If you do much reading online (and presumably you do), you probably have seen a lot of listicles (“list” plus “article,” get it?). You see a lot of them because its better for everyone–writer and reader alike–to produce or consume content in the form of a list. A writer doesn’t have to much bother weaving a pesky narrative, or at least can construct a three or four sentence one followed by a bunch of bullet points or numbers that either put things in a meaningless order or rank them by criteria that most people will not look at. From the reader’s perspective, lists are easy to digest and offer fewer words and even fewer sentences to think about. (You are also psychologically compelled to click on a headline with a number in it.) Most of all publishers and editors like them because lists are often the most clicked on stories and that brings in more ad revenue. It’s a win for all!
And (to my editor who is reading), regarding everything I wrote above, I kid. Some of the lists below actually had a ton of thought put into them. Take our World Changing Ideas list published in early 2014–that was the result of a Fast Company-wide brainstorm, many subsequent meetings, and the reporting of at least of dozen staff.
So what were some of our most popular lists in 2014? Guess what, we’ve provided them in a handy list below, in no particular order.
Young people today want to do work with purpose. If you’re having a hard time finding that, these lessons can help.
Americans think it’s normal to hate their jobs. Let us introduce you to the Danish concept of arbejdsglæde. It means happiness at work. Here’s how Danish offices make sure it’s happening.
Bold predictions for the companies, people, and ideas that will impact our lives in the next 12 months.
These cities that are doing the best at embracing the future are focusing on improving technology, equality, sharing, civic participation, and more.
Would people use condoms more if they felt better when you were having sex? That’s the million dollar bet the foundation is making in its contest to redesign the rubber, with innovations like condoms that tighten while you have sex.
Your job seems normal now. In 15 years, when someone tells you they’re a simplicity expert or a robot counselor, you won’t blink an eye.
What, where, and how will we learn?
Some cities, like New York and Tokyo, offer economic and cultural clout. Others, like Vancouver and Melbourne, offer “comfort.” A new ranking attempts to balance both.
Six years isn’t that long, but the rapid pace of innovation means everything—from education to health care to the Internet itself—could look a lot different by then.
From a net-zero energy historic courthouse in Colorado to a homeless center in Oregon filled with green space, these days, the best sustainable architecture goes far beyond a few rooftop solar panels.
Fire hydrants, parking signs, street lights, and other pieces of urban infrastructure can also make city life a little better and more whimsical, with just a few simple twists.
Which countries are the best for people under 25—who now make up half the world’s population?
Want to live in a beautiful nation that protects your health? It turns out Switzerland is your best bet (the chocolate is also good).
Read more of our best stories of the year, in these categories: Most-read, photos, infographics, lists, videos, maps, buildings, robots, transportation, bikes, food, collaborative consumption, cities, energy, environment, health, education, crowdfunding, innovative workplaces, and privacy.