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The To-Do List

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  675 ratings  ·  79 reviews
This work tells how on the eve of his 36th birthday, author and journalist Mike Gayle picked up a pen and contemplated his life. In less than 24 hours he would be officially closer to 40 than to 30. Gripped by a determination to sort out his life, Mike wrote a list of all the things he has meant to do but never got round to.
Paperback, 343 pages
Published 2009 by Hodder (first published December 27th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,159)
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Helen
While the story itself wasn't that bad the ending did feel a bit open. Read this book more for the journey than the destination.
Sharon
There are some funny and some touching moments in Mike Gayle’s book, but overall I didn’t find it that inspiring. Everyone has experienced writing a to-do list – whether it is something you do regularly to help you get things done, or a once in a while purge, but Mike has written a 1277 item list.

The things on his list are not of the outrageous type but more of the mundane everyday things that people brush aside and let build up – although the ridiculous 24 hour trip to New York to buy his wife
...more
J K
So....a nice enough guy makes a long list of all the dullest tasks he can think of, and does them, mostly, and his life is still lovely and nothing really significantly changes because he happily admits he's a 'bit hopeless' at finishing (or indeed starting) these tasks. So he does all the boring things on his list, and takes the world's briefest trip to New York to buy a mug which he fails at, and he gets a tad arsey at an AOL account phoneline which he should have cancelled back in 2001....

le
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Margrét
My full video review can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN2fKd...

I first noticed this book in a bookstore because of its title and became intrigued by its premise – A man writes down a ridiculously long to-do list and then tries to cross everything off in only one year. I love making to-do lists, but don’t always end up doing everything on them, so I thought that this would be an interesting read.

Mike Gayle is a successful writer, has a loving wife, two daughters, a comfortable hom
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Anne
I only recently discovered Mike Gayle and enjoyed his novel 'Wish You Were Here' so was really looking forward to reading this, his first non-fiction book.

It's a simple enough idea - Mike decides it's time he and his wife become 'real grown ups', he is inspired by his next-door neighbours who appear very adult like, with regular dinner parties, a tidy home and responsible jobs. So, Mike writes his to-do list and aims to have 99% of list ticked off by the time his next birthday arrives, in twelve
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Ida


Kind of meh. It was nothing special really but I did enjoy reading it. Wish it had been funnier, because that would have made it more "worth it". I got seriously annoyed with the main character sometimes, he was such a procrastinator. I think everybody are procrastinators, but he was an extreme one. Just do it! Some of the things were from years ago, come on! Anyway. If you would stumble upon it, read it, but otherwise I wouldn't recommend it.
Jule
I expected a lot more, since I loved the title and the summary of the book, but somehow I couldn't really relate to the character of Mike and kind of found it ridiculous to have a 1,277 item to-do list, even though I myself am a huge fan of to-do lists.
Pete Husky


Mike has a lovely conversational writing style, but ultimately this is a bit of autobio not fiction, and the plot is thin despite t being a good concept
Emily
I bought this book on a whim in a charity shop - there was an offer of 3 books for 1, and I had already picked up 'Angels and Demons' and 'Tales of Beadle the Bard', so I thought I might as well sweeten the deal. This book caught my eye because I love making to-do lists, but my own lists usually consist of daily plans and other short term items. I am notoriously bad at planning anything in the long term.

Now, it usually takes some science fiction or magical element for me to enjoy a book, but The
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Jessica
I remember purchasing, and reading, this book back when it was a new release. I had high hopes for this book with a list based storyline full of adventure. I was neither pleasantly, nor unpleasantly surprised by the mundane theme to the list itself- featuring essentially a massive list of year to year jobs within the household. In some chapters I found myself reading just in the hopes that the story would pickup and some kind of excitement would happen.

Sad to say I think I was more relieved to
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Maartje (Tizzalicious) Witteveen
If you love lists, you'll love this.
Leah
I’m quite a fan of Mike Gayle and have read the majority of his books and, not only that, have enjoyed them, too. With chick lit being such a female-dominated genre, it’s refreshing to read a book written by a man, about a man, once in a while. Mike Gayle is probably one of the best lad lit (a term I hate, despite the fact I advocate it’s opposite chick lit) and I find his reads funny and refreshing. When I read he was writing a non-fiction book based on a to-do list he wrote (aptly titled The T ...more
DubaiReader
Monotonous.

Having read and enjoyed Mike Gayle's, Dinner For Two, I had expected a similar light read from The To-Do List. I hadn't expected exactly what the title had warned me - a book about a 30-something guy, attempting to complete a 1277 item to-do list. (Which he must have repeated at least 1,277 times!). The first third of the book was not even about said list - it was about trying to find reasons why he shouldn't actually attempt the list at all!

This was another book that I would have aba
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Melissa
I was initially drawn to this title because I myself love writing to-do lists. I think there's something satisfying coming up with a long list and then striking things one by one. You feel a great sense of accomplishment. Well, Mike Gayle has come up with 1,277 things on his list.

Honestly, I think it's very hard to write an entire novel based on just a to-do list. Sure, it's incredibly epic but still. You'd have to be a beyond-brilliant author to pull it off. Unfortunately, Gayle is not one of
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Angeljem
How do you go about finishing off your to do list? All those annoying little things like the damp patch on the ceiling and the squeaking door? How about (if you're a writer) give yourself a finite amount of time to get it done and get a book deal via your agent to make the effort worth the while? Essentially that is what Mike Gayle does. He writes his list out (all 1277 items)and sets himself a deadline; by his 37th birthday he will have finished.
This book sits very nicely on the shelf with the
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Lydia Laceby
Originally Reviewed at Novel Escapes

I’ve always loved Lad Lit and having read and chuckled through a few Mike Gayle novels several years back, I was happy to find the same quality and humour I’ve come to expect with his novels. This To-Do List was equal parts charming and hilarious. I loved the story and haven’t been able to stop making lists ever since - although mine aren’t nearly as ambitious!

I could relate to Mike’s list, although not quite on such a grand scale and could feel the sense of a
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Hil
I enjoyed this but at the same time I wouldn't really recommend it. I like his writing style, which is the same as his writing style when he's writing fiction rather than autobiographical. I am doing my own "List" at the moment as well which added to my enjoyment of it, but I do have some criticisms of his list! However, the book is for entertainment purposes so what does it matter? I'm probably just bitter and twisted that Mike gets to be paid a wage for writing a book about doing what most peo ...more
Becca
I enjoyed this book. It was the story of a man who developed a 1277 item to do list of things he felt would make him more of a "proper adult". The whole thing started after his 36th birthday and his observation of the neighbors "Derek and Jessica" who he felt were much more adult than he was. So he put together this list and decided to complete it before his 37th birthday. Now, I am a huge fan of lists and was intrigued by the challenge of a list this big in a year. Some of the things weren't to ...more
Sandy
This was another one I listened to as I ran. The two stars are because 1) I liked the premise and a few interesting insights and 2) That British accent means he could be reading the dictionary aloud, and I think it's cool. Other that that, meh... I stopped at chapter 19 and was astonished to learn it drones on for another 12 chapters or something. That's about 20 chapters too much for me with this topic. All his issues screamed First World Problems to me. Time to move on...
Marije
After meeting the perfect neighbours, Mike Gayle has to admit that he, contrary to what the calendar indicates, is not a 'proper adult'. So he sets up arranging a to-do list to tackle all those things he should have done before. They range from 'going green' to 'organize files' to 'eat more salad' and 'watch Citizen Kane'.

In my opinion, the apparent simplicity of the list is the book's strentgh. No scuba-diving adventures or world-changing ideas, but starightforward stuff we all want to have do
...more
Katherine
This is the story of one man, his family, his friends and a monumental to do list. I had not read any of Mike Gayle's fictional works so had no expectations about his style as a non fiction writer.

For me, the beauty of this book was the simplicity of the list. There was no white water rafting or jumping out of planes. Instead the list contained those everyday things such as reading certain books, watching acclaimed films and catching up with long lost friends that most of us have on our to do li
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Ryouki
It's a good original storyline. Never thought that the the to-do list can be adapted thru' novel. The motive of the book is so simple but challenging - juz finished the to-do list and be satisfied with the achievement. This book has its own charms and its worth to occupy our own free time.
Ellen
i liked page 220 - the things he'd learnt from doing the list:

everything takes longer than you think it should
some things you think will be hard are pretty easy
some things you think will be easy are pretty hard
there's no such thing as enough time
sometimes doing stuff makes life easy
some times doing stuff makes like harder
Emilie
A funny and entertaining read that will get even the most disorganised person reaching for a pen and paper.

Follow Mike over the course of a year as he attempts to complete his 1000 odd to do list, with things ranging from cleaning the windows to spending time with his children, listening to the entirety of Pink Floyd's music to telling his dad he loves him.
Robin Van Veghel
a guy who procrastinates. i was reading this book while i should be doing something else. Then i stoped reading it and went for a walk.

so was procrastinateing by reading a book about a guy who procrastinates and then i started to procrastinate that too. i'm horrible
Nora
I really enjoyed this book, although I thought it was sometimes a bit hard since you are reminded of all the 1000 things that you plan to do but never do... :). Yes, I could totally relate.

Since I am in a time of my life where I have all these unfinished things I stopped reading the book about half way through since my guilty conscience took the better of me. After that it was sitting on my nightstand for about three months. I finally realized that it would become an unfinished tick on my person
...more
Mei
Mostly meh. I didn't really find this as entertaining as I should have; mainly, because it was partly autobiographical, it made me want to skip to the exciting bits. Where were the car chases? Explosions? Spell-casting? Dragons? Oh, wrong genre. Ah well.
Juliana Graham
I did enjoy this book, as it was very funny in a few places and I also felt that I could relate to Mike Gayle and his quest to feel like 'a proper grown up' by completing his massive to do list. On the down side, I did feel that there was a little bit of repetition (as others have commented, I do think we were told slightly too often that it was a 1,277 item to do list) but overall I liked the book and was keen to see if Mike passed the Sunday Night Pub Club audit and was officially allowed to s ...more
Nicki
Light bit of reading. Won't change anyone's life and is not anything overly memorable, but enjoyable enough.
Vicki
Really loved it. I read it after hearing him interviewed on the radio and realised I'd 'forgotten' about him since reading a couple of his early novels. It was such an easy read, but by that I don't mean it was light fluff, it made me think quite a bit. Needless to say I have done a lot of pondering about my own to-do list, but it certainly won't be as monumental as his. I was staggered at what he achieved throughout his year-long project, but as he readily admits he wasn't working 9-5, did virt ...more
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46977
I was born in the 70s — the 70s were great. I would recommend them to anyone.

I was also born in Birmingham — in my humble opinion the greatest city in the world with the nicest people too.

I used to live in London — a great city too. But a bit on the pricey side.

I also used to live in Manchester — another great city (although technically I lived in Salford which is next door but that’s sort of spli
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