In Defense of Lists (c. 1977)
The Book of Lists was a sensation: produced by David Wallechinsky, Amy Wallace and Irving Wallace, along with a team of about sixty editors and contributors, it sold millions of copies. It was strange and funny and somewhat risqué. In retrospect, for a general interest trivia publication, it was also fairly progressive. (The last edition was published in 2005.)
But prefacing the the first edition, published in 1977, is an odd essay. It’s a preemptive defense of the listmaking project — a persuasive, or at least thorough, self-justification that our internet of lists, and barely recognizable list derivatives, never bothered to offer.