Time’s 100 most influential people: This is the most important age

Lynsey Barber
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At 53, Obama has just passed peak influencer age - except for leaders (Source: Getty)

You won't see Janet Yellen or Alexis Tsipras running in the same circles together with Kimye (that's celeb power couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West), but they have one thing in common - influence.

Along with head honchos like Apple boss Tim Cook, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, politicians Angela Merkel and Putin, and comedians John Oliver and Amy Schumer, they have each been crowned one of the world's 100 most influential people.

Bringing together world leaders, company bosses, Hollywood actors and scientists, and perhaps some lesser-known figures - ballet dancer Misty Copeland, the journalist creator of hit podcast Serial Sarah Koenig - Time magazine has chosen 100 people for its annual list based on their standing in the world, power and ability to inspire.

It's an awe-inspiring bunch, made up of men and women across the world, and an analysis of the line-up suggests that for anyone looking to exert their influence, the prime age is 52.

Categorised into five groups, pioneers tend to be younger, while leaders older, with more than two decades difference between them based on average ages of the 100.

Women also reached peak influence earlier than men by a decade.


52  the most influential age 

55  for men 

44  for women 

53  for titans

37  for pioneers

39  for artists

60  for leaders

52  for icons

17  Malala Yousafzai,  youngest influencer

88  Beji Caid Essebsi, oldest influencer

In their 20s


21  Gabriel Medina


25  Emma Watson, Mustafa Hassan, Taylor Swift

In their 30s

30  Laverne Cox, Marie Kondo

31  Elizabeth Holmes, Alexander Wang, Kim Jong Un

32  Misty Copeland, Anita Sarkeesian

33  Brian Chesky

34  Kim Kardashian West, Abby Wambach

35  Chris Pratt, Kevin Hart

37  Kanye West, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

39  Pardis Sabeti, Reese Witherspoon, Chai Jing

In their 40s

40  Bradley Cooper, Alexis Tsipras

43  Thomas Piketty

44  Audra McDonald, Christopher Nolan, Samantha Power

45  Lei Jun

46  Mellody Hobson, Susan Wojcicki, Sarah Koenig, Chris Ofili, Marine Le Pen

47, Reid Hoffman, Satya Nadella, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Tim McGraw

48  Julianna Margulies

49  Jill Soloway, Björk

In their 50s

50  Tony Fernandes, Tom Catena

51  Scott Kelly

52  Adam Silver

53  Chanda Kochhar, Joko Widodo, Barack Obama

54  Tim Cook, Richard Linklater, Julianne Moore

55  Lee Daniels, Bryan Stevenson, Tom Frieden, Lu Wei, Mohammad Javad Zarif

57  Danny Meyer, Rudolph Tanzi, Jorge Ramos, Rula Ghani

In their 60s

60  Angela Merkel

61  Xi Jinping

62  Bob Corker, Vladimir Putin, Haider Al-Abadi, Jeb Bush

63  Martin Dempsey

64  Bob Iger, Narendra Modi

65  Elizabeth Warren, Benjamin Netanyahu

66  Jimmy Lai, Haruki Murakami

67  Martin Blaser, Hillary Clinton, Ina Garten

68  Janet Yellen, Diane von Furstenberg

Influencers in their 70s

70  Lorne Michaels

72  Muhammadu Buhari

73  Mitch McConnell

74  David Koch

75  Jorge Paulo Lemann

77  Jerry Brown

78  Pope Francis

79  Charles Koch, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Influencers in their 80s


82  Ruth Bader Ginsburg


83  Raúl Castro


88  Beji Caid Essebsi

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