Publication date: October 2014
121% funded
1099 backers
Cover of Lists of Note

The sequel to the bestselling Letters of Note

The last two years of my life have been entirely filled with researching and getting permissions for my first book, Letters of Note. Those of you who supported that book (and there were many of you – thank you!) will have lived through that journey with me. Despite all the delays, I hope you feel that the finished book is worth it.

The good news is that now I’m ready to tackle my second – Lists of Note.

What is it?
Human beings have been making lists for even longer than they’ve been writing letters. If you think about it, there’s no human activity that can’t be expressed as a list: things to do, buy or store; things to hope for and aspire towards; things we like about ourselves or others; things we want to improve; things that make us laugh or cry; our favourite songs, books, paintings; things we remember from our childhood; things we want to do before we die. That’s what this book is full of – like Letters of Note, it is an anthology of all the different things that make us human.

In it you’ll find:

  • The 19 year-old Isaac Newton’s list of the 57 sins he had already committed
  • Charles Darwin’s list of the pros and cons of getting married
  • Michelangelo's illustrated shopping list from 1518
  • Robert Heinlein’s 1949 list of predictions about the future
  • Advertising guru David Ogilvy’s list of rules for effective writing
  • The 16th century list of the ‘Eight Kindes of Drunkenesse’
  • Galileo's list of parts needed to build his telescope from 1609
  • Walt Disney’s list of 47 possible names for the seven dwarfs
  • Anne Frank's handwritten list of pseudonyms used to protect her family

How will it look?
It will be the same size as Letters of Note, produced to the same high standard, with 125 lists and short introductions and, where necessary, transcripts. We’re planning on a beautiful 350-page book, full of facsimiles and illustrations – a thing of beauty to put next to Letters of Note.

But when, Shaun, honestly?
For next Christmas. Honestly. We have a team in place for permissions. And brilliant designers and editors. We know what we’re doing this time.

I’m Shaun Usher, and I’m best known for my website Letters of Note, now a lovely book funded by Unbound and jointly published by Unbound and Canongate. When I’m not hunting down letters, I’m making lists like this one:

1. Publish first book
2. Research second book
3. Set realistic deadline for permissions
4. Publish second book

When I’m not making lists, I live in Wilmslow with my wife Karina, and our two sons.

1. Johnny Cash’s To-Do List

It seems apt to kick Lists of Note off with the very list that inspired the creation of this site: A lovely, handwritten list from Johnny Cash.

(Image: Julien's Auctions.)


  1. Not smoke
  2. Kiss June
  3. Not kiss anyone else
  4. Cough
  5. Pee
  6. Eat
  7. Not eat too much
  8. Worry
  9. Go see Mama
  10. Practice Piano

NOTES: Not write notes


Partial contents list for Lists of Note

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Here are some of the lists which we're currently planning to have in the book. If you like these you'll love the rest.


Kiss June - Johnny Cash

Termes of a keruer - Wynkyn de Worde

Attempt at an Inventory - Georges Perec

Who Killed JFK? - Evelyn Lincoln

Rules for Box-Office Appeal - Preston Sturges

Anti-Flirt Club - Alice Reighly

Boyle’s Wish list - Robert Boyle


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