April 28, 2019

Essentialism by Gary McKeown: Do less to achieve more

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About the Author


Greg McKeown was recently named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is CEO of THIS Inc, a leadership and strategy design agency headquartered in Silicon Valley. He has taught at companies that include Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Salesforce.com, Twitter and VMware. Originally from London, he now lives in Menlo Park, CA with his wife Anna, and their four children.


Source: Essentialism book introduction

Click here to buy on The Book Depository



About the Book


The Way of the Essentialist involves doing less, but better, so you can make the highest possible contribution.


The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s not about getting less done. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s about challenging the core assumption of ‘we can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replacing it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’. It’s about regaining control of our own choices about where to spend our time and energies instead of giving others implicit permission to choose for us.


In Essentialism, Greg McKeown draws on experience and insight from working with the leaders of the most innovative companies in the world to show how to achieve the disciplined pursuit of less.

Source: https://gregmckeown.com/book/



Greg on the Tim Ferriss podcast: https://tim.blog/2019/01/09/greg-mckeown-essentialism/

Get chapter one of Essentialism from Greg’s website: https://gregmckeown.com/book/


BIG IDEA 1 (3:51) – If it’s not a ‘hell yes’, it’s a ‘no’. It’s a great way of having a litmus test for setting your time and energy. It removes those ‘why am I doing this’ moments in the midst of a task or activity. These are generally not a great way to be spending your time, particularly if they distract you from your goal.

The ‘hell yes’ or ‘no’ is easy and it therefore removes decision making fatigue. Greg has mentioned examples in the book where he said no to things in order to do what’s important to him. For example saying no to a speaking engagement because it’s date night for him and his wife. It gives you an invincible power to be at ease with your decisions and not resent the things you are doing. He also talked about the idea of trade off of problems by thinking about whether it’s something the future you going to regret and resent the past you by letting you do those things.

BIG IDEA 2 (6:22) – Go big. The reframe that Greg mentioned in this book is that you’re not doing less, you’re going BIG on one thing.  Often we’ll find ourselves in the scarcity mindset (read: FOMO) that by doing fewer things, we’re doing ‘less’, rather than doing one thing REALLY well (and big).  For some reason doing more things not as well is more appealing?!

Greg also talked about the idea of escaping to be able to focus. Create your environment where you are not going to be distracted from your single focus.  For example, Bill Gates famously takes a couple of ‘reading’ weeks each year to escape and focus.

BIG IDEA 3 (9:24) – Live without regrets. By knowing what’s important you won’t regret doing things because you’re only doing what’s important to you. This can be from a life perspective, business perspective, relationships or travel as this runs through all different facets of your life. There was a quote in the book which says you should be proud of the life that you have chosen to live’.

Many people currently feel that the life they have isn’t necessarily chosen by them but being dictated by other people. Greg said that choosing to live in an essentialist mindset allows him to be ‘unreasonably selective’ on how to use his precious time. It’s about spending your time on things (and with the people) that matter the most.

If you liked Essentialism, you’ll also like So Good to They Can’t Ignore You / Courage to be Disliked / Atomic Habits


Music By: Stay Right There – Instrumental Version ByMichael Shynes



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