To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us
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To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  256 ratings  ·  53 reviews

What Do Your Lists Say About You?

More and more, we are a nation of list-makers, from grocery lists, New Year's resolutions, and things to do before we die to DVDs to rent and people we've kissed. In To-Do List (based on the popular blog of the same name, todolistblog.com) Sasha Cagen celebrates the humble to-do list, exploring the ways these scribbled agendas reflect o...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published June 30th 2008 by Touchstone (first published November 6th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,014)
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kb
Love this! Mainly because I enjoy nosing into other people's lives? Haha, not.. so much! Seriously, it's fun to find out about another's goals in life or even in just a day. It shows how diverse people's interest and dreams are; at the same time, how similar. It made me want to convert my "write in paragraphs" journal into a "just bullets" one because it's less time-consuming that way, and I am foreseeing it would be much more interesting to figure out the stories behind each item checked or cro...more
jess
i love making lists because:
-a list allows me to order my life and environ
-a list is both a great procrastination tool AND productivity tool
-it is difficult for me to order my thoughts otherwise
-i have hopes that someone will find my lists long after i am gone and admire how many things i accomplished and how well i recorded them all
-there's space to doodle in the margins
-lists can fit into columns, which i appreciate
-great opportunity to refine my handwriting

my love for making lists provided f...more
Celia
reading a book of other people's lists feels like a big old waste of time. and it is. but i love me a list, so what to do? this prompted me to go back and look at some of my old daybooks and journals and lists i've made. one that shows a glimpse of my obsessive nature is a list i made of things we needed to buy for thanksgiving. the list was originally handwritten, but i typed it up organizing items by grocery store aisle. my most recent list is the what-i'm-want-in-a-haircut list that i took to...more
Kelsey
Snapshots of and commentary on the stream-of-consciousness and busy lives of strangers? Right up my alley. As a true people-lover, I enjoyed that it provided a glimpse of another dimension/angle of these people's lives and it made me feel connected by a strand that I don't often consider- not simply the fact that I make lists, but the manner, content, and reasons I'm prompted to do so.

Tip for those who may read it: Depending on what you're looking to get out of the book, you may or may not appr...more
Jake
I hate this book. Hate.

Sasha Cagen is quite possibly the most narcissistic writer I've read in my entire adult life. She took a fascinating concept (publish others' to-do lists, those private glimpses into the private lives we all try so hard to hide) and totally fucking ruined it with her self-aggrandizing tripe. She won't shut the hell up and let the lists speak for themselves: she has to have her say on every topic and, worse still, she has to voice her opinion on every list with stupid epith...more
Kimberly Bower (gladeslibrarian)
Add Cagen’s ‘To-Do List’ to the top of your ‘to-read’ list, 5/5 stars

List-making seems to be one of those love-hate things. Those who make lists rave about how the practice makes them more sane, productive, and better at making decisions. Those who don’t make lists seem to talk more about how the practice encourages procrastination, limits options and brings more confusion than clarity in determining a course of action. I can see both sides. When I’m overwhelmed with the balance between time and...more
Ciara
Nov 19, 2008 Ciara rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to-do list obsessives, people who like lists
Shelves: read-in-2008
this is another one where i wanted the book to be better than it was. full disclosure: i am OBSESSED with to-do lists. like, to the point that it's kind of pathological. i myself keep a book dedicated to my to-do lists. i have done this for years, i take my to-do lists everywhere with me, if separated from my to-do lists, i have been known to cry hysterically. as a result of my unhealthy relationship with my to-do lists, i have actually been diagnosed as obsessive-compulsive. but i won't give up...more
Joanna
This book was a pleasure to read and difficult to walk away from.

Reading other people's lists: of things to be happy about, pro/con on whether to break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or New Years resolutions and daily living, feels as if you are snooping through the medicine cabinets of strangers. In short, it is awesome. It's like a free pass to glimpse, just a little, into a bunch of other ways of living a life, and what of that gets put down on paper.

I loved the variety of lists that were in...more
Chrystal
I picked up this book from the bargain section at my local Chapters. It called to me. It's full of peoples To-Do Lists similar to the postcards of secrets like a Postsecret book. I am an avid list maker of all kinds: life list, to-do list, grocery list, etc.

This was a very fun and intriguing read. It is well laid out by type of lists with a little forward at the beginning of each section that is both amusing and analytical. Each list has been submitted by an individual who has shared their stor...more
Deb
*Add This One to the To-Read List*

A List of 10 Reasons To Read This Book:
1. A voyeuristic slice into the scribbled lives of "the listmakers of America (and the world)" and the items on their minds
2. An entertaining collection of hand-written (on whatever paper was handy at the time) to-do lists from 100 real-live listmakers
3. Revealing, insightful, or just plain interesting commentary on each list (by the original listmaker)
4. The challenge of deciphering the listmaker's (unedited!) scribbles, w...more
Jessica
This book's author, Sasha Cagen, collected hundreds of to-do lists, categorized them, and then selected ones to publish. Each chapter has a different theme--from daily lists to New Year's Resolutions to relationships requirements--and each list has accompanying commentary. This book gives a glimpse into the lives of dozens of people, simply by showing a scrap of paper they jotted notes on.

I love lists. The instant I saw this title I dropped the book I had been reading (Treasure Island, which I w...more
Audrey
As an intermittent list maker myself, this book caught my eye. The author posted a call for people to submit their lists, then if selected for publication she got a few words from the lister as to the age, location, reasons behind, etc. of the list's making. Each chapter is a different category--OCD, sex, what-do-I-want-do-with-my-life, and so on. A DIY tip is included with each list. I was inspired to actually start one list, and I will probably add to it from time to time--it is Reasons For Li...more
Kate
Reading this book was both an encouraging and morbid experience. It's encouraging to be able to relate to so many of the hangups, foibles, joys and longings of other list-making folks. But there is something else about these lists that grips me colder, and that's the brevity of life itself! With so much to experience and cross-off, how can we possibly have time for everything? Lucky for my anxiety-charged nerves,editor Sasha Cagen concluded with a chapter of simple things that listers are gratef...more
Erica
A quick, easy, entertaining, and interesting read. This book is for those to-do list addicts. It explores not only the obsession of to-do list makers, but the various types and genres of lists (i.e., New Year's Resolutions, groceries, ideal mates, dream jobs, etc). A collection of personal to-do lists were shared from all around the world. Some of my personal favorites were: "Thirty by Thirty," "A Young Mormon's Ideal Woman," "Garret Love," "An Accountant's Grocery List," "Mickey Mouse Spreadshe...more
Alisha
read this quickly last night. very funny! laughed right out loud at some parts of lists. It was nice seeing lots of HANDWRITING. gosh, I barely ever see anyone's but my own anymore. i am a list-maker. i make them on the backs of envelopes of stuff that was in the mail. Lots of other people do as well, apparently. It was a fluff read, and I enjoyed it, just for a good laugh. Kinda a coffee-table book. There are suggestions on each on lists to write of your own, and i've been toying with the idea...more
Shonna Froebel
This book caught my attention when it arrived at the library. It is a collection of to-do lists including everyday shopping to romance and life goals. Cagen has drawn these lists from contributors all over the world, organized them into topical groups and annotated them with some contextual information.
I think it is interesting because it allows us to look into the lives of others, seeing things we would not normally see. Some entries are mundane, but some are very touching.
It is an interesting...more
Sumi
The lists aren't all to-do lists in spite of the title. Very amusing was a young man's list of qualities for his wife, such as using the turn signal when appropriate. Even more amusing was a 1989 list where someone was trying to track where fifty dollars went. The $11.01 spent on gasoline was the line item that caught my eye since these days a tank of gas would be the entire $50.

With each list was also a suggestion for a list that the reader could make, which is not a bad way to spend boring me...more
Lain
I enjoyed this voyeuristic peek into others' lives by way of their to-do lists. An inveterate list maker myself, I saw myself in more than one of these entries. Whether it's Alice Waters' shopping list or an unknown teenager's list of what she wants in a future mate, I giggled, raised eyebrows, rolled eyes, and nodded knowingly at the selections. I particularly enjoyed the author's commentary on each entry, as well as the story behind the list. I look forward to checking out the accompanying blo...more
Kendra
As a life-long listmaker, I really enjoyed this peek at the lists that other people make. The title is a bit misleading -- the book contains not only "To Do" lists, but also gratitude lists, hate lists, lists about ideal mates, New Year's resolutions, etc. Sasha Cagen's quippy little one-liners at the bottom of each list were kind of annoying, but other than that, I had fun reading this -- and was inspired to make a few new lists, too.
Walter
Not as riveting as Cagen's Quirkyalone, but still an interesting peek into a topic that is not as trivial as one might think at first glance. Our to-do lists can indeed tell us a lot about ourselves; our reaction to others' to-do lists can too....
Kathy McC
Read this book to assist one of my forensics competitors with a topic for his speech. This book was big on lists from various people, but not so big on the analysis "what our lists reveal about us". While the lists were often humourous to read, I was looking for a more informative book about the topic of lists.
Stephanie
As a book on it's own merits, I wouldn't call it the most fascinating read but as a source of inspiration for making lists, it's worth checking out. If anything, it inspired me to start making more lists and I've found that I'm a helluva lot more organized in the past few months after reading it.
Jess
Things I liked about this book:

-- the validating feeling that there are other people out there as awesomely neurotic as I am

-- people's awesome handwriting

-- the way people keep their lists from way way back

-- the way it made me feel like I should maybe write even MORE lists
Donna Zakem
Ok, so I breezed through th one as if I were reading a children's book. It was ok, I am not sure exactly what I expected of it, so not real sure if it met my expectations! It was intereting to learn what others made lists about and also what was written in said lists.
Red
Jan 01, 2008 Red is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: doers and slackers alike
sasha cagen will host a list slam at red hill on january 10th at 7pm

should be an entirely engaging evening for the legibly organized to the unfettered yet itemized. for those who make lists and for those who just want to read the internal planning of others....
Lori
Feb 17, 2008 Lori rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Voyeurs, journal-writers, list-makers
This is a book I found on Blogger and requested it to be ordered at my library. Sasha Cagen compiles lists from people all over the world and from all walks of life: from the grocery list to the love list. She also has a blog: todolistblog.com.

Jodie
Dec 03, 2007 Jodie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has ever written a To-Do List
Shelves: inspirational
Finally finished this book. It's inspiring me to write more of my own lists. It's interesting to read some of the things that people write down to help get them through their days. Check out her website: www.todolistblog.com
Mardi
I'm a compulsive list-maker. I hate doing something and then realizing it wasn't on my to-do list. This book is a collection of "found" or solicited to-do lists and ideas for lists you might want to make yourself.
Erin
A voyeuristic thrill, but the title is a bit misleading, in that there is very little about the psychology of list-making and what the items we include say about us. As a compulsive list-maker I was hoping for more.
Holly
I saw this book at the scrapbook store and since I am the QUEEN of making lists I thought it would be a fun(ny) read. I'm going to start it after I finsish my current book so I'll tell you how it goes!
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