From the movie “10 things i hate about you”

10 Reasons Why People Love Numbered Lists

Julie Zhuo
Jul 12, 2013 · 2 min read
  1. You can’t fathom how there could possibly be 10 reasons to love a numbered list. You must know what all 10 of those reasons are.
  2. Whatever this article is about, at least it won’t be tl;dr.
  3. There is archeological evidence suggesting that humans have been counting for at least 50,000 years. You see, back then, the people who could count were more likely to survive, as they could better keep track of how many people died after that woolly mammoth hunt. Also, how many woolly mammoths they’d have to hunt to subsist the winter. (Also, how many days winter lasted.) All this is to say that counting is an important skill that humans are naturally and evolutionarily predisposed towards.
  4. Even if a couple of the reasons don’t resonate with you, there’s a good chance you’ll find a few that will. Which is good, because all you ever wanted was to feel understood.
  5. Somewhere deep within our psyche, our subconscious aesthetic preference for lightness leads us to favor the list format (with its generosity of white space) over other denser, weightier formats.
  6. Anything numbered feels well-researched, well-ranked and official (even though the author eked out this article half-drunk at 2am because she was unable to compose anything more substantial than a link-baiting, journalism-killing sort of piece to wheedle clicks from your grubby little hands.)
  7. Lists evokes a nostalgic time when you used to enumerate for your best friend the 10 People of the Opposite Gender Whose Well-Defined _______ Makes Me Swoon with a well-sharpened, Number #2 pencil on a college-ruled notebook.
  8. Expectations are clear. I mean, you know exactly what you’re getting. It won’t be 1 reason. It won’t be 7. (Though it might be 2, if you’re that sort of person.)
  9. You are that sort of person, and you kind of expected this to be a too-clever-for-its-own-good nerd joke. (Alas, now you’re grossly disappointed it’s not.)
  10. By reaching this final number, you feel a baffling yet undeniable sense of accomplishment.

The Year of the Looking Glass

A collection of essays by Julie Zhuo on design, building products, and observing life.

Thanks to Mike Sego

    Julie Zhuo

    Written by

    Product design VP @ Facebook. Author of The Making of a Manager https://amzn.to/2PRwCyW. Find me @joulee. I love people, words, and food.

    The Year of the Looking Glass

    A collection of essays by Julie Zhuo on design, building products, and observing life.

    Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
    Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
    Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade