10 Reasons Not To Like Lists Disguised As Articles

Lists are a terrible waste of your time and mine. Here’s a list to explain why.

William Rudd
The Haven
Published in
2 min readMay 13, 2021


’10 ways to waste your time’ : Photo by Tristan Colangelo on Unsplash
  1. There is no nuance in a list, which means that the topic is either really basic or the article is incomplete and oversimplified.
  2. The headlines draw you in but the substance leaves you wanting.
  3. They are used by even the most reputable of news sources e.g. New York Times, BBC News because they get more clicks. They think that wasting pixels is not a problem like wasting printed column inches, despite the damage it does to their reputations.
  4. There is always one of the points that is repeated in a slightly modified fashion to help get an attractive number in the headline.
  5. You usually already know a few of the points before you start reading.
  6. A coherent argument is very difficult to get across in few enough words to make the point and still keep the flow of the list if any of the points are contentious. This is because bounce rates on lists are very high, people don’t stay engaged all the way to the bottom, especially if point 6 has many times more words than all of the other points put together, but still does little to add to the overall information and excitement of the piece.
  7. One of the points generally has some elements that have been repeated multiple times so that the headline says “10 things” rather than a less attention grabbing number.
  8. You can’t quote “a list I saw recently” in trying to back up your argument about best Chinese restaurants or cheapest holiday destinations or best cat video because there are so many lists these days that even the best ones lack merit.
  9. Reading through it, you realise it is not making you any smarter, compared to any other things that you could be doing, whether that is reading a good book, listening to a podcast or even watching adverts on TV.
  10. When you finish reading the list there is only regret and disappointment that you didn’t get out sooner, by stopping scrolling down and getting off your phone to go and do something.

If you liked this piece, the Haven has many more intelligent and amusing articles for you to peruse that won’t waste your time like this one did.

I wrote this piece in a flash of emotion having been suckered into yet another list masquerading as real news on a reputable news site. My usual writing can be found on my profile, with a mix of observations from around the world mostly relating to people, business and how the world works.



William Rudd
The Haven

Lived in Kenya, UK, & now Singapore. Love meeting people, reading, & playing sport. Enjoy everything from Entrepreneurship to Education to Ecology.