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The Priority List: A Teacher's Final Quest to Discover Life's Greatest Lessons [Kindle Edition]

David Menasche
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $24.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
You Save: $12.01 (50%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Popular Author: Eric Greitens
A Navy SEAL, Rhodes Scholar, boxing champion, and humanitarian leader, and author of New York Times best-seller The Heart and the Fist.

Book Description

Based on a beloved teacher’s most popular lesson, The Priority List is a bold, inspirational story of learning, love, and legacy that challenges us to ask: What truly matters in life?

David Menasche lived for his work as a high school English teacher. His passion inspired his students, and between lessons on Shakespeare and sentence structure, he forged a unique bond with his kids, buoying them through personal struggles while sharing valuable life lessons.

When a six-year battle with brain cancer ultimately stole David’s vision, memory, mobility, and—most tragically of all—his ability to continue teaching, he was devastated by the thought that he would no longer have the chance to impact his students’ lives each day.

But teaching is something Menasche just couldn’t quit. Undaunted by the difficult road ahead of him, he decided to end his treatments and make life his classroom. Cancer had robbed him of his past and would most certainly take his future; he wouldn’t allow it to steal his present. He turned to Facebook with an audacious plan: a journey across America— by bus, by train, by red-tipped cane—in hopes of seeing firsthand how his kids were faring in life. Had he made a difference? Within forty-eight hours of posting, former students in more than fifty cities replied with offers of support and shelter.

Traveling more than eight thousand miles from Miami to New York, to America’s heartland and San Francisco’s Golden Gate, and visiting hundreds of his students, David’s fearless journey explores the things we all want and need out of life—family, security, independence, love, adventure—and forces us to stop to consider our own Priority List.

Editorial Reviews


"In an abstract way, we all know that life is short and precious. Or, at least, we THINK we know. But for David Menasche — a passionate young teacher diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 34 — that notion was anything but abstract. Filled with a wide-eyed reverence for life, he set off on an audacious journey around the country, determined to visit all his old students and speak to them (and listen to them) about the true priorities of existence. The result is a beautiful, heartfelt, and ultimately important story about love, kinship, gratitude, and miracles." (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things)

"When cancer told David Menasche his teaching days were over, he told cancer: With all due respect, you don't know me very well. Writing with courage and strength, his determination to share life's lessons beyond his classroom is both inspirational and enlightening." (Ron Clark, American educator and author of The Essential 55 and The End of Molasses Classes)

"A lot of people could write about what they would do if they were told they only had a short time to live, but few could write as thoughtfully, and with as much honesty, as David has with The Priority List. This former skate punk turned English teacher's life lessons will inspire anyone who reads them." (Jim Lindberg of punk rock band Pennywise)

“Within David’s journey, there are powerful lessons about how we connect to one another, and how even the smallest gestures can leave a lasting legacy. The Priority List is a brave and important book, which at its deepest level reminds us what it means to be human." (Jerry DeWitt, author of Hope After Faith)

"Like Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture, this memoir is a rousing testimony to the ways in which, in the face of death, living fully in the present moment becomes possible." (Publishers Weekly)

"A beautiful meditation." (Kirkus Reviews)

"A teacher's healing journey." (People)

"A memoir that explores one man’s search for love, family, purpose and gratitude... never offers facile answers — only an examined reality that is uplifting and even, at times, comical." (Miami Herald)

About the Author

David Menasche grew up a skate punk with a love for literature and a lack of direction. He’s careful never to say that he fell into teaching but that he “rose up to it.” He taught English at Miami’s magnet school, Coral Reef Senior High School, for fifteen years. In 2012, he was awarded Teacher of the Year by his region. He lives in New Orleans.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6035 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (January 14, 2014)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,826 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last of a Dying Breed January 14, 2014
By Alex J.
I sit here at three in the morning definitely better, more appreciative and comforted. The prose of such a humbling narrative captures what it means to be human, to enjoy the spiritual highs, varied experiences, and understand that the only condition forced upon it all is to live. Thank you Menasche.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lighting the way January 29, 2014
By 0xAA55
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book from an opinion article about not being afraid of dying, authored by Menasche, that may or may not have been largely a plug for his book. I figured, "who cares if it is, because as he approaches the end of his life, what does he have to gain from money?" And for that matter, it was awfully gracious of him to write a book in his limited moments, so I felt it was worth a read, and I liked the premise.

I wanted to connect with someone who was confronting death head on. I recently lost my Grandmother very abruptly to complications from cancer. It is the first (and only) death I have ever witnessed up close and personally. I was given the privilege and pain of watching the entire process from her bedside without interruption. It was heart-wrenching and terrifying, the clinical way which it occurred and the jagged emptiness it filled me with to imagine that the end of my own life could be similarly awful has haunted me ever since. I wanted to find someone who could bravely stare death in the face and have an answer, because I couldn't. To that end, I am very grateful for this book.

I'll start my review by saying, this book wasn't exactly what I expected, and from a literary stand point, it's nothing spectacular. From a human standpoint, it's everything, and it changed my life in the subtle way that I think Menasche sets out to.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Believe the Negs February 7, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was shocked to read someone call the author narcissistic and bombastic in his mannerisms. Ugh. Why? Envy? A lack of understanding? The author talks about his relationship with his students and how he takes cancer, something that took my mother, and faced it head on. He takes a fear, a real fear, and travels from South Florida to California with merely the clothes on his back and the invitations from his former students. Wow! He must have made an impression because he had a boatload of invites and never slept on a bench! He has lots to be proud of. I don't call that narcissistic in the least.

Books like this aren't my type. I tend to shun away from them but this one was read from cover to cover. I couldn't help but finish it because I felt like I was traveling with the author. I felt like his student and I'm older than he is! As a teacher myself, our job IS NOT EASY. It takes a lot to love it with the vivaciousness this man did. He cared for his students and their innumerable testimonies prove that! Just go to his Facebook page and look at the support. It is touching and eye-opening.

Teachers, students, cancer patients/survivors, human beings...EVERYONE needs to read this book. It will touch your heart and inspire you. I'm proud I not only share a state with him (well, not anymore) but a passion of teaching. I plan to follow this man's life from now on. I bet you will too.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow January 17, 2014
I attended Coral Reef and did not have Menasche as a teacher but many of my friends did. I saw the impact he had on his students first hand. The world needs more people like this man. He is a true inspiration. This was the best book I have read in a long time.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading the book is like sitting with the man himself. January 18, 2014
Having had Mr. Menasche as my 11th grade AP English teacher, holding his book in my hands is akin to sitting back in classroom 211. His class wasn't just about proper syntax or reading poems, and this book isn't just another story about one man's struggle to overcome cancer. He took us fledgling young adults and showed us the hidden beauty and messages beneath the author's words. He ignited a thirst for knowledge, a desire for understanding, a need for more than ordinary. He knew that we were capable of more than we knew ourselves, and through his curricular and non-curricular lessons (ie, The Priority List), we too learned our potential. His book details his cross-country travels, his struggles and triumphs over cancer, and the lessons he learned along the way. If you or someone you know would enjoy an exceptional - and true - story about one mans journey to self-acceptance and happiness, please do yourself a favor and buy this book. Many laughs and tears were shed as I read this book, and I will continue to laugh and cry as I reread this book for years to come. Highly, highly recommended.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Read January 15, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a great book. It really puts things in perspective. You can tell what an amazing teacher David Menasche is and how he has impacted his students in and out of the classroom. Truly inspiring!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and inspiring January 14, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a story of life and finding the beauty in it and in others. I highly recommend it. So inspirational. Wonderfully written. A must read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I was lucky enough to be in Menasche's AP English Language class in 2012. Menasche was someone who argued, especially with me, in order to provoke emotion and conversation. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Luz Martinez
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have read in a long time
Best book I have read in a long time. Life changing. Life is beautiful. Thanks David for sharing your short life with us.
Published 16 days ago by Maria E. Rodriguez-Azara
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting
It needed much more personal input from the students themselves to fully show the authors impact on them. Good story though
Published 1 month ago by Jennifer Imbus
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I read in 2014
One of the best books I read in 2014. It shows how a dedicated teacher can make a profound and lasting positive difference in a persons life
Published 1 month ago by Edward Kerr
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
As a former student, and friend, I didn't want to read this book. And I don't know why. I was scared to read it.

But I read it, and I'm glad I did. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alberto Perez
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow.
As someone trying to work out whether I stay doing what Im doing or change career, while having sat in a hospital room yesterday with a teacher friend who was receiving the exact... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike Griffiths
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
gave several as gifts!
Published 1 month ago by Susan Paton
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I had no idea this was a miniature book!
Published 2 months ago by Joseph H. Zimmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing what an exceptional teacher and outpouring of love
Unexpected -expected reality........Amazing what an exceptional teacher and outpouring of love......
Published 2 months ago by Elizabeth Rosquete
3.0 out of 5 stars A Terrible Loss
Getting a little long winded and self promoting but he sounds like a wonderful person and the teacher we all should have had
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
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