The Priority List: A Teacher's Final Quest to Discover Life's Greatest Lessons

David Menasche, Author
David Menasche. S&S/Touchstone, $24 (224p) ISBN 978-1476-74344-8
Reviewed on: 12/02/2013
Release date: 01/14/2014
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-4767-4345-5
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4767-4346-2
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-62899-213-7
Hardcover - 312 pages - 978-1-74331-784-6
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In fall 2006, high school teacher Menasche, then age 34, was diagnosed with an aggressive and deadly type of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme. Despite these challenges, in November 2012 he embarked on a journey—or Vision Quest, as he calls it—to recover his past by reconnecting with former students. Menasche, the son of booksellers, places literature at the center of his thinking and enlists it as a primary means of coping. A successful technique he used with students, the "priority list," was useful in ranking the importance of different values and provided an effective tool for identify one's own motivations. His chutzpah and quirky sense of humor more than explain Menasche's popularity at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami; after announcing his road trip on Facebook, former students in 50 cities agreed to meet with him and offered hospitality. By reconsidering his priorities, letting others care for him, and giving in to the "beautiful turmoil" of his illness, Menasche has been able to accept the break-up of his marriage and retirement from his job while reaping surprising rewards from his quest. 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. (Jan.)
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