I've raked leaves for my entire life because I was taught to and always felt it was the thing to do. The past couple of years, however, I've skipped doing it and was amazed how quickly they all decompose and return to the soil. For those with neighbors who get all bent out of shape if the leaves blow onto their property, I can understand the need to rake, and for those with compost heaps, it makes sense. They may be unsightly (to some people) but it's all temporary. Though I suppose it depends on the type of leaf... Oak leaves take a lot longer than most other leaves to decompose.