Dennis Lyons

I’ve got a question for you.

How much influence would you say singer Taylor Swift, TV journalist Gayle King, soccer player Mohamed Salah, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and actors Sandra Oh and Dwayne Johnson had on your life in the past year.

I could be wrong, but my guess is maybe not so much.

They were each among the famous and not quite as famous folks featured in Time Magazine’s annual “100 Most Influential People in the World” edition released last week.

Sure, you may have enjoyed their music, sports, TV, political or film performances. I think Gayle King is a terrific journalist.

But when I consider people who have influenced me — the people who have really made a difference — I tend to think of my parents, my wife, my kids, several great teachers, one particular Boy Scout leader and  my first boss in publishing.

There’s not a famous name among them. 

People love lists like this, though, and I did have fun going through it.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh made Time’s list. So did Christine Blasey Ford, who memorably testified against him.

President Trump is on it, along with Attorney General William Barr and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. That’s timely.

Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV “Fixer Upper” fame made it. I can say with confidence they have influenced many potential home buyers who want to see Chip and Joanna-like touches when they consider houses for sale. Selling a house will never be the same because of the expectations they and other HGTV hosts have created.

By the way their short profile was written by none other than Tim Tebow, who some — though not me — might argue should have been on the list.

There were some influencers with whom, I have to admit, I was completely unfamiliar, including artist Luchita Hurtado and astronomer Sheperd Doeleman. That’s on me. Both are incredibly accomplished.

You can see the whole list at this link:

Time, I read on the CNN web site, has been pulling together this collection of “politicians, entrepreneurs, disruptors, celebrities, whistleblowers, and do-gooders,” since 2004.

On its own website, Time explains, in part, what the list is all about.

“One way or another they each embody a breakthrough: they broke the rules, broke the record, broke the silence, broke the boundaries to reveal what we’re capable of.”

I get it. Some famous folks do provide inspiration. 

I wanted to become a journalist, at least in some small part, because of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s reporting on Watergate.  

We’ve probably all been inspired and maybe a bit influenced by famous people, past and present. When I was a kid, I considered astronaut John Glenn a hero. I still do. 

I’ll read any book or watch any movie about Abraham Lincoln. 

And, of course, on Easter Sunday and on every other day, there’s Jesus — the greatest of all influencers for more than 2 billion Christians worldwide.   

I wonder if Time considered Him for the list.

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