Compiled by magazine Vanity Fair, the list is divided into two categories: The Powers That Be, and the provocatively titled The Disrupters.
You won’t be surprised to read that News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch topped this year’s Powers That Be, followed by the likes of director David Fincher, politician Hillary Clinton and the combined force of Beyoncé and Jay Z.
Musk, at the top of the Distrupters list, leads a group considered to be big thinkers that are hungry for change and driven by innovation.
No surprise then that Musk is joined by the likes of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Uber founder Travis Kalanick and Spotify's Daniel Ek.
While the Google leaders are veterans of their industry these days, they, Kalanick and Ek have all played significant roles in shattering the status quo.
As for Musk, Vanity Fair describes the Tesla and Space X boss - also responsible for much of PayPal’s early success - as a man of “staggering ambition with a do-gooder sense of purpose [that] has made him revered among his peers”.
Musk’s rise to the top spot - from fifth in 2013 - was also driven by news in June that Tesla would no longer enforce its many technology patents, allowing all-comers to develop systems built around the company’s advancements.
“Tesla was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal,” Musk said in June.
Away from Tesla, the list also acknowledged Musk’s success with his space exploration company Space X and his latest venture, solar energy company SolarCity.
Tesla will make its full Australian debut this year with the coming launch of the all-electric Model S sedan. See our short review of the Model S here.