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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Diving into the history of TIME 100

The list’s rise to fame is marked by triumphs, controversies and progress


By Sarah Han — arts@theaggie.org


TIME 100 is an annual list, compiled by Time magazine, of the 100 most influential people across the world. From celebrities to politicians, the list highlights individuals who have made a noteworthy impact in their fields in a given year. 

The list was initially proposed in 1998, and a year later, the very first version was published. Those selected were separated into five categories: Leaders and Revolutionaries, Artists and Entertainers, Builders and Titans, Scientists and Thinkers and Heroes and Icons. 

Since then, Time has annually released the list, following the same format. However, many controversies have arisen throughout the years, primarily stemming from public disagreements about who deserves to be on the list. The most notable controversies surround the inclusion of Donald Trump, Greta Thunberg, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev. The magazine has defended their chosing these and other controversial figures, explaining that their objective criteria is for choosing the most impactful people — whether that impact is positive or negative. 

The list has also been published with multiple errors since it began, including listing Evelyn Waugh, a male writer, under the “100 Most Read Female Writers in College Classes.” 

Despite these critiques, Time has been able to produce lists that generate an overwhelmingly positive response. 

TIME 100 has included some lesser-known individuals who have significantly impacted the world throughout the years, and has been able to showcase people of all different backgrounds, cultures, genders and more. In the 2019 list, nearly half of the people listed were women, which was the highest percentage since the creation of TIME 100. The 2017 list focused on highlighting racial diversity.

This year’s list features ice skater Nathan Chen, artist Faith Ringgold and women’s rights activist Hoda Khamosh. 


Written by: Sarah Han — arts@theaggie.org