the 52 list book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Most busy, organized people use lists–usually lots of lists. There is a weekend “to do” list, a work “to do” list and any number of other ones involving children, holidays, projects and more. The whirlwind of activity most of us live in feels more like a tornado than a satisfying productive life. There is the sense of urgency to do the necessary things that keep life moving…work, chores, kids, shopping and more. What if we lived differently? What if it didn’t have to feel that way?

In her book, The 52 List, author Lizzie Jones shares her own realization about the nature of busyness and what she chose to do about it. Her thoughts are simple but have the potential to completely transform your busy life into something that feels much more complete. She suggests that most of us make “to do” lists for all the things we don’t want to do. Somehow, those things are more important than the things that we enjoy doing. We end up doing the necessary stuff but not what makes us happy. In order to turn that paradigm around, we need to make lists of things we want to do. She calls that The 52 List….one thing you want to do for every week of the year. By taking on the challenge of planning positive “to do” lists, it creates memories, makes fun easier to achieve and leads to a more satisfying life.

In order to accomplish this happy transformation, she just has a few basic rules to keep the goals attainable and achievable. One of her rules is that each item on the list be able to be finished in one day. Another rule is that your goal just rely on you to complete it. Other rules work with these to make the “to do” list something practical, fun and memorable. The back of the book has several lists of suggestions that may help spark some additional ideas for things to put on a 52 List. Her ideas are almost all inexpensive or free which makes them even better!

The only chapter that didn’t quite fit in the whole book was the one on depression. Most of the book details the logistics of this new way of happy list making. But she does include one rather involved chapter on depression. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the book, even though it is clearly significant to the author. For her, the 52 List helps affirm all that is good in her life and in some way, helps her cope with depression.

Overall, this short book was commendable. Her simple idea has challenged me to think about my days a little differently and to try and implement her suggestion. This would make a great coffee table book or a gift for anyone that enjoys lists. It would also bless anyone who could use some fresh inspiration in their busy lives.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Lizzie Jones. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.