Most people’s to-do lists are, almost by definition, pretty dull, filled with those quotidian little tasks that tend to slip out of our minds. Pick up the laundry. Get that thing for the kid. Buy milk, canned yams and kumquats at the local market.
Leonardo Da Vinci was, however, no ordinary person. And his to-do lists were anything but dull.
Da Vinci would carry around a notebook, where he would write and draw anything that moved him. “It is useful,” Leonardo once wrote, to “constantly observe, note, and consider.” Buried in one of these books, dating back to around the 1490s, is a to-do list. And what a to-do list. NPR’s Robert Krulwich had it directly translated. And while all of the list might not be immediately clear, remember that Da Vinci never intended for it to be read by web surfers 500 years in the future.