Hottest Heads of State

A scientific and unbiased ranking of world leaders in order of hotness.

Hottest Heads of State Through History: French Presidents

A good way to learn about world history is to glance through a series of foreign leaders’ portraits and imagine what kinds of things might have happened under their rule. Here, we’ll help!

Afterwards, if you want even more help learning about France, check out part one of this two-part series. There; now it’s like you earned two degrees in French history!

Patrice de MacMahon

Patrice de MacMahon, 1873-1879

President MacMahon is depicted with one foot on a railroad track to symbolize his victory at the Battle of Magenta over a train.

Jean Casimir-Perier

Jean Casimir-Perier, 1894-1895

“My head feels fine. Why does everyone keep asking if my head feels okay?”

Felix Faure, 1895-1899

At the turn of the 19th century, heads of state throughout Europe feared assassination by anarchists. That’s why it was probably a relief to Faure when he died peacefully, at his office, while receiving something from his mistress that we can’t say on a family-friendly website.

Paul Deschanel

Paul Deschanel, 1920

Are you feeling an urge to smooth out Paul Deschanel’s moustache? That’s exactly what he wants you to do. A tangled moustache is the oldest trick in the book.

Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle, 1959-1969

Oooh, who is this tall drink of ears?

Valery Giscard d'Estaing

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, 1974-1981

Call your cable provider and tell them you want the Valéry Giscard d’Estaing channel! Then call us and tell us how the rest of that conversation played out.

Francois Mitterrand

François Mitterrand, 1981-1995

In France, this is how you dress if you’re the founder of the Socialist Party.

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron, 2017-present

Macron is getting a little hot under the collar. Stick around and maybe he’ll take off his shirt! Or maybe you’ll take off your shirt. Or maybe you’ll discover that you weren’t wearing a shirt to begin with.

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New Candle Alert!

Titanic-Scented Candle

As an avid reader of this website, you already know that we have a candle business. What you may NOT know is that we sell about 80% of our candles between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I make them all by hand. And this means that by mid-December, my body is experiencing an accelerating cascade of physical breakdowns, much like the spacecraft in Apollo 13.

Fortunately, the solution to this problem is pretty obvious. (And no, it is not to hire someone.) It is to start making candles that people will buy at other times of the year. Like birthdays, baby showers, housewarmings, and the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Birthday candle

Birthday Candle

Etsy | Amazon

How do you pick out a birthday present for someone without revealing that you have no idea what they like or what their interests are? Introducing the Birthday Candle! It’s the perfect gift for everyone, because everyone has a birthday.

What does it smell like?
It smells exactly like a freshly baked birthday cake. It is really a dead-on scent. We’re proud of this one.

Coincidentally, it also smells exactly like our Marie Antoinette candle. You see, we buy fragrance oils in bulk, so that we can pass the savings on to you, the fragrance oil end-user. This means that if a particular candle doesn’t sell well, we try making other candles with the same oil. We bought 10 pounds of cake fragrance oil, so we’ve got a ways to go. If the Birthday-Scented Candle doesn’t sell, then next up will be “Haunted Bakery,” or “Cake, the band,” or “Prison Break.” (We would hide a tiny metal file inside that last one, and market it to people in prison.)

Who should I buy it for?
Obviously, you should buy it for someone who is having a birthday. But it also makes a great gift for someone who is not celebrating a birthday, but who is a jerk and so you want to stick it to them.

-“Hi. I got this for your birthday! Happy Birthday!”

-“But it isn’t my birthday.”

-“Oh? That’s weird. Because you really look like you’ve aged. In fact, I assumed I’d missed a few of your birthdays, which is why I got you such a decadent gift.”

Can you end a sentence in a preposition, as in “Who should I buy it for?”
YES. Whenever some pedant claims you can’t end a sentence with a preposition, have them come talk to me, and I’ll explain English grammar to them. With my fists.

OK, but shouldn’t it also be “whom” instead of “who,” since it takes the accusative case and…

Housewarming Candle

Housewarming Candle


Moving is the absolute worst. Lots of things make it horrible, but one of them is the experience of arriving at your new home and being enveloped by someone else’s scent like a musty old quilt.

The best way to solve this is to mark a new home with your own scent. And the most hygenic way to mark a new home with your own scent is to light a scented candle.

That’s why this is the perfect housewarming gift. When a close friend says, “Hey, are you free Saturday? I could really use some help moving,” you can reply, “Sorry, I can’t help you this Saturday, because I prefer not to. But here is a candle!”

Who should I buy it for?
Someone who is moving, and who can be trusted not to burn down their new house because they left a lit candle unattended.

What does it smell like?
When we moved into our house, the housewarming gift we received from our next-door neighbor was an alarming story about why our yard had a privacy fence.

But in an imaginary, idealized version of America, people give each other delicious baked goods as housewarming gifts, as if to say, “Now that you’ve got a nice big house with wide doorways, there’s no need to watch your figure.” So, that’s what it smells like. Delicious, baked goods. Kind of cinnamony, but not cloying.

Baby-Scented Candle

Baby-Scented Candle

Etsy | Amazon

Did you know that it’s traditional to give someone a gift when they have a baby? No? Well, that explains why so many of your friends harbor secret grudges against you.

Who should I buy it for?
This is an important question, because a lot of people wrongly assume this is a candle that you buy for a baby. This is a bad idea, because why would a baby want a baby-scented candle? I mean, would Batman want a Batman-Scented Candle? Probably not. (Unless he was using it as a decoy.) No, this is a present for the parent of a baby. And chances are, you know someone who is pregnant right now. Maybe it’s you!

What does it smell like?
We think it smells exactly like baby powder. A friend of ours suggested that it smells like a newborn’s scalp. But we can’t confirm that. We avoided all physical contact with our children for the first six months of their lives, because we were grossed out by how slimy they looked on day one.

Hamilton-Scented Candle

Hamilton-Scented Candle

Etsy | Amazon

You may remember Alexander Hamilton as the founding father who experienced a huge wave of popularity about a year ago. We didn’t want to capitalize on that wave, because we don’t want to make too much money. That’s why we didn’t launch a Hamilton candle until now.

What does it smell like?
Evoking the scents of young Hamilton’s ocean voyage to America, it combines the wooden planks of a tall-masted sailing ship, casks of Caribbean rum, and an ocean breeze.

Who should I buy it for?
Buy it for people who hated the musical Hamilton.

Titanic-Scented Candle

Titanic-Scented Candle

Etsy | Amazon

If this candle sells well, we’re going to do a whole series of candles based on heartbreaking disasters that involved catastrophic loss of life. Hindenburg! Krakatoa! Black Plague! Boy, we are just going to print money with these. Would you like to invest in our candle company?

Who should I buy it for?
Here is who you probably should not buy it for: survivors of the Titanic.

What does it smell like?
We think it smells like water. But that means it does not have a very strong scent, because water doesn’t have much of a smell. If you don’t believe me, go sniff a glass of water right now. See, it doesn’t smell like vodka. You only associate the smell of vodka with water because you always drink vodka in the shower.

What happens to the wax Titanic and the wax iceberg when you light the candle?
You’re just going to have to buy one to find out!

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We Went on a Book Tour

One thing you might get to do if you write a book is go on a book tour. This means going to bookstores in different cities, talking about and/or reading from your book, and signing copies.

As you may know, we wrote a book, and we went on a whirlwind tour of bookstores in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. And yes, it is still a tour if it’s just two cities. (If it’s just one city, it’s a residency, like Britney Spears is doing in Las Vegas.)

Anyhow, our book tour was a wild ride! Do you want to hear about it? No? Too late!

JD and Kate Dobson

Our presentation included “featured typos,” and also an audience participation section where people voted on whether or not our presentation should have included featured typos. We were pretty much doing everything we could to avoid talking about the U.S. presidents.

Day 1: The Novel Neighbor, St. Louis

Ahead of our first-ever bookstore appearance, an old coworker of mine predicted that “it’ll be funny, then it’ll get funnier, then it’ll get awkward.” I delivered on this when someone in the audience commented that an author’s work to publicize his book never ends. I replied that it does end, because everything ends, because someday all of us will die. This did not get the laugh I was hoping for!

Highlights of this appearance included:

– In reference to George W. Bush, I mocked cowboy hats on non-cowboys as an affectation, having forgotten that my dad was in the audience, wearing a cowboy hat. (My dad is not a cowboy in the traditional sense.)

– I came this close to spilling my cocktail on the stack of our books the bookstore was hoping to sell. This was, actually, a heartbreaking miss for The Novel Neighbor. Just imagine what you could charge today for a first-edition For Whom the Bell Tolls on which Hemingway had spilled a drink. $20? $25? A lot, anyway.

Hottest Heads of State

We left a little something in the hotel nightstand for any weary business travelers who are searching for meaning in a troubled world.

Day 2: Comfort Suites, Uniontown, PA

I just want to say that Uniontown looked really nice! I don’t mean this as a dig at labor unions, but I was picturing Uniontown as being a bunch of steel mills and dive bars and country music and rusty pickup trucks. (Basically, a pickup truck commercial, but with rust.)

Our hotel’s suite did not have a separate bedroom for our kids, which was my fault. I’d assumed the word “suite” means “more than one room,” but apparently it just indicates that someone decided to call it a suite. I wish I still had an office job, so that when people asked if I had an office or a cubicle, I could say, “Well technically, I have a suite.”

Day 3: Embassy Suites, Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

This hotel had an indoor pool, which is how we got our kids to agree to go to Washington in the first place. It also had an arcade, where our functionally vegetarian kids opted to play “Big Game Hunt.” I kept accidentally shooting the female emu or wildebeest or whatever, at which point my safari guide would admonish me in his lovely accent, “You shot a cow!” So, I guess I’m either very bad or very good at hunting, depending on how you feel about cows.

East City Bookshop event

Uh oh, I’m wearing the same outfit I wore at the previous event. Now you know!

Day 4: East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

We miscalculated how long it would take us to get to Eastern Market from Dupont. And, consequently, we had to sit around a Le Pain Quotidien for an hour and a half, wondering how we’d tell people where we’d been, since we couldn’t pronounce Le Pain Quotidien. I drank a five-hour-energy, secretly, in the bathroom, because it is shameful.

Highlights included:

– Someone asked, “You seem like you’re straight, so how is it you’re able to rate men on their attractiveness?” I was taken aback by the question and don’t remember what I said, but what I should have said was that straight men can, in fact, tell if other men are good-looking. And in fact it’s critical that they do so, because you never want to be below-average in your friend group.

– Our agent was in the audience and brought a few of her friends, presumably to show them the kind of idiot writers she has to deal with.

Hottest Heads of State word seach

Our hats are off to the Politics & Prose customer who spotted one of the Russian-language terms in our Trump word search. (The term is a cognate, so we’re not SUPER impressed, but still.)

Day 5: Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C.

Politics & Prose is one of the most famous independent bookstores in the country. When we arrived, I told our host I felt a little arrogant doing a book event there. Without missing a beat, he said, “You should.” And he was joking, but in that way you joke when you’re joking but also you’re not joking.

Truth be told, I also felt a little intimidated, so beforehand I drank a beer two doors down at Little Red Fox. And when I say “drank,” I mean “I drank a 16 oz can of beer in approximately one minute, then stood around pretending to drink from an empty can for another ten minutes to play it cool.”

Now, it’s probably worth mentioning that one thing I don’t know a lot about is the U.S. presidents.

By in large, I’ve been able to conceal this ignorance whenever I get a tough question about presidential history by changing the subject to LBJ’s penis. (Incidentally, this is a great way to swiftly change the subject no matter what you’re talking about.) But my streak of faking it ended at Politics & Prose. One after another, attendees approached the mic to ask questions to which I did not know the answer, and in some cases didn’t even understand. Fortunately Kate does know a lot about the presidents, and so I just punted all the tough questions to her.

Highlights included:

– Our publisher had blown up the Trump campaign word search from our book for each event, but only at Politics & Prose did anyone actually circle words. This proves what everyone knows about Politics & Prose customers, which is that they love writing on things with sharpies. If you don’t believe me, check out the restrooms at Politics & Prose!

– Our editor’s parents were in the front row. I couldn’t bear to make eye contact with them because I’m worried their daughter will get in trouble at work for signing off on our book.

Day 6: Great Wolf Lodge, Mason, Ohio

We had planned on arriving at Great Wolf Lodge in the mid-afternoon so our kids could have plenty of time in the water park. But this was plan disrupted when we hit an snowstorm going through Pennsylvania. Then our plan was disrupted further when we hit the same snowstorm again going the other direction, because as it turns out, I had gotten on the Pennsylvania Turnpike going the wrong way.

I could write 100,000 words on Great Wolf Lodge* but here are some general observations.

– This is obviously not exclusive to Great Wolf Lodge, but seeing a bunch of your fellow citizens in their swimsuits is weird.

– I fell off my inner tube inside one of the long, tubular slides, and had a harrowing experience trying to climb back on and continue down the slide. It was exhilarating and terrifying. Everyone should experience a close brush with death, like I did, at Great Wolf Lodge.

– No one recognized us and asked us about our book, which was disappointing.

And then we drove home. We spent the whole 7+ hours listening to the audiobook of a biography of Harry S. Truman, because we were doing an interview with the Riverfront Times the next day, and for some reason we were under the impression they were going to ask us a bunch of questions about Harry S. Truman. (We were asked no questions about Harry S. Truman. But I regret nothing, because Harry S. Truman led a fascinating life.)

In closing, I would like to express my deep gratitude to everyone who came to one of our events. I don’t know if we’ll do anything like this in the future. But if nothing else, the next time we take a family vacation, we might try to squeeze in a book signing so that we can write off the whole trip as a business expense. So if you’re in Orlando, keep an eye out for us at whatever bookstore is closest to Disney World!

*Henry Holt & Co.: I will absolutely do this if you’d like me to. I can just live there for a year, perched in the rafters above the water park Phantom of the Opera-style, recording my observations and also my accelerating descent into madness.

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Help a Statue of Young Ronald Reagan in a Bathing Suit Get Erected

Young Ronald Reagan

Normally, we don’t use this platform to promote any sort of cause or agenda. (Except for the agenda of trying to get you to buy our book, through frequent, gratuitous mentions of our book.)

But this isn’t as a matter of principle. After all, this is a website that ranks people in order of hotness—clearly, I have no principles.* The reason is simply that there has never been a cause that really inspired me. Until now.

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Our Lousy Neighbors Won’t Review Our Book

When we’re young, the world is a like a glowing dream, full of joy and promise. But as we age, its coldness is gradually revealed. It is a bleak and heartless place where people treat each other, at best, with indifference.

Take, for example, this copy of our book Hottest Heads of State, which we left in a Little Free Library box near our house in St. Louis.

Little Free Library box

Do you see how we’ve conveniently arranged our book so it’s between two less-appealing books, in order to make it pop? If you want to help us out, that’s something you can do at your local Barnes & Noble. Just place a few copies in the “#1 Bestsellers” section. If any employees challenge you, tell them you’re Barnes & Noble CEO Demos Parneros.

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Does Richard Nixon Like You As More Than A Friend?

It’s a question as old as time itself: Does Richard Nixon like you as more than a friend? Take this quiz to find out!

And afterwards, why not purchase our new book, Hottest Heads of State? It makes the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for Richard Nixon (and also, probably, for other people).

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Today is the Day

Hottest Heads of State the book

Today is the day. The day that you’ve been dreaming about for so long that you can’t believe it’s finally here. No—it’s not your wedding day! Or whatever, it might be your wedding day. But forget about that, because today is also the day that our first book, Hottest Heads of State, Volume 1: The American Presidents, is released to the buying public. (That’s you!)

Right now, you are probably paralyzed with excitement. And that’s OK! Here is a step-by-step guide to help make the next 24 hours just as fun and memorable as you hoped it would be.

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10 Photos of Richard Nixon That Will Make You Say “Oh, Richard Nixon!”

Richard Nixon drinking

Sometimes you see a photo that just makes you say “Oh, Richard Nixon!” It’s almost an involuntary reaction—like some long-buried instinct that is only triggered by certain photos of Richard Nixon (and, occasionally, by photos that do not contain Richard Nixon).

Check out these 10 photos of Richard Nixon and let us know if they made you say “Oh, Richard Nixon!” or if you were able to view them in silence.

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Hottest Heads of State Through History

Hottest Heads of State Through History: French Presidents


New Candle Alert!


We Went on a Book Tour