July 08, 2010
17 Reasons Why We Love Lists

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1. Lists simplify.

2. Lists promise instant knowledge.

3. Lists provide choices.

4. We are all victims of information overload. Lists help us make sense of the world.

5. Lists make it seem as if the list maker knows something that list readers don't.

6. Lists appeal to an ever expanding population of ADD sufferers.

7. Lists appeal to the left brain need for order and linearity.

8. Lists are made of soundbytes. Soundbytes 'R Us.

9. Lists are familiar. We grew up making them: laundry lists, grocery lists, and Christmas lists.

10. Lists can be updated, added to, or subtracted from easily.

11. Lists give us an instant opportunity to disagree.

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12. Lists, with their declarative headlines, make list readers feel like they are just about to get a crash course on a topic of great significance.

13. Lists, when forwarded to friends or clients, position the list forwarder as a knowledgeable resource.

14. Lists include items that are numbered -- and most readers assume that an item that's numbered must be more true than an item that's merely bulleted.

15. Lists can be printed quickly, folded up, and put into one's pocket -- as opposed to New Yorker articles, the collected works of Henry Miller, or Sunday's New York Times.

16. Items on lists can be easily crossed off, giving the list maker an instant feeling of accomplishment

17. Lists are great ways for list makers, especially in the hyperlinked blogosphere, to plug their own books, products, and services.

PS: If we've omitted any TOP REASONS why human beings love lists, leave us a comment. When we get ten or more, we'll post what our readers have sent us. As a list, of course.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at July 8, 2010 05:04 PM

Comments

OK, I'll bite: here are a few suggestions:


18. Lists are easily scanned (somewhat related to point 6, but still different).

19. Numbered lists provide a sense of progression (either forward or backward).

20. Lists build suspense and excitement.

21. Lists provide bite sized facts and insights (related to point 8, but still different)

22. Lists make it easy to refer back to individual points or facts during a conversation ("Let's review point 10 again, it's relevant to what we're talking about right now.... ")


There, halfway there. :)

Posted by: Mark Dykeman [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 9, 2010 02:07 PM

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