9. Li Yanwen, circa 1500
Hardly a household name, Li Yanwen was partially responsible for the blossoming of one of Chinese medicine's most famous practitioners, Li Shizhen. When his son was young, Li Yanwen urged him to take the civil services exams that would win him a position in the state bureaucracy. But Li Shizhen had other plans: He wanted to be a doctor like dear old dad.
Eventually, Li Yanwen gave in and mentored his boy, who by this time had proven himself utterly hopeless at passing the civil service exams. Li Shizhen would go on to become China's greatest naturalist and the author of "Bencao Gangmu," a sort of bible of Chinese medicine.