Readers appreciate the promise offered by these posts. Lists help them feel that challenging issues can be overcome, says psychiatrist Carrie Barron. Lists also help people set priorities and separate “the minutiae from what matters,” as Barron puts it.
As the co-founder of List.ly, Nick Kellet contends that lists help us feel smarter, actually make us smarter and help extend our memory. “When many people contribute to the same list, you get a collective record of the crowd’s wisdom,” he says.
Writers like lists, too. Sadly, they sometimes use them as a crutch. Here’s a primer on how to write better lists: