Long before David Letterman popularized the top 10 list, God delivered to Moses in the desert two tablets inscribed with a list of rules.Since then,lists have become an easy shorthand for organizing just about anything.Just try going shopping without one.

Why all the fuss about lists?Human beings crave order,and lists are one way of bringing a subject or task into focus.Lists also measure our accomplishments against those of others.Learning that Ralph Lauren ’s compensation rose 556 percent last year,while Tommy Hilfiger ’s declined 7 percent,is a guilty pleasure.

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