Editor’s Letter: Finding the Worthy Few
Stan Lee wrote, “With great power comes great responsibility,” about a teenage boy who acquired superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Here at Worth, we celebrate more prosaic superpowers: academic achievement, entrepreneurial spirit, public service, technological innovation, and philanthropic efforts. Indeed, wealth itself can be seen as a superpower, with a profound ability to shape the world. Before that can happen, that “responsibility” must be accepted. This year’s Worthy 100 list shines with people who have done just that.
Worth Magazine is celebrating the 100 people who made the biggest impact in 2023. Who are the entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, celebrities, and philanthropists that added the most value to the world in the last year? Make your nomination here.
First, let me say I hate lists like this. The Worth staff was arguing over who would make it and who would not right up to our deadline. Submissions came from our readers, last year’s winners, and the editorial staff. Candidates were judged not by their fame or fortune but by their impact on the world. There are incredibly Worthy people that did not make the cut and people who made it that are imperfect individuals. We also tried to make the list as diverse as possible. There are names you will recognize and some that you don’t but should. Here are just a few:
Chef Jose Andres made the list last year, but this year he served more than 300,000 meals to Hurricane Ian victims in Southwest Florida and served hot meals in the Ukraine 24 hours after the Russian invasion. He made the list again.
Allisa Song managed to make a big impact by making eyedrops small. After noticing that most commercial eyedrops deliver two to three times more medicine than the eye can take in, driving up consumer costs and profits for drug companies, she created the Nanodropper that solved the mismatch. She made the list.
As the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard created a retail company operating with an ESG focus before the term was popularized. This year he announced he would put his entire company, currently valued at about $3 billion, into a public trust so all of its future profits would go to preserve the environment. He made the list again.
In the end, I think we assembled a collection that is impressive, surprising, and undeniably worthy. The Worth team is thrilled to recognize and celebrate these individuals for their outstanding work. That said, stories like this are for the award winners. As you will see, most have already achieved some measure of “worth beyond wealth.”
These winners are intended as models for the rest of us. You may not be able to organize an international relief effort in a war-torn country or engineer a smaller drop of medicine, but you can do something.
And if you are fortunate enough to have superpowers, regardless if they were acquired by accident of birth, years of hard work, savvy investing, or a spider bite, you can probably do more.
It is never too early to start working on next year’s list.