Another of my goals around personal development is to read one book a week. I’m cheating here, because this book is one that I’m reading again.

Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less” by Greg McKeown (2014) ISBN: 0753555166

I’ve read a number of books that talk about doing less such as Leo Babauta’s “The Power of Less” (2009), and Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book “The one thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results”, however, this book is my favourite by far. It has one simple motto: do less, but better. It states that “only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that matter”. As someone who is being pulled in so many different directions, and trying to do so much, this simple premise is amazing.

[Tweet “Key quote: If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will.”]

The book is broken down into four sections:

  1. This section explorers the theory of essentialism.
  2. Step 1 – explore. Work out what is important.
  3. Step 2 – eliminate. Get rid of the things that aren’t important. Key to this is learning to say no.
  4. Step 3 – execute. Remove the obstacles to make “execution effortless”

Throughout the book the author creates small tables to show the differences in the non-essentialist and essentialist mindset. I’ve personally found them to be very useful take-aways. For example:

Non-essentialist Essentialist
Thinks “I can do both” Asks: “What is the trade-off I want to make?”
Asks: “How can I do it all?” Asks: “What can I go big on?”

This book is full of easily-actionable strategies, that anyone can use, with enough stories and anecdotes to show how they can be applied in real life. I’ve recommended this book to several of my friends.

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