Ok, I'm lazy. To actually have to type actual html code in a file is sure, the best way for just about anything, but also harder than letting other pieces of software do it for me. Especially to organize or re-organize a bunch a files together into a book.
I found Konrad's Sitemap Creator to be a handy work-around to making a table of contents by using directory structure modeling to make the map for me.
Works for multi-chapter books, and multi-book books, and multi-chapter-multi-book books.
Tad ugly, and I do seem to have to run the resultant file through Word to get the hyperlinks to be recognized by things like Mobipocket Creator and Isilox, not to mention taking out necessary files I don't intend to have in the table (like graphics), but hey, it's just me that has to suffer through the ugly. It may not be more efficient, but it fits into the way I want to do things nicely.
With Mobi, you'll want to rename the created contents.html to the name of the project to get the toc function to work. In isilox, it doesn't matter. ('nother reason I like Isilo over Mobi - with Sitemap Creator, making multi-chapter-multi-book books is much faster and easier than Mobi)