Here's a list getting a lot of links today: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. The first three, sure, but after that, it's more, huh? What's really the game here? The first three seem to be there so we can slam the other things -- "The Second Sex," "The Feminine Mystique" -- by putting them in their company.
But people love lists. People will read lists. There's something so readable about them. In 1977, "The Book of Lists" was a huge best seller. I happen to have a copy here. Let me show you my favorite page:
UPDATE: The first page of "The Book of Lists" is a set of seven lists of "The Most Hated and Feared Persons in History" for the years 1970-1976. Hitler comes in Number 1 for all the years except 1972 and 1973, when Nixon comes in first! In fact, 1972 was a good year for Hitler, when he made it all the way down to fourth place. Idi Amin and Mao Tse-tung were, along with Nixon, more hated and feared. Satan was in fifth place that year. Amusingly, by 1976, Nixon is off the five-person list altogether, and Jimmy Carter is on, tied for fourth place with Count Dracula. The list was based on asking "3,500 international visitors" to the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in London "which persons -- past or present -- they hated the most."