I propose adding a "default" keyword argument to max() and min(), which provides a value to return in the event that an empty iterable is passed. (If no "default" argument is provided, and the iterable is empty, it would raise ValueError as it does currently.) I find this to be a very common need when using those functions. Of course this is already possible with a bit more code, but it depends on what type of object the iterable is -- if it supports __len__ or __nonzero__, that can be used to check if it's empty beforehand, but if it is a generator, for instance, it would have to be converted to a list first, which might be undesirable if there is the possibility that it is a very large sequence. Adding a "default" keyword argument to max() and min() would be an elegant way to centralize and simplify this common and useful behaviour.
If there is support for this idea, I can submit a patch implementing it.