The Top Ten Reasons We Love Top Ten Lists

December 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Everybody is out touting their Top Ten lists for 2011, and why should Lipstick Economy be any different?  It seems that our culture is in love with Top Ten lists.  Need a topic for a speech?  Don your David Letterman alter ego and go after it.  Want to provide some humor in your group?  Rattle off an insider Top Ten list.  Certainly, social media is full of top ten lists, top five pointers and top three reasons.

Sometimes we alter our Top Ten to other numbers like our Top Three, but beware.  Rick Perry couldn’t remember his third point.  Seems we love the theological rightness of  three, seven and ten.

Some of the reasons we love Top Ten lists?

1.  Lists are recipes for life.  It seems that top ten lists help bring order to our lives.  Ten Reasons To Go On Vacation!  That’s the list that I want right now.  Ten Apps to Make You Rich.   We like the black and white, how to psychology of lists.

2.  Lists help us remember things of importance.  Unless you are Rick Perry, that is.  But organized people love lists and those little checklists allow us to compare ourselves with others.

3.  Lists give importance to random subjects.  Who wants to see the 357th all-time favorite movie?  Not me, I want to know what the top ten, or top 100 movies, books and albums are.

4.  Lists give prestige to  list makers.  David Letterman and Time Magazine know this well.  The person or group making the list gains reputation.  Benjamin Franklin was a great  list maker and it seemed to work well for him.  Franklin biographer Walter Isaacson in Time magazine said, “Franklin loved making lists. He made lists of rules for his tradesmen’s club, of synonyms for being drunk, of maxims for matrimonial happiness and of reasons to choose an older woman as a mistress. Most famously, as a young man, he made a list of personal virtues that he determined should define his life.”

5.  Lists help us focus.  Anyone can tell you that just making a list makes us feel we have accomplished something.  I love lists.  I love making them and crossing things off.  It’s a sense of order and accomplishment.

6.  Lists are a cure for procrastination.  GIving order to a really big task helps us work through it.  But a true procrastinator will make a list to keep from doing the work.

7.  Lists are an easy read.  For those who long for the quick answer, a list is usually navigated by numbers or bullet points, and the lack of long text make them undeniably tasty like short headlines and soundbites.

8.  Good lists are controversial.  Why?  Because you are putting your list out there so it can be compared to others mental lists.  If you don’t think “Feelings” is the all time worst lounge song of all time, you get to insert your own personal choice.  Best Dressed and Worst Dressed Lists are inevitable favorites after Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all those other awards shows.

 9.  Lists give you a platform for your own opinion.  Yep, it’s a shortcut to your own opinion about a topic or a category you are interested in.  Heck, it’s your opinion and it ought to be someone else’s as well.
10.  Lists are evergreen, timeless, endless and can be funny or serious.  The list is universal.  Quite the thing for any occasion.  Whether it’s your “Bucket List” or your 2012 Resolution List, the top ten can fill the bill.

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