I just finished perusing the latest issue of TIME. I'm not a big magazine person, but TIME is one of my guilty pleasures (if a news magazine can be called a "guilty pleasure").

This week: the 2006 edition of TIME's 100 most influential people, including everyone from George W. to the MySpace guys to P. Diddy.

The question I was left asking: What exactly makes a person "influential"?

TIME broke it down into five categories: leaders and revolutionaries, scientists and thinkers, heroes and pioneers, builders and titans, and artists and entertainers. I can't deny that every person they threw out (or at least the bios I read) have influence upon the world or in the least American culture. They also did not comment on whether their influence is for the good or the bad, thus why Avman al-Sawahiri (Bin Laden's No. 1) made the list.

What makes a person of influence? At first glance of TIME's list, you might say power, but then there's guys and gals on the list like Mike Brown, the guy who tried to demote Pluto. The farther I went through the list, I could not find a consistent theorem except that in one way or another, whether you heard about it or not, every person in some way made news in the last year.

I have to be honest that I don't think anyone on the list has much influence over me--at least not direct influence, there is certainly a trickle effect from the politicians, the Skype guys, etc. Persons of influence in my life? People who invest in me. People who build relationships with me. People who I invest in. My friends. My family. Ministers. Professors. People I find to be wise. People who love me. People who believe in me.

What about you? What makes a person of influence in your life?