Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) was an English merchant, civil servant, journalist, writer, economist and spy nowadays best known for literary classic Robinson Crusoe. Hailing from a humble family, Defoe's ambition, restless nature and ability to bounce back from failure took him to faraway lands, engaged him in countless business ventures and an equal amount of problems with creditors, business and political adversaries. Working for the Crown nurtured his thinking on matters of national interest and exposed him to the leading policy thinking of the time. The breadth of his experience, the versatility of his mind and the popularity of his writing made him much sought after. Powerful political patrons would variably seek to profit from his services or to curtail his influence. Defoe published over 560 books and pamphlets in topics as diverse as politics, crime, economics, history, topography, personal relationships and spirituality before turning to fiction in later life.