I must confess that I enjoy a good lead paragraph in a news story — a paragraph which can stand alone as a story in itself. Here’s an example by Dwight Garner, writing in the New York Times:
The New York Times Book Review’s advice and miscellaneous best-seller list — the place where self-help books go to eyeball one another — is a boisterous rolling carnival of hustlers and hacks and optimists and jokers, with the occasional naked lady, tent preacher, dog trainer or television chef thrown in for good measure. Serious books do appear there, but they’re like guests who’ve wandered into the wrong party.
I did read the rest of the piece, but that opening paragraph says it all. In ephemeral media such as newspapers and magazines, that opening paragraph serves as a hook to draw you in to the remainder of the story.
I can’t resist presenting one more satirical paragraph of Garner’s evaluation of the life of a media sleaze-artist:
Want to have “wolverine” sex? Who doesn’t? Eat 4 Brazil nuts, 20 raw almonds and 2 capsules of fermented cod-liver oil and butterfat four hours before intercourse. Mr. Ferriss used a hormone-slash-drug called human chorionic gonadotropin and more than tripled his semen volume. “Happy days,” he writes.
Want more? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, but here’s the link: