TIME'S 25 MOST INFLUENTIAL AMERICANS

TIME'S 25 MOST INFLUENTIAL AMERICANS

Compiling a list of the most influential people in America, besides being a provocative parlor game, provides a chance to mull over the ideas and visions, tastes and beliefs that affect our lives. Being influential is the reward of successful salesmanship, the validation of personal passion, the visible sign of individual merit. It is power without coercion, celebrity with substance.

It can take the form of mass impact. Martha Stewart's inexhaustible brand of domesticity claims a sizable audience. So do Jerry Seinfeld's small-bore irony and Oprah Winfrey's irresistible empathy. There is influence within a creative field. Hence the architect Frank Gehry...

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