Ladders 101: The most influential people in the world of work, management, and career

We spend a third of our lives at work — and that’s a modest estimate. Usually, it’s not just for a paycheck. We expect a lot out of work: money, of course, but also recognition, fulfillment, new relationships, and new challenges. And what we put in is just as complicated: time and effort of course, but also spirit, ambition, and a desire, maybe, to improve the world in our own little way.

That’s a tall order. So when we want to do better, we look to the people who stand out, who make us want to improve, who show us the way to think bigger.

As we launch Ladders, a new daily publication about how work changes us and the world around us, we want to honor the people who really do work right — from the professors and psychologists who teach us more about ourselves and the economy to the women who fight for equal pay to the celebrities whose stories teach us to try harder and ask for better. They’re people who capture who we are, who we want to be. And in this unique moment in history, when everything about work is changing, they also tell us where we’re going.

This list of 101 people represents those to whom we look for inspiration. We hope their accomplishments, and their advice, lift you a little too.

— The Ladders Team