The Value of Lists

Wired magazine’s top ten list of why lists are valuable:

10. Lists condense complex information into a simple form.

9. As VH1 proves, chunking disparate ideas into a list makes nostalgia look like entertainment.

8. Essays? Annoyingly laborious. Lists? Ridiculously easy!

7. List-making lets you carve an identity from the glut of cultural artifacts out there (books, songs, movies – even geocoded, miniaturized, graffiti manga). No one can listen to every piece of recorded music, but anyone can make a list of their favorites.

6. Lists impress people during dinner parties. Sure.

5. Making a list is a way to editorialize about yourself while not actually saying anything about yourself.

4. Lists are tiny coded messages that mean everything to a targeted audience and nothing to everyone else.

3. Lists are a form of prediction; they implicitly inscribe the future.

2. Writing a list is a tidy way to summarize the past. The grocery list was created as a recall device, and the Favorites list records yesterday’s desires.

1. Lists are itty-bitty utopias, perfectly structured with mathematical elegance.