71. Louise Arbour
for putting the world on notice.
CEO, International Crisis Group | Belgium
Before she took the reins at the International Crisis Group in 2008, Louise Arbour had already made a name for herself with her willingness to be impolitic in international bodies known for being diplomatic to the point of impotence. As chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the 1990s, she indicted Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic and the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Later, as the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, she nearly doubled her office's budget and commensurately increased its ambition, in the process offending all the right people (a Zimbabwean official mocked her office as a "deified oracle which spews out edicts we all must follow").
In her new role, Arbour's political savvy has transformed her groundbreaking organization from an indispensable source of information on the world's thorniest conflicts to a full-fledged actor in their resolution. The ICG's dogged investigation of war crimes committed in Sri Lanka's civil war, for example, has kept the issue front and center in 2010, a year after the hostilities ended. "The scale of civilian deaths and suffering demands a response," Arbour told reporters in May. And if there's one thing Arbour knows, it's how to get one.
Read more: Arbour talks to FP about the future of international human rights law.
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
72. Atul Gawande
for giving us the tools to make sense of an information-addled world.
Surgeon, Brigham and Women's Hospital | Boston
When Democratic senators were hammering out their landmark health-care reform legislation last year, Barack Obama handed them copies of a New Yorker article he had already made required reading in the White House: a careful dissection of out-of-control health-care costs written by Atul Gawande. A practicing surgeon, medical researcher, and educator with substantial wonk bona fides -- he worked as a health-policy advisor in Bill Clinton's White House -- Gawande has been among the most eloquent proponents of one key, if unglamorous, tenet of the reform passed by Congress: that cutting health care costs will require better data and decision-making processes.
In his new book The Checklist Manifesto, Gawande has gone further, offering a critique of how we make decisions in an age of information overload -- with lessons that resonate far beyond the operating room. "[T]he volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably," he writes. "Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us." As one of the big brains behind the World Health Organization's innovative Global Patient Safety Challenge, Gawande is taking his ideas international, devising a checklist- and data-driven blueprint that is being used by more than 3,000 hospitals worldwide to save lives.
73. Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff
for seeing the financial future in the past.
Economist, University of Maryland | College Park, Md.
Economist, Harvard University | Cambridge, Mass.
What happened in 2008 will happen again -- and it has been happening for at least 800 years. That's the message of the sardonically titled book, This Time Is Different, a history of financial crises over eight centuries by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.
What makes the book a must-read is the way it shows the same intellectual pitfalls at work in medieval currency wars and modern subprime mortgage crises, in the irrational exuberance of the 1920s and the early 2000s. Despite the book's deterministic outlook, its authors are trying to prevent history from repeating itself. In February, two months before Standard & Poor's downgraded Greece's credit rating to junk status, Rogoff warned of the danger of a global sovereign-debt crisis. More recently he has been girding us for a recovery that will be nasty, brutish -- and slow. "It took more than a decade to dig today's hole," he wrote in September, "and climbing out of it will take a while, too."