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The To-Do List
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The To-Do List

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  605 ratings  ·  73 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,030)
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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.
My full video review can be seen here:

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...more
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...more

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.
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....

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
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 Th...more
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...more
Maartje (Tizzalicious) Witteveen
If you love lists, you'll love this.
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

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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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
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...
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
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...more
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
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
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
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
Greg Allan Holcomb
I keep reading Mike Gayle's books when I'm the age of his characters. I was 30 when I first saw Turning Thirty (a british edition, and I helped the guy whose copy I started to read move and tried to claim the book as payment, but he gave it away) and now I read the To-Do list at 37.

He left things like spit off the Golden Gate bridge off his list.

There were a lot of british spellings in this book.

MORE OF HIS STUFF NEEDS TO BE PRINTED IN THE USA. I've got his first 5 books and now his latest. I...more
This books gives hope to those who create To-Do lists. I mean if Gayle created a list that has over 1000 things on it and can complete 99% of it no one has excuses. Watching him go through the process of trying to accomplish everything on his list was hilarious. Plus having a "jury" to go through everything on his list to make sure he stays on track was a good idea. I am not sure if this is a true story or not but I like how he is lazy sometimes, loses the list or just plain doesn't want to do t...more
i thought it would be another non-fiction book btu i was oh-so-wrong ... the book retains the essence of what mike gayle is aboout, - humour, witty and refreshing storyline. Wonders how he managed to stay sane with 1,227 things to tick off and also having to conquer a brick-sized war and peace (something on my list but I prolly will never get around to reading it seeing how an english lit major and a best selling author did not managed to comprehend it). Two thumbs up ... loving all his work and...more
Sara Alhooti

.يتحدث الكتاب عن رجل يكتب قائمة تحوي 1.277 شيئا
يجب أن ينهيها قبل ميلاده الـ37

ومثلما كُتب في ظهر الكتاب :


بـ اختصار
مايك رجل تعود على تأجيل الأشياء حتى تتراكم
يقرر فجأة وهو في الـ36 أن ينضج ويصبح راشدا كبقية معارفه
لذلك يضع تلك القائمة ويقرر انهاءها قبل ميلاده الثاني

تتعدد الأحداث وتتداخل بعض الشيء
وفي حياته المليئة يبحث عن وقت لـ ينجز فيه كل شيء

كتاب ممتع
الأسلوب واللغة بسيطين .. سهل الفهم

يستحق القراءة
وأنصح به

I really enjoy Mike's books and this was no exception. As with the others I have read it was so down to earth I could easily visualise it. I could certainly identify with having put lots of things off, especially the 'junk in the loft'.

I thought this book was written with the usual humour Mike has displayed in all of his other books that I have read and I was quite sad when I got to the end as I wanted it to go on longer.
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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...more
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