1. Lists get right to the point. No fluffy preambles are necessary.
2. Lists simplify.
3. Lists promise instant knowledge.
4. Lists provide choices.
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, Christmas lists....
10. Lists can be updated, added to, or subtracted from easily.
11. Lists give us an instant opportunity to disagree.
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 The Collected Works of Henry Miller, the Mahabharata or the Sunday edition of the New York Times.
16. Items on lists can be easily crossed off, giving the list maker an instant feeling of accomplishment
18. Lists are easily scanned.
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.
22. Lists make it easy to refer back to individual points or facts during a conversation ("Let's review point 10 again.")
23. We are all victims of information overload. Lists help us make sense of the world.
Mitch Ditkoff, known to list to the left at times, would like to dedicate this blog post to the patron saint of all list makers, Franz Liszt. Here's a list of 27 lists from his very popular blog, The Heart of Innovation.