Elon Musk – For being one of the few people in Silicon Valley, or in all of the US really, to think big enough. He earns the top spot just for saying that he hopes to die on Mars.
Thomas Piketty – For providing this data-eager media climate a much-needed data infusion showing how the post-WWII period was a blip, and we have reverted to historical levels of inequality.
Lawrence Lessig – For trying to tackle campaign finance reform through the Mayday Super PAC.
Maria Popova – For her untiring work compiling the most interesting articles and links of the week in her Brain Pickings newsletter.
Tim Ferriss – For being the guinea pig of experiments in self-improvement and bio-hacking, so that the rest of us don’t have to test everything on ourselves, but can just follow his shining example instead.
Nick Bostrom – For starting the debate on how we should build an AI that will not destroy humankind in his brilliant book Superintelligence.
Yuval Harari Noah – For eloquently and innovatively summarizing the rise of humans in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
Peter Thiel – For investing in business that can create 10x improvements instead of incremental change, and for supporting potentially society-changing ideas such as Seasteading.
Richard Linklater – For one of the most innovative movies of the last years in Boyhood.
Max Tegmark – For his work on multiverses, for example in this year’s book Our Mathematical Universe.