100 greatest living business minds: Lessons and ideas

Published: Nov 8, 2017

g_100791_ratan_tata_280x210.jpgRatan Tata


To celebrate a magazine that has always championed the power of the individual, we have amassed what we believe to be the greatest-ever collection of business essayists—100 entrepreneurs, visionaries and prophets of capitalism who have shaped the past century. And we’ve complemented this A-to-Z encyclopaedia of ideas with the greatest-ever portrait portfolio in business history, all taken by the amazing Martin Schoeller, who literally travelled around the world for it. The result is a visual time capsule and master class in entrepreneurial thinking conveyed in 100 anecdotes, lessons and ideas.

While Forbes prides itself on quantifiable lists—the richest, the biggest, the highest—assembling a list of the 100 greatest business living minds is inherently subjective. More than a dozen editors met dozens of times over two years, winnowing an initial roster more than three times as large. In the end, we opted for doers over theoreticians, disruptive entrepreneurs over those that inherit or CEOs that maintain. We sought people who had either created something with a lasting impact on the world or innovated in a way that transcends their given field. We also required that the honourees actively participate in the project—all these essays are original, wisdom from the sages themselves. While the advice is tailored to the future, this list reflects, to a large degree, the achievements of the past, for both Forbes and the greater business world. It was the American century, and our roots and readership lean that way. It was also a period that skewed older and whiter and male.

Click here for The 100 Greatest Living Business Minds

That said, change is coming: Twenty-three people on the list are non-white. Twenty-five are not American, including 11 from Asia, the world’s most dynamic business region. Ten are women, and 11 are under 50. When someone reads the 200th anniversary issue of Forbes, I expect all these numbers will increase substantially.

Such dynamism is the magazine’s lifeblood—it’s what makes Forbes as relevant now as it was in 1917.

—Randall Lane, editor, Forbes magazine

Contributors: Susan Adams, Dan Alexander, George Anders, Madeline Berg, Steven Bertoni, Abram Brown, Kathleen Chaykowski, Kerry A Dolan, Matt Drange, Antoine Gara, Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Miguel Helft, Chris Helman, Matthew Herper, Alex Konrad, Luisa Kroll, Michael Noer, Janet
Novack, Randall Lane, Clare O’Connor, Michael Ozanian, Natalie Robehmed, Matt Schifrin, Michael Solomon, Halah Touryalai, Nathan Vardi, Alexandra Wilson

Click here for The 100 Greatest Living Business Minds


(This story appears in the 10 November, 2017 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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