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Paul Romer

(Original source Time)

“It’s a big year for influence. Half the news out of Washington is about who has been trying to buy it, how much they paid, and whether they got their money’s worth. There are many lessons to be drawn from that situation. One of the less obvious is that influence is not so easy to come by. Even in Washington, it’s not always something you can go out and buy. Just ask the Chinese.

Which brings us to TIME’s 25 most influential people, 1997 edition. These are people who have accomplished something subtle and difficult. They have got other people to follow their lead. They don’t necessarily have the maximum in raw power; instead, they are people whose styles are imitated, whose ideas are adopted and whose examples are followed. Powerful people twist your arm. Influentials just sway your thinking.

Among this year’s 25 are good influences and dubious ones, public personalities and players so private you may not have known they were pulled up to the game board, much less that one of the pieces was you. They include the writer Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose thinking is influential; the chatterbox Rosie O’Donnell, whose cheer is influential; and the rock musician Trent Reznor, whose gloom is influential. (Funny world.) One way or another, these 25 are people to look out for.”

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