The TIME 100 Most Influential list: Accolades, humor and surprises

Did your favorite person make the list?

Today, TIME reveals the TIME 100, the magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The list appears in the first ever perfect-bound edition of TIME.

Managing Editor Rick Stengel says, “The TIME 100 list is about the infinite possibilities of influence and the power of influence to change the world…. Now [one] can tweet a phrase that reaches millions in a flash. Influence was never easier—or more ephemeral. Which is why we try to choose those people whose influence is both lasting and, with a few notable exceptions, laudable.”


The ninth-annual list includes: President Barack Obama on Warren Buffett, Bill  Bain on Governor Mitt Romney, Howard Stern on Matt Lauer, Garry Trudeau on Stephen Colbert, Valerie Plame Wilson on Claire Danes, Johnny Depp on Harvey Weinstein, Al Gore on Tim Cook, Stella McCartney on Rihanna, Cicely Tyson on Viola Davis, Alyssa Milano on Pete Cashmore, Robert Gates on Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush on Marco Rubio, Judd Apatow on Kristen Wiig, Pink on Adele, Jeremy Lin on Tim Tebow, Ralph Nader on Ron Paul, and many more.

The list is divided into five categories: Moguls, Breakouts, Icons, Pioneers and Leaders.

The TIME 100 includes 54 international figures from 37 countries, more than any previous TIME 100 and the first time that there are more international names on the list than American. Some of the notable international names include: Benjamin Netanyahu, Lionel Messi, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Pippa Middleton, Maria das Graças Silva Foster, Dilma Rousseff, Wang Yang, Xi Jinping, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, René Redzepi and many more.

- There are 38 women on the 2012 TIME 100, more than ever before.

- The list features US political figures from both sides of the aisle. Democrats include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, and Republicans include Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Marco Rubio.

- The list includes several controversial figures, including Syrian President Bashar Assad, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, and Somali Islamic militant Sheik Moktar Ali Zubeyr.

- The winner of the TIME 100 poll was Anonymous, the network of Internet activists, which received more than 395,000 “Yes” votes. As winner of the poll, they are included on the official TIME 100.


Matt Lauer by Howard Stern: “We all wondered, Was it over? It’s over, it’s over, he’s losing his hair! It’s got to be over! But we were wrong! … He was still the smartest, the strongest, the classiest…. No wonder NBC is paying someone $25 million a year and it ain’t me!”

Rihanna by Stella McCartney: “She’s one of the coolest, hottest, most talented, most liked, most listened to, most followed, most impressive artists at work today, but she does it in her own stride…. This is the beginning for Rihanna…. She is just getting going, so watch out. “

Warren Buffett by Barack Obama: “[Warren] uses his stature as a leader to press others of great means to do the same. The Sage of Omaha has handed down plenty of lessons over the years. Today, at 81, he reminds us that life is not just about the value you seek. It’s about the values you stand for.”

Tim Tebow by Jeremy Lin: “[Tim] is unashamed of his convictions and faith, and he lives a life that consistently reflects his values, day in and day out…. As athletes, we pour our hearts into winning games. Tim is a reminder that life is about much more than that.”

Sarah Burton by Sarah Jessica Parker: “She did the undoable. A royal wedding dress that could never live up to the impossible dream. But it did. The whole world gasped in astonishment and sighed in reverie as she made one young woman’s fantasy a reality for everyone.”

Harvey Weinstein by Johnny Depp: “There are producers, and then there are producers. Harvey belongs to the latter batch…. Harvey isn’t afraid of a duke-’em-out. (I’ve had the pleasure of being both his ally and his enemy at various times.) He stops at nothing for what he believes in.”

Adele by Pink: “There are a few artists in my life who I can think back and remember where I was when I first heard them…. Her success renews hope in me that the world I live in has good taste—that we still occasionally come back to what’s simple, and simply amazing.”

Claire Danes by Valerie Plame Wilson: “Danes breathes life and realism into a character who, for once, goes against the clichés of what a female CIA officer is supposed to do and look like…. Carrie may be an improbable CIA agent, but Danes’ finely calibrated, deliberate and nuanced portrait of her is breathtaking.”

Mitt Romney by Bill Bain: “As founder and CEO [of Bain & Co.], I liked being first in the office when that was practical. On Mitt’s first day, he arrived first. I came in earlier the next day, and there he was again… Mitt’s work ethic, analytical mind and devotion to family and country are a cocktail for success.”

Chelsea Handler by Kathy Griffin: “Look, I don’t know how Chelsea Handler does it. Chelsea presides over her own media empire—talk show, sitcom, books—all while sharing a network with Ryan Seacrest and the Kardashians. To hell with the Time 100; she should be Person of the Year just for putting up with Khloe.”

Sarah Blakely by Katie Couric: “The comic irony of Spanx is that the woman who became a billionaire after inventing them doesn’t even need them…. Luckily for Sara Blakely, 41, plenty of us had a little junk in our trunks…. Despite the naysayers, with just $5,000 and a great idea she proved that you don’t need an M.B.A. to know what women want and how to market it.”

Tim Cook by Al Gore: “Like the great conductor George Szell, Cook knows that his commitment to excellence is inseparable from the incredible ensemble he leads at Apple. Szell was noted for saying, ‘We begin where others leave off.’ Cook’s chance has come. What a beginning!”

Marco Rubio by Jeb Bush: “I knew there was something special about Marco Rubio when I first met him…. Bilingual and bicultural, he represents the best of the emerging second generation of Cuban immigrants. His ascendancy in politics has not surprised me or the people who know him.”

Cecile Richards by Sandra Fluke: “[Richards is] my advocate and that of every woman in America, as I learned firsthand when I was publicly disparaged for speaking out on an issue she has been working on every day for years…. As we look to inspire the next generation of women to join this fight, we’re fortunate to have Cecile as our mentor.”

Salman Khan by Bill Gates: “I’ve used Khan Academy with my kids, and I’m amazed at the breadth of Sal’s subject expertise and his ability to make complicated topics understandable. Sal Khan is a true education pioneer. He started by posting a math lesson, but his impact on education might truly be incalculable.”


Adele, Singer

Cami Anderson, Superintendent, Newark Public Schools

Marc Andreessen, Venture capitalist; Founder, Andreessen Horowitz

José Andrés, Chef and activist

Anonymous, Internet collective; winner of’s 2012 TIME 100 poll

Bashar Assad, President of Syria [Rogues’ Gallery]

Ali Babacan, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey

Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal

Eike Batista, President, EBX Group; Brazil’s richest man

Fatou Bensouda, Incoming Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York

Sara Blakely, Founder, Spanx

Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

Sarah Burton, Creative Director, Alexander McQueen

Pete Cashmore, Founder and CEO, Mashable

Jessica Chastain, Actor

Iftikhar Chaudhry, Chief Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court

Louis CK, Comedian

Hillary Clinton,United States Secretary of State

Stephen Colbert, Host, The Colbert Report

Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York

Barbara Van Dahlen, Founder, Give an Hour

Ray Dalio, CEO and Founder, Bridgewater Associates

Claire Danes, Actor

Viola Davis, Actor

Ahmet Davutolgu, Foreign Minister of Turkey

Novak Djokovic, Tennis player

Timothy Dolan, Cardinal; Archbishop of NewYork

Mario Draghi, President, European Central Bank

Maryam Durani, Afghan activist; radio station owner and operator

Daniel Ek, CEO, Spotify

Asghar Farhadi, Director, A Separation

Ali Ferzat, Syrian political cartoonist

Maria das Graças Silva Foster, CEO, Petrobras

Ron Fouchier, Virologist

Rached Ghannouchi, Tunisian activist

Anjali Gopalan, Indian activist

Robert Grant, AIDS researcher

Harold Hamm, Founder, Continental Resources

Chelsea Handler, Comedian

Freeman Hrabowski,President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Samira Ibrahim, Egyptian activist

Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs; founder, The Aspen Institute

E.L. James, Author, 50 Shades of Grey

Xi Jinping, Vice President of China

Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria

Anthony Kennedy, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court

Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran

Salman Khan, Founder, Khan Academy

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International monetary Fund

Matt Lauer, Host, NBC’s TODAY Show

Chen Lihua, Founder and Chairman, Fuwah International Group; China’s richest woman

Jeremy Lin, Point guard, New York Knicks

Andrew Lo, Economist

Christian Marclay, Artist, The Clock

Erik Martin, General Manager, Reddit

Dulce Matuz, President, Arizona Dream Act Coalition

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Lionel Messi, Football player, FC Barcelona

Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

Pippa Middleton, Sister of the Duchess of Cambridge

Mario Monti, Prime Minister of Italy

Alexei Navalny, Blogger and activist

BenjaminNetanyahu,Prime Minister of Israel

SharmeenObaid-Chinoy, Oscar-winning filmmaker of Saving Face

Barack Obama, President of the United States

Mullah Mohammed Omar, Spiritual leader of the Taliban [Rogues’ Gallery]

Elinor Ostrom, Economist

Ann Patchett, Novelist

Ron Paul, U.S. Congressman, 14th District of Texas; Republican Presidential candidate

Oscar Pistorius, Double amputee sprinter

Ai-Jen Poo, Founder, Domestic Workers Alliance

Ben Rattray, Founder,

René Redzepi, Chef, Noma

Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood

Rihanna, Singer

Virginia Rometty, CEO, IBM

Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential candidate, former Governor of Massachusetts

Hans Rosling, Statistician

Dilma Rousseff,President of Brazil

Marco Rubio,U.S. Senator, Florida

Raphael Saadiq, Singer

Donald Sadoway,Professor, MIT

Sheryl Sandberg,COO, Facebook

Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia

Henrik Schärfe, Roboticist

U Thein Sein, President of Burma

Manal al-Sharif, Saudi activist

Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica

Tilda Swinton, Actor

Tim Tebow, Quarterback, New York Jets



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