The 100 most influential people in the world
That aside, the list is an eclectic collection of individuals from all corners of the globe, albeit with a US bias. Many of them are people you will never have heard of. We have picked out the most interesting entries.
"They are the people who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world," says Time. Each individual has been chosen by a different opinion maker or person working in that field.
Celebrities and rogues
There are plenty of famous people, including superstar Rihanna, Hollywood stars Jessica Chastain, Tilda Swinton and Bridesmaids' Kristen Wiig, moviemaker Harvey Weinstein, veteran investor Warren Buffett ('The Sage of Omaha') and Apple boss Tim Cook, who took over after Steve Jobs' death last year. Hackers are there as an anonymous entry. But where is Bill Gates?
Must-haves on the list are US president Barack Obama, along with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, German chancellor Angela Merkel and US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton (in that order).
There is also a smattering of Asian, African and Middle Eastern leaders. Qatari prime minister and foreign minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, 52, is listed as a peacemaker for his diplomatic efforts during the Arab Spring and his attempts to reconcile Palestinian groups.
Following the deaths of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, only four rogues made it onto the list: North Korea's 29-year-old leader Kim Jong Un; Afghanistan's Mullah Mohammed Omar, 52, fugitive leader of the Taliban, and Sheik Moktar Ali Zubeyr, 34, the purported emir of al-Shabab, an Islamic militia that has its roots in Somalia; and of course Syrian president Bashar Assad.
Sports figures include Argentine footballer Lionel Messi and Jeremy Lin, the currently injured American basketball player who dispelled the idea that Asian-Americans couldn't hack it in the National Basketball Association.
Also on the list are the world's No 1 in men's tennis, Serbian player Novak Djokovic, and the less well-known Yani Tseng, 23, from Taiwan, who is the youngest player ever, male or female, to win five major championships and the No 1 in women's golf.
In fact there are quite a few women, especially from the Middle East in the wake of the Arab spring. Also featured is Spanx underpants inventor Sara Blakely, who at 41 joined the billionaires' club recently as the youngest self-made woman in the world. And Elinor Ostrom, who was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009. The 78-year-old American economist was honoured for her analysis of economic governance, especially the governance of common property like air, water and public spaces.
Among the courageous women on the list is Samira Ibrahim, who along with other female protesters was forced by Egyptian soldiers to undergo "virginity tests". The 25-year-old marketing manager sued the military, and in December a civilian judge ruled the humiliating practice illegal. However, she suffered a major setback when a military tribunal acquitted the doctor who allegedly performed the "virginity tests." Samira has pledged to pursue the case using international law.
Another woman who has shown remarkable bravery is Maryam Duran, who runs a radio station that focuses on women's issues and is a member of the Kandahar provincial council in southern Afghanistan. A target for the Taliban, she has survived several assassination attempts.
In Saudi Arabia, where women are barred from driving, Manal al-Sharif, 32, a divorced mother of two, decided to take on the issue by posting a YouTube video of herself driving the Saudi streets last spring. Although she was jailed for nine days and publicly shamed, she inspired a civil disobedience movement.
While there are several writers (including E.L. James, a mother of two who six months ago scripted saucy stories for the web and became a publishing phenomenon overnight), artists are few and far between. Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, 60, who last year paid the price for his satirical drawings of the Assad regime is one of them. He was brutally beaten, leaving him unable to draw for a while. But he is back to cartooning – from outside Syria.
A somewhat surprising choice is American artist Christian Marclay, who made it into the list for his The Clock film. He took moments in films when people are interacting with time - looking at their watches or hanging on to the hands of Big Ben - and spliced them together in such a way that they unfold in real time over 24 hours. A remarkable piece, but where are the likes of Damien Hirst?
This brings me to the few British entries. Sarah Burton, the fashion designer who created Kate Middleton's wedding dress and was the right hand of Alexander McQueen before his suicide, made it onto the list. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Pippa Middleton share a joint entry (while Kate's husband Prince William is missing).
Singer Adele is also on the list, along with Pete Cashmore, who created digital media site Mashable from his bedroom in Scotland when he was 19, and has used social media sites to raise money to build freshwater wells I Africa.
The Time Top 100
Barbara Van Dahlen
Ali Babacan and Ahmet Davutoglu
Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani
U Thein Sein
Ayatullah Ali Khamenei
Juan Manuel Santos
Portia Simpson Miller
Maria das Graças Silva Foster
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Pippa Middleton
You can view more details on the full list here.