The Priority List by David Menasche is an unforgettable book. It’s a short, emotional read that makes you realise how lucky we are to be alive.
I love reading, and often recommend books, but it’s rare for me to write about just one. Although, I nearly didn’t read it at all because the full title, The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons, sounded so overblown and potentially sappy.
But I’m glad I did. I LOVED this book and reckon everyone should read it because it:
1. Encourages gratitude
This memoir by a teacher in his thirties who gets a brain tumour and loses his sight, mobility and job will make you grateful to be alive and grateful for the opportunities you have in life, even if you’re not in the best of health.
I noticed that some online reviewers didn’t enjoy the book because they found the author brash and disrespectful towards his wife. He’s obviously a strong character and there were certain elements of the story that made me feel uncomfortable but that made me admire his honesty all the more.
2. Helps you reassess and reconsider the way you live
Subconsciously, we all know we’re going to die, yet we continue to live as if we’ve got an eternity to achieve our dreams and goals.
This book will make you determined to live your dream, and resist the pressure to conform to anyone else’s ideals.
3. Shows you how to create a priority list
Core values are the basis principles we live by and Menasche calls them a priority list. The list, or values, can cover anything you like, but commonly includes things like travel, family or career.
I’ve written about core values before (find my core values at the end of this post), and I’ve long believed they’re one of the keys to focusing on getting what you want out of life.
I like that Menasche never mentions core values and may never have heard of them. He invented the idea of the priority list to help teach his students about characterisation in Shakespeare, then started using it as a tool to help his students learn more about themselves.
It proved to be a startlingly effective way for him to learn what made his students tick and to build stronger relationships between the students.
Most lists of core values are long and overwhelming, but I like the simplicity of his list. It’s easily accessible so you can quickly get started then you can add anything you like if one of your core values is missing.
David Menasche, teacher and author of The Priority List at home with one of his favourite quotes.
Here’s Menasche’s priority list:
- Artistic Expression
How to Create a Priority List
Look at all the priorities or values then choose the five that best apply to you and list them in order of priority from one to five.
That’s all you really need to do but it could take a while to work it out and it would be fantasic if you could do it with someone else then compare and discuss your choices. That will help you get to know yourselves and each other better.
It’s not a one of job either. You’ll need to reassess your values yearly (maybe in the new year or on your birthday) because they will change as you mature.
How to Use Your Priority List
Use your prioroty list to guide your choices. So everytime you have a choice, which could be anything from something small, like buying a new bag, to something momenteous like a job change, you simply check your core values and make sure your decision aligns with them.
In other words, if you’re hankering to buy an expensive new watch, then you ask yourself if going ahead will help you move in the direction of your values or against them. For exampe, if one of your core values or priorities is travel, then the watch probably won’t help, but if your core values are possessions, respect or technology it might.
Do it now..
1. Please take time to read the book
I borrowed a copy from my library but you can find The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons on Amazon. It would make a fabulous present, so you can gift it to a loved one once you’re read it. Why not?!
2. Make your priority list
Then update it once a year as needed.
3. Live by it
Bear your priority list or core values in mind every day. Do everything you can to live by them.
Most of us never take time to think about what really drives us, which is why we easily get distracted and fritter our money away on shoes or nights out when saving money for travel would make us happier.
I hope this book and idea will help you get closer to living your dream and staying true to yourself.
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Check out other books I love
If you’re looking for a good book to read at home, or on your travels, I only recommend books I truly loved. See my book recommendations here. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!