The following are the top 100 Most Influential People in the World as suggested by the Times magazine, which include some of the greatest leaders and most inspiring entertainers passing by a variety of controversial figures such as leaders from Iran, Syria and North Korea.  The list features influential people from no less than 37 countries, with a total of 38 women, the highest number ever. Some of the most unique voices includes the 33 years old Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who helped shaping the future of Pakistan, through her award winning films.  Other renowned personalities including the world’s greatest politician such as Angela Merkel, Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton, remarkable sportsmen such as NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, as well as a variety of British Royals such Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Pippa Middleton.  Other well known celebrities on this year’s list include Warren Buffett, perhaps the world’s greatest inventor and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Finally, it also features some of the greatest voices of the year, both in music with Rihanna, and in comedy with Louis C.K. and Stephen Colbert.


Top 100 Most Influential People

The following is each of the Top 100 Most Influential People 2012with an image short description.

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Shu-How Lin is an American professional basketball player with the New York Knicks of the NBA. After receiving no athletic scholarship offers out of high school and being undrafted out of college, the 2010 Harvard University graduate reached a partially guaranteed contract deal later that year with his hometown Golden State Warriors.

Jeremy Lin - Top 100 Most Influential People

Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay is a Swiss-American visual artist and composer, with its work exploring the connections between sound, noise, photography, video, and film. He is famous for being a pioneer of using gramophone records and turntables as musical instruments to create sound collages.

Christian Marclay - Top 100 Most Influential People

Viola Davis

Viola Davis is an American actress which began her career on the stage.  She is best known for her roles in Traffic (2000), Antwone Fisher (2002), Solaris (2002) and The Help (2011), which was nominated for numerous awards including Golden Globe and Academy Award.

Viola Davis - Top 100 Most Influential People

Salman Khan

Salman Khan is an Indian film actor who already starred in more than 80 Hindi films.  He is best known for his role in a variety of commercial successful films including the blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) and Bodyguard (2011), which has become the second highest-grossing Bollywood film of all-time.

Salman Khan - Top 100 Most Influential People

Tim Tebow

Timothy Richard Tebow is an American football quarterback for the New York Jets of the NFL. He played college football at the University of Florida and later drafted by the Denver Broncos as the 25th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.  He is known as a dual threat quarterback, adept at both rushing and passing the football, combined with his unorthodox NFL quarterback skills and his religious devotion.

Tim Tebow - Top 100 Most Influential People

E.L. James

E.L. James is a New York Times bestselling erotica author and penname for writer and TV executive Erika Leonard.

E.L. James - Top 100 Most Influential People

Louis CK

Louis Szekely, best known as Louis C.K., is an Emmy and Grammy award winning Mexican-American stand-up comedian, as well as television and film writer, and actor.  He is famous as the star of the FX comedy series Louie, which he also writes, directs, and edits.

Louis CK - Top 100 Most Influential People


Robyn Rihanna Fenty, best known as Rihanna, is a Barbadian recording artist and actress. She was born in Saint Michael, Barbados, and moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers and later signed with Def Jam Recordings.  Since then Rihanna’s work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, making her one of the best selling artists of all time.

Rihanna - Top 100 Most Influential People

Marco Rubio

Marco Antonio Rubio is the junior United States Senator from Florida, serving since January 2011. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (2007–2009).  Originally from Cuba, he graduated from the University of Florida and later served as the City Commissioner for West Miami.

Marco Rubio - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ali Ferzat

Ali Farzat is a renowned Syrian political cartoonist, which published more than 15,000 caricatures between Syrian, Arab and international newspapers.  He also serves as the head of the Arab Cartoonists’ Association.

Ali Ferzat - Top 100 Most Influential People

René Redzepi

René Redzepi is the chef and co-owner of the two-Michelin star restaurant Noma in the Christians havn neighbourhood of Copenhagen, Denmark. His restaurant was voted the best restaurant in the world in 2010 San Pellegrino Awards and 2011. Redzepi is noted for his work for the reinvention and refinement of a new Nordic cuisine and food that is characterized by inventiveness and clean flavours.

René Redzepi - Top 100 Most Influential People

Kristen Wiig

Kristen Carroll Wiig is an American television actress, comedian, and writer best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Wiig was a member of improvisational comedy troupe The Groundlings, before appearing in several films and television series, including Bridesmaids, MacGruber, and Flight of the Conchords, Adventureland and Paul.

Kristen Wiig - Top 100 Most Influential People

Anthony Kennedy

Anthony McLeod Kennedy is an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, having been appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Since the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor, Kennedy has often been the "swing vote" on many of the Court’s 5–4 decisions.

Anthony Kennedy - Top 100 Most Influential People

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player who has been ranked World No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) since 4 July 2011. He has won five Grand Slam singles titles: the 2008, 2011 and 2012 Australian Open, the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, and the 2011 US Open.  By winning three Majors in 2011, Djokovic became the sixth male player in the open era to win three Majors in a calendar year and is regarded as one of the 100 greatest tennis players of all time.

Novak Djokovic - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ben Rattray

Ben Rattray is the founder and CEO of the online petition website, which he co-founded with current CTO Mark Dimas in 2007. He is considered of the world’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs.

Ben Rattray - Top 100 Most Influential People

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain is an American theatre, film, and television actress. She is known for her roles in the films The Help, The Debt, Take Shelter, and The Tree of Life. She won over 35 critics awards and was widely named as breakout star.

Jessica Chastain - Top 100 Most Influential People

Yani Tseng

Yani Tseng is a Taiwanese professional golfer currently playing on the U.S.-based LPGA Tour. She is the youngest player ever, male or female, to win five major championships and is currently ranked number 1 in the Women’s World Golf Rankings.

Yani Tseng - Top 100 Most Influential People

Raphael Saadiq

Raphael Saadiq is an American singer, songwriter, musician, guitarist, and record producer. Saadiq has been a standard bearer for Old school R&B since his early days as a member of the multiplatinum group Tony! Toni! Toné!  He has been critically acclaimed for one of his latest album featuring artists Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, and Jay-Z.

Raphael Saadiq - Top 100 Most Influential People

Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom is an American political economist, who was awarded the 2009 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which she shared with Oliver E. Williahmson, for "her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons." She became the first and only woman to win the prize in this category.

Elinor Ostrom - Top 100 Most Influential People

Samira Ibrahim

Sarimah Ibrahim is a 24-year-old activist fighting for women’s rights in Egypt. On March 9, 2011, she participated in a sit-in at Tahrir Square in Cairo, which led to abuse from the military and later led her in placing the case in front of a civilian court.

Samira Ibrahim - Top 100 Most Influential People

José Andrés

José Ramón Andrés Puerta known as José Andrés, is a Spanish chef often credited for bringing the small plates dining concept to America. His flagship restaurants, minibar located in Washington D.C. and "é" (located in Las Vegas) focus specifically on a tasting menu of molecular gastronomy.

José Andrés - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett is an American author, who received the Orange Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2002 for her novel Bel Canto. She is also famous for her other novels include Run, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, and The Magician’s Assistant, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize.

Ann Patchett - Top 100 Most Influential People

Dulce Matuz

Dulce Matuz, 27, represents the finest of her generation, putting herself through college partly via scholarships and graduating with an electrical-engineering degree. An undocumented Latina confronted with legal barriers to pursuing her engineering dream; she chose to fight for the right to contribute to the country she has called home since she was young.

Dulce Matuz - Top 100 Most Influential People

Henrik Schärfe

Henrik Schärfe is a Danish professor at Aalborg University, who directs the centre for Computer-mediated Epistemology part of Department of Communication.  He was further known through the Hiroshi Ishiguro-inspired and Kokoro-built robot Geminoid-DK, which resembled Schärfe itself.

Henrik Schärfe - Top 100 Most Influential People

Freeman Hrabowski

Freeman A. Hrabowski III is a prominent American educator, who served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County since May 1992.  Dr. Hrabowski graduated at 20 from Hampton Institute with high honors in mathematics. He then received his M.A. in mathematics from the University of Illinois and finally his Ph.D. at the age of 24.  He is today considered one of America’s Best Leaders.

Freeman Hrabowski - Top 100 Most Influential People

Maryam Durani

Maryam Durani is the owner and operator of a radio station that focuses on women’s issues and as a member of the Kandahar provincial council.  She is known to stand up for the region’s women with remarkable bravery.  She is inevitably a target for the Taliban, who believe in a highly restricted role for women in Afghan society, and has survived several assassination attempts.

Maryam Durani - Top 100 Most Influential People

Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif is a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia who helped start a women’s right to drive campaign in 2011.

Manal al-Sharif - Top 100 Most Influential People

Anjali Gopalan

Anjali Gopalan is best known for founding the Naz foundation in 1994to compensates the lack of governmental efforts in solving the HIV/AIDS epidermic problem.  Naz India uses a holistic rights-based approach to fight HIV, focusing on prevention and treatment; with their primary recipients are marginalized HIV-infected populations. They provide quality care and support to HIV patients and address unbiased factual information and prevalence of HIV and in India.

Anjali Gopalan - Top 100 Most Influential People

Rached Ghannouchi

Rached Ghannouchi is a Tunisian Islamist politician and intellectual leader who co-founded the Ennahda Movement, currently the largest party in Tunisia.

Rached Ghannouchi - Top 100 Most Influential People

Barbara Van Dahlen

Barbara Van Dahlen is a leader in the field of mental health focusing on the issues of men and women in uniform and their families.  She is best known through her organization, Give an Hour, which mobilized thousands of mental-health professionals to help those in need.

Barbara Van Dahlen - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ron Fouchier

Ron Fouchier is one of a new breed of virologists who tackle hard issues such as the H5N1 bird-flu virus which has the potential to spread in mammals.  His work not without risks but is considered better than doing nothing at all.

Ron Fouchier - Top 100 Most Influential People

Donald Sadoway

Donald Robert Sadoway is the current John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a respected faculty member in the Department of Materials Science Engineering, and is best known for his research to improve the performance and longevity of portable power sources.

Donald Sadoway - Top 100 Most Influential People

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling is a Swedish medical doctor, academic, statistician and public speaker. He is Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation, which developed the Trendalyzer software system.

Hans Rosling - Top 100 Most Influential People

Asghar Farhadi

Asghar Farhadi is an Iranian film director and screenwriter, best known for his movie Nader and Simin, a Separation, which has received a Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, making it the first Iranian film to do so.

Asghar Farhadi - Top 100 Most Influential People

Sarah Burton

Sarah Burton is an English fashion designer, currently creative director of fashion brand Alexander McQueen. She is best known for designing Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress for her wedding to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in April 2011.

Sarah Burton - Top 100 Most Influential People


Anonymous are the network of leaderless Internet hackers who have numerous targets including the FBI, CIA, the Vatican, banks and Arab dictatorships.

Anonymous - Top 100 Most Influential People

Pete Cashmore

Pete Cashmore is the CEO and founder of the popular blog Mashable, a Technorati Top 10 blog worldwide. He grew up in Banchory, and founded Mashable in Aberdeen, Scotland in 2005 at age 19. Cashmore now divides his time among Scotland, San Francisco, and New York.  Cashmore’s Mashable Twitter is one of Twitter’s 40 most-followed pages, with over 2.8 million. Followers Pete Cashmore was also crowned as one of the most influential Briton and world’s most influential Twitter user.

Pete Cashmore - Top 100 Most Influential People

Cami Anderson

Cami Anderson is a modern-day freedom fighter, investing her life’s work in the educational trenches and liberates the USA from the destructive delusion that children can’t achieve at the highest levels just because they were born into tough circumstances.

Cami Anderson - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ali Babacan

Ali Babacan is a Turkish politician and the current Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey responsible for the Economy.

Ali Babacan - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ahmet Davutoglu

Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu is the Foreign Minister of Turkey, as well as a political scientist, an academic and an ambassador at large and was formerly chief advisor to the Prime Minister.

Ahmet Davutoglu - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ai-jen Poo

Ai-jen Poo is an American activist, and director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She is also co-director of Caring across Generations, a national coalition of 200 advocacy organizations, advocating for home care workers and patients, as well as the lead organizer and founder of Domestic Workers United, an organization of Caribbean, Latina, and African nannies, housekeepers, and elderly caregivers in New York.

Ai-jen Poo - Top 100 Most Influential People

Marc Andreessen

Marc Lowell Andreessen is an American entrepreneur, investor, software engineer, and multi-millionaire best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation.  He founded and later sold the software company Opsware to Hewlett-Packard. He is also a co-founder of Ning, a company which provides a platform for social-networking websites. He sits on the board of directors of Facebook, eBay, and HP, among others.

Marc Andreessen - Top 100 Most Influential People

Preet Bharara

Preetinder S. Bharara commonly known as Preet Bharara, is a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Preet Bharara - Top 100 Most Influential People

Robert Grant

Dr. Robert Grant is a well known professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, as well as at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology. He is mostly famous for changing the way AIDS researchers think about preventing HIV transmission, with his study completed in November 2010.

Robert Grant - Top 100 Most Influential People

Andrew Lo

Andrew W. Lo is the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as the author of several academic articles in Finance. He is a leading authority on hedge funds and financial engineering, and best known for proposing the Adaptive market hypothesis.

Andrew Lo - Top 100 Most Influential People

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is an Emmy and Oscar award-winning Pakistani-Canadian journalist and documentary filmmaker, best known for her movie Children of the Taliban and Saving Face.  She is Pakistan’s second only Oscar winner after Mir Zafar Ali, who won Oscar in 2007

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy - Top 100 Most Influential People

Alexei Navalny

Alexei Anatolievich Navalny is a Russian lawyer, politician, and political and financial activist. Since 2009, he has gained prominence within Russia, and notably within the Russian media, as a critic of corruption in Russia, and especially of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. He has used his popular LiveJournal blog to organize large-scale demonstrations to address these issues. He also regularly writes articles in several top Russian publications, such as Forbes Russia.

Alexei Navalny - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio is an American businessman and founder of Bridgewater Associates.

Ray Dalio - Top 100 Most Influential People

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad Al Thani is the Prime Minister of Qatar, a position he has held since 3 April 2007, and Foreign Minister, which he has been since 11 January 1992.

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani - Top 100 Most Influential People

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Joy Handler is an American stand-up comedian, actress, best-selling author, and producer. She has hosted the late-night talk show Chelsea Lately on E! Entertainment Television since 2007. Handler serves as executive producer and has a recurring role as "Sloane" in the NBC sitcom Are You There, Chelsea?, based on her book Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea (2008).

Chelsea Handler - Top 100 Most Influential People

Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein is an American film producer and movie studio chairman. He is best known as co-founder of Miramax Films. He and his brother Bob have been co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company, their film production company, since 2005. He won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love, and garnered seven Tony Awards for producing a variety of winning plays and musicals including The Producers, Billy Elliot the Musical, and August: Osage County.

Harvey Weinstein - Top 100 Most Influential People

Chen Lihua

Madam Chen is an entrepreneur, a diplomat and a patron of the arts, and best known for her willingness to help others fulfil their dreams and aspirations.  In 1999 she established the China Red Sandalwood Museum in Beijing, which is dedicated to preserving the Chinese art of sandalwood carving.

Chen Lihua - Top 100 Most Influential People

Warren Buffett

Warren Edward Buffett is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist, widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world.  He is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people.  Buffett is often referred to as the "Sage of Omaha" and is noted for his adherence to the value investing philosophy and for his personal frugality despite his immense wealth. Buffett is also a notable philanthropist, having pledged to give away 99 percent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Gates Foundation.

Warren Buffett - Top 100 Most Influential People

Alice Walton

Alice Louise Walton is an American heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune, daughter of the founder Sam Walton and Helen Walton, and sister of S. Robson Walton and Jim Walton. Her latest estimated net worth was over US$20 billion, making her the tenth richest American.

Alice Walton - Top 100 Most Influential People

Harold Hamm

Harold Hamm is an American oilman who is ranked as one of the richest person in America with a net worth of $11 billion.  Presidential candidate Mitt Romney named Hamm as his energy advisor.

Harold Hamm - Top 100 Most Influential People

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Kara Sandberg is an American businessperson who has served as the chief operating officer of Facebook since 2008. Prior to Facebook, Sandberg was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google. She also was involved in launching Google’s philanthropic arm

Sheryl Sandberg - Top 100 Most Influential People

Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely is an American businesswoman, known for founding Spanx in 2000, a multi-million dollar undergarment company.  She is considered the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.

Sara Blakely - Top 100 Most Influential People

Tim Cook

Timothy D. Tim is the CEO of Apple since August 24, 2011, succeeding Steve Jobs, who died on October 5, 2011.  In early 2012, he was awarded compensation of 1 million shares, vesting in 2021, by Apple’s Board of Directors, which are valued at US $600 million, making him the world’s highest paid CEO.

Tim Cook - Top 100 Most Influential People

Eike Batista

Eike Fuhrken Batista da Silva is a Brazilian tycoon, and owner and president of Brazilian conglomerate EBX Group, which includes five companies that trade on the BOVESPA´s Novo Mercado, a special segment of the São Paulo stock market where enterprises with the highest standards of corporate governance are listed.

Eike Batista - Top 100 Most Influential People

Daniel Ek

Daniel Ek is a Swedish entrepreneur and a technologist who started the music streaming service Spotify.  He founded his first company in 1997 at the age of 14, and later established Advertigo, the advertising company acquired by TradeDoubler and has been a part of the Nordic auction company Tradera (acquired by Ebay) and Evertigo.

Daniel Ek - Top 100 Most Influential People

Virginia Rometty

Virginia Marie "Ginni" Rometty is an American business executive, currently the president and CEO of IBM. She is the first woman to head IBM and is considered one of the most powerful Women in Business.

Virginia Rometty - Top 100 Most Influential People

Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is famous for being the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.

Barack Obama - Top 100 Most Influential People

Goodluck Jonathan

Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the 14th Head of State and current President of Nigeria, and member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).  Prior to his role as President, he served as Governor of Bayela State and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Goodluck Jonathan - Top 100 Most Influential People

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping is a high-ranking politician of the People’s Republic of China, currently serving as the top-ranked member of the Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, the country’s Vice President, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission, President of the Central Party School and the 6th ranked member of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee, China’s de facto top power organ.

Xi Jinping - Top 100 Most Influential People

Fatou Bensouda

Fatou B. Bensouda is a Gambian lawyer, former government civil servant, international criminal law prosecutor and legal adviser.  She has considerable experience in national criminal prosecutions, diplomatic work and company management.

Fatou Bensouda - Top 100 Most Influential People

Christine Lagarde

Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde is a French lawyer and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund since 5 July 2011. Previously, she held various ministerial posts in the French government including as Minister of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry, and is considered the first ever woman to become minister of Economic Affairs of a G8 economy.

Christine Lagarde - Top 100 Most Influential People

Mario Draghi

Mario Draghi is an Italian banker and economist who succeeded Jean-Claude Trichet as President of the European Central Bank on 1 November 2011.  He was previously the governor of the Bank of Italy from January 2006 until October 2011

Mario Draghi - Top 100 Most Influential People

Thein Sein

Thein Sein is a Burmese politician and former military figure who has been president of Burma (Myanmar) since March 2011, and is generally considered to be a moderate and reformist in the new government.

Thein Sein - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei is the Supreme Leader of Iran, who also served as the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran from 1981 to 1989.   He Holds absolute power in his country, and is known as one of only three people having "important influence" on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Khamenei was the victim of an attempted assassination in June 1981 that paralyzed his right arm.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - Top 100 Most Influential People

Mitt Romney

Willard Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is the leading candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination as of May 2012.

Mitt Romney - Top 100 Most Influential People

Juan Manuel Santos

Juan Manuel Santos Calderón is a Colombian politician who has been the President of Colombia since 7 August 2010.[1] He previously served as Minister of Foreign Trade, Minister of Finance, and Minister of National Defense.

Juan Manuel Santos - Top 100 Most Influential People

Timothy Dolan

Timothy Michael Dolan is an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI.  Dolan also currently serves as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and is widely known for his conservative values and charismatic media personality.

Timothy Dolan - Top 100 Most Influential People

Portia Simpson Miller

Portia Lucretia Simpson-Miller, is the seventh and current Prime Minister of Jamaica, inaugurated on 5 January 2012 representing the People’s National Party.  She is also the country’s Minister of Defence, Development, Information and Sports.  She previously served a term in the office from 30 March 2006 to 11 September 2007, as the first woman in that role.

Portia Simpson Miller - Top 100 Most Influential People

Mario Monti

Mario Monti is an Italian economist and academic who has been the 54th Prime Minister of Italy, as well as Minister of Economy and Finance, since November 2011.  Monti served as a European Commissioner from 1995 to 2004, and on 12 November 2011, in the midst of the European sovereign debt crisis, Monti was invited by President Giorgio Napolitano to form a new technocratic government following the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi.

Mario Monti - Top 100 Most Influential People

Wang Yang

Wang Yang is the current Secretary of the Guangdong Committee of the Communist Party of China, the southern Chinese province’s top office. He served as the party chief of Chongqing, an interior municipality, from 2005-2007. As the holder of one of the most important regional posts in China, Wang also holds a seat on the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, the country’s top ruling council. He is one of the emerging leaders of China’s next generation of leadership.

Wang Yang - Top 100 Most Influential People

Maria das Graças Silva Foster

Maria das Graças Silva Foster is the new CEO of Brazil’s Petrobras and the first woman to run a major oil-and-gas company. She comes from a working-class favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, but managed to graduate as a chemical engineer and joined Petrobras, where she has been for the last 30 years.

Maria das Graças Silva Foster - Top 100 Most Influential People

Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Mark Cuomo is the 56th and current Governor of New York, having assumed office on January 1, 2011 as a leader of the Democratic Party.

Andrew Cuomo - Top 100 Most Influential People

Iftikhar Chaudhry

Honourable Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry  is the 18th and current Chief Justice of Pakistan, having been nominated by President General Pervez Musharraf on June 30, 2005.

Iftikhar Chaudhry - Top 100 Most Influential People

Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee is the 11th and current Chief Minister of West Bengal, known as the first woman to hold the office. Banerjee founded All India Trinamool Congress in 1997 and became chairperson, after separating from the Indian National Congress.  She is known as "Didi”, which can be translated to elder sister.

Mamata Banerjee - Top 100 Most Influential People

Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson is a writer and biographer, as well as the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.  He has also been the Chairman and CEO of CNN, the Managing Editor of TIME, as well as wrote various biographies including those of Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs.

Walter Isaacson - Top 100 Most Influential People

Ron Paul

Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 14th congressional district, since 1997, and a three-time candidate for President of the United States.  He is an outspoken critic of American foreign and monetary policies, including the Military–industrial complex and the Federal Reserve, and is known for his libertarian-leaning views, often differing from his own party on certain issues.

Ron Paul - Top 100 Most Influential People

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu - Top 100 Most Influential People

Dilma Rousseff

Dilma Vana Rousseff is the 36th and current President of Brazil and the first woman to hold the office. Prior to that, in 2005, she was also the first woman to become Chief of Staff to the President of Brazil, appointed by then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Dilma Rousseff - Top 100 Most Influential People

Erik Martin

Erik Martin is best known as the general manager of Reddit, a very popular user generated website where people can vote entries up or down.  In recent year the site has matured to hit no less than 28 million unique monthly visitors.

Erik Martin - Top 100 Most Influential People

Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards is a Democratic Party activist and has been the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America since early 2006.

Cecile Richards - Top 100 Most Influential People

Angela Merkel

Angela Dorothea Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany and Chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union.  She is best known as the first female to occupy the position of Chancellor of Germany.

Angela Merkel - Top 100 Most Influential People

Lionel Messi

Lionel Andrés Messi is an Argentine footballer and one of the world’s greatest players.  He currently plays in La Liga for FC Barcelona and is the captain of the Argentina national team.

Lionel Messi - Top 100 Most Influential People

Tilda Swinton

Katherine Mathilda "Tilda" Swinton is a British actress known for both arthouse and mainstream films. She has appeared in a number of films including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Burn after Reading, The Beach, The Chronicles of Narnia, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performances in The Deep End and We Need to Talk about Kevin. She won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Michael Clayton.

Tilda Swinton - Top 100 Most Influential People

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. In the 2008 election, Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Hillary Clinton - Top 100 Most Influential People

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is the wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, which is second in line to the thrones of the 16 Commonwealth realms. Should he eventually become King, she would automatically become his queen consort.  Their engagement was announced on 16 November 2010, and Middleton attended many high-profile royal events before they married on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge - Top 100 Most Influential People

Pippa Middleton

Philippa Charlotte "Pippa" Middleton is an English socialite and the younger sister of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. On 29 April 2011, she was the maid of honour at her sister’s wedding to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, second in the line of succession to Elizabeth II.

Pippa Middleton - Top 100 Most Influential People


Adele Laurie Blue Adkins better known as Adele is an English recording artist and songwriter. Adele was offered a recording contract from XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on MySpace in 2006. The next year she received the Brit Awards "Critics’ Choice" and won the BBC Sound of 2008. Her debut album, 19, was released in 2008 to much commercial and critical success. The album is certified four times platinum in the UK, and double platinum in the US.   At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Adele received the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Adele - Top 100 Most Influential People

Matt Lauer

Matthew Todd "Matt" Lauer is an American television journalist best known as the host of NBC’s The Today Show since 1997.  He was previously a news anchor in New York City and a local talk-show host in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond. 

Matt Lauer - Top 100 Most Influential People

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius is a South African sprint runner, best known as the "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs". He had a double amputation, runs with the aid of carbon fibre artificial limbs and holds the world record for the 100, 200 and 400 metres (sport class T44) events.

Oscar Pistorius - Top 100 Most Influential People

Claire Danes

Claire Catherine Danes is an American television, stage and film actress, which has appeared in various roles including as Angela Chase in My So-Called Life, as Juliet in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, as Kate Brewster in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, as Yvaine in Stardust and as Temple Grandin in the HBO TV film Temple Grandin.

Claire Danes - Top 100 Most Influential People

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Tyrone Colbert is an American political satirist, writer, comedian, television host, and actor. He is best known as the host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, a satirical news show in which Colbert portrays a caricatured version of conservative political pundits.

Stephen Colbert - Top 100 Most Influential People

Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong-un is the current supreme leader of North Korea officially declared on December 28, 2011 following the state funeral for his father, Kim Jong-il.  He is the third and youngest son of his deceased predecessor Kim Jong-il and his consort Ko Young-hee.

Kim Jong Un - Top 100 Most Influential People

Mullah Mohammed Omar

Mullah Mohammed Omar often simply called Mullah Omar, is the spiritual leader of the Taliban. He was Afghanistan’s de facto head of state from 1996 to late 2001, under the official title "Head of the Supreme Council".

Mullah Mohammed Omar - Top 100 Most Influential People

Sheik Moktar Ali Zubeyr

Sheik Moktar Ali Zubeyr is the emir of al-Shabab, Somalia’s Islamic militia with some allegiance to al-Qaeda.

Sheik Moktar Ali Zubeyr - Top 100 Most Influential People

Bashar Assad

Bashar Hafez al-Assad is the current President of Syria elected in 2000 and 2007, unopposed each time.  During the Syrian uprising, demonstrators have called for President al-Assad’s resignation.

Bashar Assad - Top 100 Most Influential People

Complete Top 100 list

The following is the complete list of the 100 most influential people of 2012.

  1. Jeremy Lin
  2. Christian Marclay
  3. Viola Davis
  4. Salman Khan
  5. Tim Tebow
  6. E.L. James
  7. Louis CK
  8. Rihanna
  9. Marco Rubio
  10. Ali Ferzat
  11. René Redzepi
  12. Kristen Wiig
  13. Anthony Kennedy
  14. Novak Djokovic
  15. Ben Rattray
  16. Jessica Chastain
  17. Yani Tseng
  18. Raphael Saadiq
  19. Elinor Ostrom
  20. Samira Ibrahim
  21. José Andrés
  22. Ann Patchett
  23. Dulce Matuz
  24. Henrik Schärfe
  25. Freeman Hrabowski
  26. Maryam Durani
  27. Manal al-Sharif
  28. Anjali Gopalan
  29. Rached Ghannouchi
  30. Barbara Van Dahlen
  31. Ron Fouchier
  32. Donald Sadoway
  33. Hans Rosling
  34. Asghar Farhadi
  35. Sarah Burton
  36. Anonymous
  37. Pete Cashmore
  38. Cami Anderson
  39. Ali Babacan
  40. Ahmet Davutoglu
  41. Ai-jen Poo
  42. Marc Andreessen
  43. Preet Bharara
  44. Robert Grant
  45. Andrew Lo
  46. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
  47. Alexei Navalny
  48. Ray Dalio
  49. Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani
  50. Chelsea Handler
  51. Harvey Weinstein
  52. Chen Lihua
  53. Warren Buffett
  54. Alice Walton
  55. Harold Hamm
  56. Sheryl Sandberg
  57. Sara Blakely
  58. Tim Cook
  59. Eike Batista
  60. Daniel Ek
  61. Virginia Rometty
  62. Barack Obama
  63. Goodluck Jonathan
  64. Xi Jinping
  65. Fatou Bensouda
  66. Christine Lagarde
  67. Mario Draghi
  68. Thein Sein
  69. Ayatullah Ali Khamenei
  70. Mitt Romney
  71. Juan Manuel Santos
  72. Timothy Dolan
  73. Portia Simpson Miller
  74. Mario Monti
  75. Wang Yang
  76. Maria das Graças Silva Foster
  77. Andrew Cuomo
  78. Iftikhar Chaudhry
  79. Mamata Banerjee
  80. Walter Isaacson
  81. Ron Paul
  82. Benjamin Netanyahu
  83. Dilma Rousseff
  84. Erik Martin
  85. Cecile Richards
  86. Angela Merkel
  87. Lionel Messi
  88. Tilda Swinton
  89. Hillary Clinton
  90. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
  91. Pippa Middleton
  92. Adele
  93. Matt Lauer
  94. Oscar Pistorius
  95. Claire Danes
  96. Stephen Colbert
  97. Kim Jong Un
  98. Mullah Mohammed Omar
  99. Sheik Moktar Ali Zubeyr
  100. Bashar Assad