Shai Agassi: CEO of Better Place
Why We Picked Him: He was building a system of charging stations that would make electric vehicles more practical.
Report Card: Today, his company has three test vehicles on the road as part of Tokyo's taxi system, and expects to launch electric vehicles commercially in Israel and Denmark next year. It also recently inked a partnership with GE enabling the two companies to harmonize their work on electric vehicle infrastructure. But, as Agassi admitted to The Wall Street Journal in July, he's had trouble getting support for his charging stations in the U.S.--investors don't want to put money into electric vehicle-charging stations in a country where gas is still a comparatively cheaper fuel.
Ben Bernanke: Chairman of the Federal Reserve
Why We Picked Him: He was using almost every tool in the box--and creating some new ones--in order to stop the economy from falling apart in 2008 and 2009.
Report Card: By all accounts, quantifying Bernanke's success requires proving a negative: the true measurement of his ingenuity isn't how well the economy is doing, but how much worse it could have been if he hadn't acted as he did. He helped to bring the recession to its official end in June 2009, but no one--least of all Bernanke--claims the recovery will be quick and easy. He will continue to oversee U.S. monetary policy for the next few years, as he was nominated by President Obama to a second term as chairman and confirmed by the Senate in January.