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Is this list necessary?

September 24, 2007

While the press has more extensively covered the “400 Richest Americans” list released by Forbes, the magazine has recently published its annual “World’s Most Powerful Women” list. Even a cursory review of the list reveals that either (1) I know much less about the nature of power than I originally thought or (2) the list is kind of useless.

A footnote discloses the rankings were made by “combining various financial figures with other media and biography metrics” but does not divulge the formula (or the “other metrics”) used. I am curious as to how Meredith Viera (No. 55) is more powerful than the President of Ireland (No. 58) or the President of Disney (No. 77). Being on TV daily in the U.S. makes you more powerful than the leader of a $181B economy or a $34B multinational corporation?

Also, where is J.K. Rowling on the list? As one of only a handful of self-made female billionaires in the world, and arguably the most successful and influential author in a generation, I would expect to find her on this list. (And I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books.)

Reading this list and some of the descriptions of the women who made the cut reminded me of this Onion article.

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