The 25 people we envy most
Sure, they're richer than you. And smarter. And they have more friends, faster cars, bigger houses, and hotter dates than you ever will. And they (mostly) have full heads of lustrous hair.* BUT THAT'S NO REASON TO HATE THEM.... RIGHT?
(FORTUNE Magazine) – Unless you're a villain in a big-screen thriller, power in and of itself is not necessarily the final objective. Sure, Lee Scott swings his Wal-Mart weight around with the best of 'em, but who grows up dreaming of overseeing supply chains? Admit it: The influence, perks, and lifestyle that come with power are what make it worth having. So for this year's Power Issue, we eschewed the idea of ranking dealmakers and corporate chieftains in terms of raw power and instead chose a slightly different metric: envy. Whose jobs do we covet most? Whose life is so fabulously filled with private jets, mogul confabs, and Cristal-drenched parties that we would ditch our careers in a second to trade places with them? There are seven deadly sins, but you'll be guilty of only one (and overwhelmingly) when you are done with this list. -- Reed Tucker
TIED FOR EMPEROR OF TECH SERGEY BRIN and LARRY PAGE Google co-presidents, co-founders
Ages: both 32 Why do we envy the emperors? Let's not be petty: It isn't the 37 million shares of Google they each own, recently worth altogether about $23 billion. Sure, it would be sort of neat to tool home in some suitably low-key ride and casually remark to the sig other that we'd made a couple hundred mil that day. And yeah, window-shopping at Boeing must be a rush. But the best part of being a Google Guy is that you're in the Software Zone. You're Michael Jordan circa 1992. Think the world should be able to search every book in the world? No problem, start scanning. Want to let people zoom around on 3-D satellite maps? Done. E-mail? No, Gmail. Disgusted with Wall Street mendacity? Hold an online IPO. Reinvent advertising? Yawn. Oh, to build a product that becomes an everyday verb--and to carry off a motto like "Don't be evil"! These guys have the brains that make Silicon Valley girls swoon. -- Oliver Ryan
TIGER WOODS Golfer
Age: 29 For one thing, this guy's "job" is something that many would lie to their boss and step over their sick wife to do. For another, even though Tiger made more than $8.6 million at "work" this year, those earnings pale in comparison with his endorsements. Deals with companies such as Buick, AmEx, Accenture and Nike--which drool over a clean-cut, multiracial superathlete tainted by neither steroids nor hookers--earned Tiger about $80 million last year, three times more than Phil Mickelson, the golfer second in endorsement cash. His gargantuan earnings and abilities helped Woods snag hot, blond Swede Elin Nordegren. He married her last fall in a $3 million Caribbean ceremony for which hairdressers were flown in from London, then took her on a honeymoon aboard his brand-new $20 million, 155-foot yacht.
As if that weren't enough: By age 40, the world's No. 1 golfer should be a billionaire. -- R.T.
PAUL ALLEN Yachtsman; co-founder, Vulcan Inc.
Age: 52 Gates or Allen? We choose Allen. Gates has to deal with antitrust headaches and worry about Windows viruses. Allen quit that racket in 1983 and set out to have fun and do good spending his Microsoft loot. He's worked hard at it, and somehow he's still worth upwards of $20 billion. First the toys: There's the museum full of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia, and the spaceship (he backed Burt Rutan's landmark flight). Then there are the three megayachts, the largest of which, Octopus, travels with several ex-Navy SEALs and the occasional swimsuit model. If you're a sports fan, it's nice to own some teams. Allen has the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers. Sure, the man has probably lost sleep over some of his bigger investment flops, but so what? He got to swing the bat, baby.
Trekkies, eat your heart out: Seattle's Science Fiction museum, which he co-founded, is home to the captain's chair from the Starship Enterprise. -- O.R.
MARIO BATALI Chef, Food Network personality
Age: 45 Imagine having a gig where short pants and orange Chuck Taylors are encouraged, where you can wear your hair in a ponytail, and the respect of your peers rises in direct proportion to your waistline. Such is the life of Mario Batali, the boisterous redheaded master of Italian cuisine whose appetite for wine, fun, and pig parts is virtually unrivaled. Batali stars in three TV shows, won the 2005 James Beard Award for best chef (the food world's equivalent of the Oscar), and runs five New York restaurants that are impossibly booked (a sixth opens in November). Through his food, TV, and cookbook empire, Batali reportedly pulls down about $2 million a year. The chef vacations at a second home in Northport, Mich., and also spends considerable time in Italy, where he's developing a vineyard.
As if that weren't enough: Batali has built a home kitchen with a ten-foot counter made from the same marble as Michelangelo's Pietà. -- R.T.
LUCKY HALL OF FAME Kevin Federline Unemployed backup dancer Marrying Britney Spears? Enviable. Relaxing in a chauffered golf cart with an icy Frappuccino while pregnant pop-star wife trots alongside? Priceless.
MARK BURNETT Reality-TV bigwig Age: 45 When you get to give orders to Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, and Sylvester Stallone (not to mention countless Survivor castaways), you're doing something right. The dashing former British paratrooper is one of the most prolific TV producers on the planet, and his crafty ancillary deals have allowed him to release CDs, promote boxing matches, and even gain ownership stakes in the companies (like Everlast) whose products his shows promote, meaning he'll be reaping the rewards of reality TV long after we've stopped watching it.
As if that weren't enough: To those who said his genre was just a passing fad, Survivor--now on its 12th cast--is still a top-ten show. -- Dalton Ross
ANDY GROVE Senior advisor and co-founder, Intel Age: 69 Grove is the guru's guru. He doesn't exactly live the high life, but he is so damn smart he has the ear of everyone who matters in Silicon Valley and beyond. While leading Intel, Grove made prescient decisions that kept the company at the top of the industry, including developing several generations of chips at once and turning Intel into a consumer brand with the "Intel Inside" campaign. He's written six books and now serves as the "internal agitator" at Intel, where he gets to put his brain to work on whatever intrigues him, while running his foundation on the side.
As if that weren't enough: He and his wife celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary this year.
TIED FOR MOST CREATIVE GUYS WITH JOBS JONATHAN IVE Senior VP of design, Apple
JOHN LASSETER EVP, creative, Pixar
There is no way to overstate this case, people: Virtually every product released by Ive, 38, and every movie conceived by Lasseter, 48, has been hailed as a work of genius. Since joining Apple in 1992, Ive has been the lead designer on hit after hit: The iMac, versions one, two, and three. Titanium PowerBooks. The iPod, which he reinvents year after year. Then there's Lasseter, who spent his youth corresponding with Disney animators and now runs Pixar, which has released six feature films that have made a total of more than $3 billion at the box office. Ive and Lasseter's joint boss, Steve Jobs, doesn't have a bad gig either, but has to busy himself with things like Wall Street and market share. Ive and Lasseter simply get to bask in the glory of creating some of the coolest stuff around. -- Kate Bonamici
ANDERSON COOPER Real news anchor
Age: 38 Suddenly, the silver-tongued and silver-haired anchor has been anointed the future of hard news. He has been gaining followers ever since his nightly CNN program, 360°, kicked off in 2003, but his coverage of Hurricane Katrina--specifically lighting into Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-Louisiana) for thanking George W. Bush while bodies in the street were "being eaten by rats"--wowed viewers. He's at once comforting, confrontational, and--oh, who are we kidding?--he's better-looking than Bob Scheiffer!
As if that weren't enough: Cooper is the son of socialite designer Gloria Vanderbilt. -- D.R.
JON STEWART Fake news anchor
Age: 42 He doesn't have Letterman's ratings or Leno's vintage-car collection, but Stewart still makes the kings of late night look lame. With his delicious skewering of politicians on The Daily Show, this equal-opportunity offender not only has made it cool to be well informed but also has somehow become the most trusted news source for an entire generation of skeptics. And just think: If we were the funniest person in America, this entry would probably be a lot more entertaining.
As if that weren't enough: He's won six Emmys in the past three years. -- D.R.
RICK WARREN Pastor, bestselling author
Age: 51 Look, if anyone is going to heaven, it's this guy. Saddleback Church, which he founded in his living room in 1980, is now a 120-acre campus with an average weekend attendance of 21,000. His book The Purpose-Driven Life has sold over 25 million copies and is among the bestselling nonfiction hardcovers in U.S. history. Apart from the Rolling Stones, not many middle-aged white guys can fill a stadium with adoring fans, but Warren can, and his are actually sober. The most influential evangelical since Billy Graham preaches in Hawaiian shirts and sandals.
As if that weren't enough: Warren gives away 90% of his income. And he'll never wake up wondering if his job has meaning. -- O.R.
J.K. ROWLING Author, head Muggle
Age: 40 Very few Britons can lay claim to being richer than their monarch, but Rowling pulled down more than six times Her Majesty's income in 2003 and is now reportedly worth a cool billion. Her sixth and latest adventure of the boy wizard, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, busted sales records over the summer by moving 6.9 million copies--250,000 an hour--in the U.S. on its first day, and the previous five installments have sold more than 270 million copies combined. Rowling splits her time between a ten-bedroom, $2.4 million mansion in Edinburgh, a $9.5 million flat in London, and a scenic Scotland estate--all the while ruling over a lucrative film, publishing, and pop-culture empire. Up next: the seventh and final Potter novel.
As if that weren't enough: Amazon.com recently named Rowling its bestselling author of all time, beating out the Bard and Dr. Seuss. -- R.T.
LUCKY HALL OF FAME Mark Cuban Owner, Dallas Mavericks What you need to know: Sold startup to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999. Bought the Mavs. Filled new arena with gizmos. Was fined more than $1 million for on-court antics. Starred in a flopped reality-TV show. Richer than you'll ever be. -- E.F.K.
THEO EPSTEIN G.M., Boston Red Sox Age: 31 No, he's not the richest guy on our list. (He makes "only" between $300,000 and $400,000.) And no, he doesn't get out so much. (The G.M. shuns book and talk-show offers and won't talk about where he lives, what he drives, or whom he dates. His unnamed girlfriend is in grad school for health-care policy. End of story.) But as far as boys and their dream jobs go, being the general manager of the Boston Red Sox has to be tops. Or at least just behind beer taster and masseur to Maria Sharapova. Since Epstein, who grew up steps away from Fenway Park, guided the supposedly cursed franchise to its first World Series title since 1918, the Yalie has achieved hometown-hero status.
As if that weren't enough: Epstein was hanging out with Eddie Vedder a couple of years ago when a Sox fan asked the Pearl Jam frontman to step aside so he could get a photo with the general manager. -- R.T.
RICHARD BRANSON Mogul Age: 55 If there's one industrialist who seems to have it all, it's Branson. Frankly, we're hard-pressed to even think of a runner-up. The British "rebel billionaire" dives into whatever interests him--wineries! cosmetics! oil refineries!--with such verve it hardly matters whether he makes money in the process. (He does--often enough, anyway.) Even an ill-fated Fox reality show couldn't slow down the consummate showman, who next wants to blast tourists into space via Virgin Galactic.
As if that weren't enough: Branson spends winter holidays at his South African game preserve and two months of the summer on his private island in the West Indies. -- D.R.
GWEN STEFANI Rock star, fashion designer Age: 36 Let's us count the ways in which we envy Gwen. Pop star whose music is adored around the world? Check. Beautiful woman who has a stomach flatter than a two-week-old Fresca? Check. Successfully spinning her interests and creativity into other fields? Check. Although Stefani's solo debut Love. Angel. Music. Baby. went platinum just one month after its November 2004 release, the singer is also making a name for herself in fashion with her well-received line, L.A.M.B. She and her husband, rock star Gavin Rossdale, split time between London and a house in L.A.'s trendy Los Féliz neighborhood. This fall she hits the road on her first solo tour.
Entourage alert! Stefani is often accompanied by four young Japanese women named, appropriately, Love, Angel, Music, and Baby. -- R.T.
BOB COSTAS Sports go-to guy Age: 53 Costas may be the world's best-paid sports fan. Though he hasn't aged in about two decades, he has enough seniority to pick his gigs. From the Olympics on NBC, to his own HBO talk show, to sitting in for Larry King on CNN, Costas has proved able to juggle topics as effortlessly as employers. Perhaps most amazingly, his encyclopedic knowledge of sports and his erudite delivery don't come off as supremely annoying, thanks to a quick--and often cutting--wit.
Lights! Camera! Costas! The play-by-play man has also amassed quite a movie career playing ... himself! His résumé includes BASEketball, Coach Carter, The Scout, and Pootie Tang. -- D.R.
HERBERT ALLEN JR. President and CEO, Allen & Co. Age: 65 You know you're powerful when all the media moguls in the world come to you. Allen's annual Sun Valley, Idaho, confab is a coveted invitation in executive circles, and his New York City--based investment bank, Allen & Co., is known for consistently scoring top deals (it was a lead underwriter on Google's IPO). While his son, Herb III, manages day-to-day operations at the firm, Allen is free to oversee investments, chat with fellow moguls, and sit on boards such as Coca-Cola's. Though it's unclear exactly how wealthy he is, his fortune has been estimated at some $1.8 billion. He owns a handful of houses and an extensive collection of American paintings and Western sculpture.
As if that weren't enough: How many other billionaires have managed to stay friendly with two ex-wives? -- Julia Boorstin
PHOEBE PHILO Creative director, Chloe Age: 31 In the world's cattiest industry, Philo has somehow managed to become universally adored. While most fledgling fashion designers are fetching coffee at age 27, Philo at that age was promoted to the top job at Chloe, the venerated 53-year-old Parisian house, where she took over from pal Stella McCartney. Philo is not only critically acclaimed--the word "visionary" has been tossed around --but her designs actually sell. Between 2001, when she showed her first collection, and 2005, Chloe's profits were up 60% and her $1,300 handbags had sparked endless waiting lists. After work Philo heads home to her 5-month-old daughter, her successful art dealer husband, and a circle of friends who are a who's who of the cool, brainy, and artistic. Her commute isn't bad, either: The Brit divides her time between London and Paris.
As if that weren't enough: Philo is so gorgeous she's sometimes mistaken for one of her models. -- Susan Casey
BURT RUTAN CEO, Scaled Composites
ELON MUSK CEO, SpaceX
Sex, drugs, and rock & roll are fine, but nothing trumps space. The getups are wackier, the costs higher, and there's zero gravity. Leading the race is Burt Rutan, 62. Cash flow is no object (he's backed by Paul Allen and won 2004's $10 million X-Prize for sending an aircraft into suborbital space). Now Rutan is trying to develop tourist flights with Richard Branson. Then there's ex-dot-commer Elon Musk, 34, who made nearly $200 million selling PayPal to eBay in 2002. Right now SpaceX is working on commercial payloads. But those Falcon rockets are "man-rated," and Musk has talked of Mars mission. Bottom line: It's all about power, and the guy with the biggest engine still wins. -- K. B. and O. R.
BRAD GREY Chairman and CEO, Paramount Studios
Age: 48 Brad Grey hangs out with movie stars, lives like one, and could probably pass for one too. But instead of having to answer to studio chiefs, he is one. "There are 20 people who basically run [Hollywood]. Brad can get any of them on the phone immediately," Grey's former partner Bernie Brillstein once said. But no doubt it's Grey's phone that's been ringing since the former head of talent agency Brillstein-Grey was tapped to take over troubled Paramount last January. As for the high life? Grey made an estimated $180 million when he sold two production units he controlled back in 1994, then pocketed $262 million when Just Shoot Me, a sitcom he produced, was syndicated. He drives a $125,000 black Mercedes and travels by private jet. He lives in a seven- bedroom, 12-bath mansion in posh Pacific Palisades, Calif., with his wife and kids and owns another home in the mountains of Utah. Good thing he has a guest room: Pals like Brad Pitt may need a place to crash. -- R. T.
CHRIS ROCK Comic
Age: 40 It's one thing to be effortlessly funny; it's another to consistently cash in on said effortless humor. Rock gets raves for his considerable awards-show-hosting abilities, his movie career (his last two movies, The Longest Yard and Madagascar, opened on the same day as No. 1 and No. 2 at the box office and together grossed $349 million), and the sitcom based on his childhood, Everybody Hates Chris, which is one of the best-reviewed new shows of the season. The fact that he's unafraid to trash the prettiest actors of our generation--specifically Jude Law--only makes us fonder. -- D. R.
JEFFREY SACHS Economist
Age: 50 When Angelina Jolie is your travel partner on a goodwill tour of Africa, you've done well for an academic. Did we mention that Bono wrote the foreword to his latest book? With two consecutive nods from Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, writing gigs at influential publications, and a post directing the Earth Institute at Columbia, Sachs is one of the few economists to be a household name.
As if that weren't enough: Sachs got his BA, master's, and Ph.D. from Harvard, all by the time he was 25. By 28, he was a full professor. -- K. B.
JAKE BURTON CEO, Burton Snowboards
Age: 51 Burton's workplace philosophy seems to be to spend as little time in it as possible. His goal is to hit the slopes for at least 100 days every season. During 2003--04, he spent nine months traveling the world and ripping up powder in New Zealand, Patagonia, and the Alps. And he lets his employees partake of that karma too: When Burlington, Vt., gets more than two feet of snow, Burton's employees get the day off.
As if that weren't enough: He and his wife often hold midnight snowmobiling parties at their Vermont home, which has an underground skateboard path connecting the house to the barn. -- R. T.
LUCKY HALL OF FAME Richard Scrushy
It looked bad when five of his former CFOs testified for the feds. But with a prominent local church on his side and a new TV Bible show on the air, the born-again Scrushy got off. It's a miracle! -- E.F.K.
LUCKY HALL OF FAME GETTING PAID TO MOUTH OFF!
KELLY RIPA Co-host, Live With Regis and Kelly; star of Hope & Faith
Age: 35 Ripa's one-hour chatfest starts at 9 A.M., sparing her the dehumanizing 4 A.M. wake-up call faced by the morning-show hosts. It's a softball prep job, too, with a roster of entertainment guests, vacation giveaways, and makeover segments. Don't get us wrong: Ripa is adorable and quite funny. But with a five-year, $27.5 million contract (reportedly worth $40 million once a cut of profits is factored in), she rakes in more than $36,000 for each hour on the air (not to mention the checks for her sitcom). To top it off, Ripa gets $75,000 a year for clothes, and ABC provides a car service for her and her family. -- K. B.
SEAN HANNITY Co-host, Hannity & Colmes; host of radio program The Sean Hannity Show
Age: 43 It's every blowhard's dream: getting paid to preach to the choir. For four hours a day Hannity fills the airwaves with his sure-fire formula: If you agree with his conservative worldview, you're deemed a "great American." If you don't, you're a pusillanimous blame-America-firster, who might as well pledge allegiance to France. Armed with a classic talk-radio voice, Hannity reportedly makes $5 million a year for the radio show, and undoubtedly more from Fox. Plus he's written two bestsellers and draws legions of fans to his national tours. -- K. B.
CRAIG VENTER Genomics pioneer
Age: 59 Well, for one thing, we wouldn't mind this on our résumé: "Deciphered the code of life." It took Venter only 14 months to sequence the human genome, and that was just Act I. Endowed with $100 million in proceeds from that feat, he established the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation and the Venter Institute. Then, free to pursue any scientific project imaginable, he bought a luxurious 95-foot sailboat called The Sorcerer II, outfitted it as a state-of-the-art research lab, and in spring of 2003 embarked on an expedition to discover new forms of life in the world's oceans. During its test voyage in the Sargasso Sea, Venter and crew discovered 1.2 million previously unknown genes and 1,800 new species. Since then, the expedition has been meandering through places like French Polynesia, Australia, and the Caribbean. Venter's next act: He has a new company that aims to synthesize life.
As if that's not enough: The Sorcerer II carries a selection of surfboards in case scientists happen upon a nice swell in the tropics. -- S. C.
PETER JACKSON Lord of the box office
Age: 43 Imagine being a famous director who gets to create elaborate fantasy worlds filled with elves, giant gorillas, and starlets. Now imagine getting a blank check to do so. After Lord of the Rings' 17 Oscars and $3 billion box-office performance, Jackson has more creative control than most directors can even imagine. His remake of King Kong--a project he's been wanting to do since age 13--hits theaters in December, and the trailer already has fans salivating.
As if that's not enough: While working on Kong, he had an extreme makeover, losing 70 pounds. He also ditched the oversized specs thanks to laser eye surgery. -- D. R.