Forbes and Time, among others, depend on their annual Top 100 lists of the wealthy, talented, and powerful to generate buzz. Forbes focuses on the rich, while Time gives a grab-bag including a few surprises like Tom Stoppard and Bruce Springsteen, but the basic idea is the same.
Business blog 24/7 Wall St. flips the basic idea upside down. "Remember Caesar, thou art mortal," the staff solemnly quotes. In their list, the "100 Least Powerful People under 100," they point out that "many companies and people on these most powerful and most respected lists don’t stay there for long." So instead of ranking the transient best, they pick out people from all domains of endeavor who "are much less important than they seem to be."
The list hits on many villains of the news cycle, as well as some surprises: the chairman of the Compensation Committee at AIG, the prime minister of Greece, Harvard's president Drew Faust, Al Gore, Meg Ryan ("heavy addiction to plastic surgery ruined her career"), Queen Elizabeth II, Janet Napolitano, and Ban-Ki Moon all make the cut.