The Time 100: Personal insights

time100gordonbrown I’ve been reading through the 2009 Time 100, a list of the world’s most influential people as Time magazine describes it, published last week.

It certainly is a fascinating read. These are influential people, unquestionably so.

The list of world leaders trips off the tongue, as do many in other walks of life, under labels such as ‘Leaders and Revolutionaries,’ ‘Heroes and Icons’ and ‘Builders and Titans.’ And everyone is ranked according to Time’s influence level.

The ranking is not what interests me, though.

What I find most fascinating is the profile of each individual and who has written it. Gordon Brown is included, for example (ranked number 2, incidentally) as you can see in the screenshot.

Look closely at the name of the profile writer – JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books (who’s not in the list), who writes the sort of thing you’d not expect to see about a political leader.

This is personal insight that tells me as much about the writer as about the writer’s subject and is reflected in many, if not all, of the other entries.

Take a look at Tom Hanks’ entry written by Meg Ryan. Tiger Woods’ listing written by Roger Federer. Even Boris Johnson’s profile by Conrad Black, the ex-Daily Telegraph proprietor currently in jail for fraud.

Of course, listings such as these – and here’s the complete list – are the product of careful control, content drafting and editing and final approvals by many people, undoubtedly including the publicists and PRs of the profile subjects.

And for all I know, profiles such as Rowling’s of Gordon Brown could have been written entirely by the PRs or speechwriters.

Well, they’ve done a good job and I can live with what I see on my screen whoever wrote them. I don’t believe there any subterfuge here, even though each profile says it’s written by a named individual.

Unlike the popular voting as some people are alleging (via Drew Benvie).

Still, the 2009 Time 100 is a fascinating read.


About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.