Brave Thinkers 2011: Our Annual Guide to the People Risking Their Reputations, Fortunes, & Lives in Pursuit of Big Ideas

What’s Your Take? Readers Rate Our List of 21

How They Stack Up

Your Rankings
All Rankings

Brave Thinkers 2010:
Where Are They Now?

How bold ideas are paying off for a handful of last year's picks »

From top left: Dan Choi, Deborah Gist, John Hantz, Elon Musk, Ron Paul and Elizabeth Warren. Illustrations by Antony Hare

Legend: 1 = Not taking much risk | 5 = Risking it all
Hawa Abdi

Hawa Abdi

Doctor; human-rights activist

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Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

Journalist; author

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Isabel Castillo

Isabel Castillo

Immigration activist

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Chris Christie

Chris Christie

Governor of New Jersey

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Amy Chua

Amy Chua

Law professor; memoirist

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P. J. Crowley

P. J. Crowley

Former State Dept. spokesman

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Wael Ghonim

Wael Ghonim

Google marketing executive

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Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard

Prime Minister of Australia

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Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Former CEO of Apple

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Vinod Khosla

Vinod Khosla

Venture capitalist

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Terrence Malick

Terrence Malick

Film director

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Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Chief prosecutor

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Peter Moskos

Peter Moskos

Criminal justice professor

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Richard Muller

Richard Muller

Berkeley physicist

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Barack Obama

Barack Obama

President of the United States

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Rex Ryan

Rex Ryan

Head coach, New York Jets

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Ali Tarhouni

Ali Tarhouni

Libyan finance minister

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Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel

Technology entrepreneur

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Matthew Weiner

Matthew Weiner

Creator of Mad Men

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Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

Artist; dissident

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Paul Root Wolpe

Paul Root Wolpe

Ethicist

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