The Generic Villain continues a point-by-point facedown and update of that reference material of all baddies with imperial ambitions, The Evil Overlord List.
11. Be secure enough in superiority not to taunt enemies with riddle-clues or leave them alive to show they pose no threat. Really, I can’t argue with this—though I would like to point out that if there is a sound tactical reason for riddle-clues (which may actually be false, heh heh heh) or leaving weaker enemies alive, don’t let this injunction prevent you from doing so. Intent matters.
12. Five-year-old child adviser for quality control. Yes. This. Absolutely. (And then, when correcting the flaws said child adviser finds, consider fixing them in such a way that the plan still looks like it has them.) Do any of your minions have children? As long as there aren’t too many of them fighting over it, a little chance for nepotism can be good for morale.
13. Make sure your enemies are actually dead, preferably with lots of bullets or by burning the bodies. THEN announce/celebrate their deaths. Yes, absolutely, though I don’t think Peter goes quite far enough in this one—even if they are cremated, keep the ashes under close observation for a certain period of time, and do not under any circumstances let a protagonist make off with them. You’d be amazed at what a really good regenerator can recover from.
14. The hero isn’t entitled to any sort of last request. THIS. I need say no more.
15. No devices with digital countdowns; if they must be put in, have them go off at 117. Absolutely—but if there is any chance whatsoever that anyone likely to interfere with you has read the list, use a different number. And never use the same number twice. People do learn.
16. Never utter the sentence “But before I kill you, there’s just one thing I want to know.” I agree. If there is just one thing you want to know, and you can’t just let it go and find out somewhere else, don’t say it this way, they’ll figure out it’s important and that you not knowing will keep them alive. If there isn’t, just shoot them already.
17. When employing people as advisers, occasionally listen to their advice. There are a lot of reasons why this is a good idea. They have a perspective you don’t have. If you’re not going to take their advice, why are they on your payroll anyway? Heck, there are even good reasons to occasionally take the advice of that one you’re 99% sure is a mole for the protagonists: if you never ever take that one’s advice, it’s going to become clear that you suspect them, and that leads to endgames before you’re quite ready for an endgame. Yes, you’ll probably want to pick and choose the advice (as long as it’s in ways other than “which bit goes with my ego the best?”), but you shouldn’t ignore them entirely. Particularly not the five year old (see #12).