I think portraits look best when using close-proximity light placement to elicit some natural fall-off. Light fall-off helps create subtle gradients of light-to-dark, which helps create form. I generally place my key light as close as possible to my subject, both to increase wrap, and to enhance light fall-off. As I've said before, I think many of those starting out in portrait lighting often suffer from too much fill, rendering a flat, shapeless form. Also, as Gonzo mentions, face shape often influences how the subject looks under any given lighting approach, so no single rule or technique applies to every face.
I think the two easiest head-and-shoulder portrait lighting styles to attempt for shooters at any level is a single, large source, close to the subject, and the clamshell set-up. Clamshell lighting places two sources, above and below the subject, and is often the most flattering. Still, placing those two sources relatively close to your subject will also elicit some desired amount of fall-off. I've written a brief tutorial on clamshell lighting at my personal website: http://lightbasics.com/clamshell-lighting/