Matthew Stibbe, writer-in-chief at Bad Language, argues that the top ten list has become our culture's dominant form of expression. He cleverly supports his thesis with, naturally, a top ten list about how to create top ten lists that includes:
5. A little surprise in the middle, to keep up people’s interest.
10. Always leave them wanting more.
Earlier this week, Matthew shared his top ten tips for concentrating on writing, which he no doubt composed while avoiding doing his day job.
Works for me.
On the other hand, if you're Guy Kawasaki you can break the top-ten rule and use any number of items you wish, as in this thirteen-item list, "The Art of the Layoff." Thirteen does seem to be an appropriate number for such a bad-news topic.