication is touching. “The highlight of every day is sitting down with my iPad after dinner,” she says, “and answering questions, gobbling up baby photos, and talking shop with parents.”
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