Person of the Year
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was it three times, Obama and Clinton twice and even I have been it once, in 2006, when The Time Magazine named all independent content creators working in the World Wide Web their Person of the Year.
According to Wikipedia Person of the Year is a group, person, an idea or an object that “for better or worse...has done the most to influence the events of the year.”
Who do you think has had the most influence this time? Let’s look at the Vegas odds for this year’s Person of the Year, announced on December 11th.
Time Magazine Person of the Year - Field of Winner
Before we look into the individuals, we can consider the higher level questions like: which field (profession) will the winner come from?
One profession dominates the list: politicians. US Presidents, Chinese rulers, Russians from Stalin to Putin, heads of states are always a good bet for this market.
Other notable groups that have collected multiple Person of the Year awards include activists (The Whistleblowers of Enron, Silence breakers of #Metoo) and CEOs (Mark Zuccerberg).
According to the online bookmaker Betway, the award is likeliest to go again to a politician (odds 1.90) - a scenario three times likelier than it going to a social media movement like #Metoo, which would pay your bet back with a 6.5 multiplier.
The Pope is always a good shout, but Francis has been relatively quiet this year.
Political institution like The EU would be a boring choice and it’s unlikely Time will take that path.
The murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi was one of four awardees last year with fellow journalists, known as The Guardians. I’d be surprised if a journalist was selected again this year.
I have one request for The Time Magazine - please, don’t choose anything Game of Thrones related.
Ok, let’s take a look at the favorites and some dark horses.
Time Magazine Person of the Year 2019 - Odds
The bookies’ favorite out the gate is Greta Thunberg, the now 16-year-old Swedish activist, who started to demonstrate outside the Swedish Parliament at the age of 15, demanding more sustainable energy solutions for future generations.
She’s been mentioned in the Nobel Peace Prize race as well, and she’d definitely be a good role model for each and every one of us. If she wins, you’ll double your money (Odds 2.0).
I want to highlight the chubby North Korean only to remind that the Person of the Year is very much NOT a popularity contest. If he wins, you’ll get your money back over 5 times over.
Mrs. Obama’s memoir was originally published in November 2018, but it propelled her to be one of the most inspiring global public figures of 2019. However, she would be a considerable surprise selection - Betway gives her odds of 21.00.
I’d not be surprised if Oprah’s name was written on the shortlist with ink. She won’t ever win it, but she’ll always be on the list.
Jean Claude Junker
The perpetually tipsy European Commission President, Jean Claude Junker, has been negotiating with the Brexiteers all year long. If it was hard with Theresa May, I can only imagine how impossible it is with Boris Johnson.
Angelina Jolie is known for her humanitarian work, but towards the end of 2019 she was in the headlines for her parenting; her essay Why The World Needs More Wicked Women was published in the September 2019 issue of Elle, and in it Jolie tells her daughters that the most important thing they can do is to develop their minds.
“You can always put on a pretty dress, but it doesn't matter what you wear on the outside if your mind isn't strong. There is nothing more attractive — you might even say enchanting — than a woman with an independent will and her own opinions.”
It’s so true, and so sad that it still needs to be said out loud.
Who do you think will be the Time’s Person of the Year 2019?