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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why and how to diminish non-essentials to achieve organizational excellence by focusing only on what is absolutely essential
As I began to read this book for the first time, I was again reminded of an Einstein observation - "Make everything as simple as possible but no simpler" -- as well as of Greg McKeown's previous book, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, in which he and co-author Liz Wiseman juxtapose two quite different personas whom they characterize as the...
Published 4 months ago by Robert Morris

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars tolerable
It was a bit long and waffly considering the subject matter.

I bought this book to validate my natural inclination to prioritize and if you feel that way already you won't be disappointed.
Published 3 months ago by cluelessgoon


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why and how to diminish non-essentials to achieve organizational excellence by focusing only on what is absolutely essential, 30 April 2014
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
As I began to read this book for the first time, I was again reminded of an Einstein observation - "Make everything as simple as possible but no simpler" -- as well as of Greg McKeown's previous book, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, in which he and co-author Liz Wiseman juxtapose two quite different personas whom they characterize as the "Multiplier" and the "Diminisher." Although they refer to them as leaders, assigning to them supervisory responsibilities, they could also be direct reports at the management level or workers at the "shop floor" level.

Multipliers "extract full capability," their own as well as others', and demonstrate five disciplines: Talent Magnet, Liberator, Challenger, Debate Maker, and Investor. Diminishers underutilize talent and resources, their own as well as others, and also demonstrate five disciplines: Empire Builder, Tyrant, Know-It-All, Decision Maker, and Micro Manager. They devote a separate chapter to each of the five Multiplier leadership roles.

In Essentialism, McKeown focuses on what must be done to increase what is essential to an organization's success - as well as to an individual's success - by reducing (if not totally eliminating) whatever is not essential to such success. I agree with him: Almost anyone in almost any organization (whatever its size and nature may be) can choose how to expend time and energy; reduce/eliminate "noise" and clutter, preserving only what is exceptionally valuable; and decide which few trade-offs and compromises to accept while rejecting all others. Essentialists have what Ernest Hemingway once characterized as a "built-in, shock-proof crap detector," one that is especially reliable when detecting their own.

"There are three deeply entrenched assumptions we must conquer to lived the way of the Essentialist: `I have to,' `It's all important,' and `I can do both.' Like mythological sirens, these assumptions are as dangerous as they are seductive. They draw us in and drown us in shallow waters."

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of McKeown's coverage.

o The Cluttered Closet Test (Pages 17-19)
o The Essentialist Mind-Set: A Three-Step Process (20-25)
o Discern the Vital Few from the Trivial Many (60-61)
o How to Create Spaces to Design, Concentrate, and Read (65-71)
o Clarify the Question (80-81)
o A Mind Invited to Play (86-89)
o Protecting the Asset: Ourselves (94-96)
o The 90 Percent or NOTHING Rule (104-107)
o How to Cut Out the Trivial Many (116-117)
o From "Pretty Clear" to "Really Clear": Two Common Patterns (121-124)
o The Power of a Graceful "No" (131-0135)
o The "No" Repertoire (140-143)
o How to Avoid Commitment Traps (148-154)
o EDIT: The Invisible Art (155-162)
o LIMIT: The Freedom of Setting Boundaries (163-167)
o How to Produce More by Eliminating More (188-192)
o FLOW: The Genius of Routine (203-205)
o The Essential Life: Living a Life that Really Matters (236-237)

McKeon also provides an appendix, Leadership Essentials, during which he suggests and discusses five:

1. Be Ridiculously Selective in Hiring People
2. Go for Extreme Empowerment
3. Communicate the Right Things [values, standards, objectives] to the Right People at the Right Time
4. Check in Often to Ensure Meaningful Progress

Greg McKeon makes frequent use of terms such as "less," "more," and "better." For example, the essentialist mind-set affirms "Less but better." We know what he means: Less (if any) of what is non-essential but better results. In this context, as he explains, essentialists are trimmers and pruners, eliminating organizational fat while strengthening its bones. That is especially important these days when, on average, less than 30% of those who comprise a U.S. workforce are actively and positively engaged; the other 70+% are either passively engaged ("mailing it in") or actively undermining efforts to achieve the given business goals.

Obviously, no brief commentary can do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel provided in this volume but I hope that I have at least indicated why I think so highly of it. I encourage those who share my opinion to check out David Shaked's Strength-Based Lean Six Sigma: Building Positive and Engaging Business Improvement, published by Kogan-Page (2013).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A helpful compendium of advice, 22 July 2014
By 
Rev. David D. Faulkner "tarachos" (Chelmsford, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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I borrowed this from the library, having seen Michael Hyatt rave about it on his blog. I was not disappointed. It is a highly useful compendium of advice to help busy people focus. I have many demands on my time; this is an important skill for me, and one I am not always good at executing, because it involves swimming against a tide that assumes someone like me should be busy and have a finger in many pies.

If there were one area where I think the book could be improved, it is that in a few of the chapters there are insufficient real-life illustrations of the principles being expounded. That said, most chapters are fine in this respect.

I am aware that I could collect a number of McKeown's articles from the web as other reviewers have said, but for me it is handy to have all this together in one place. So my library copy is going back today, and I am ordering a paperback for my bookshelf.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 22 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Kindle Edition)
Greg very beautifully portrays the virtue of essentialism in our personal lives and businesses. The many examples he gave in the book are very relevant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cut the garbage out of your life!!!, 25 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Kindle Edition)
An absolute gem!!! Potentially life changing! Teaches you practical techniques to 'cut the garbage' & focus on what's important! Buy it
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, 22 Jun 2014
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Very well written and full of practical, eye-opening points made by the author. Strongly recommend for everyone to read, refine and restructure their life to the principles of essentialism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Putting YOUR First Thing First, 9 Jun 2014
By 
clahain (Las Vegas, Nevada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Kindle Edition)
Corporate cog, small business owner, artist, or harried stay-at-home parent--we all have big goals we'd like to pursue if we could just find enough time in the day. The number one piece of advice offered by teachers, mentors, life coaches and time management gurus? Prioritize. Sounds great. But how does one do that when faced with a never-ending list of must-dos?

According to author Greg McKeown, the first thing to dump is the list.

A "priority," he says, is ONE thing. The First thing. Discovering what your First thing is--and how to structure life so that you're able to focus on it--is what ESSENTIALISM: THE DISCIPLINED PURSUIT OF LESS is about.

The concept is simple enough: Do less but do it better. Yet, as we know, simple doesn't mean easy. There's nothing easy about admitting to your boss that you cannot possibly do justice to project he's set on your desk when there are three other ones demanding your attention. It isn't easy to give up your bowling league, your online gaming group, and your book club to finally finish that novel you've been writing since college. And it's downright excruciating to say to your kids: will it be karate, soccer OR drama? Because mom and dad need their time, too.

What McKeown proposes is a radical re-think of how we design our days and focus our attention. ESSENTIALISM is directed to the corporate world, but the ideas and suggestions are easily adaptable for those in public service, the self-employed, students or those looking to make the most of a hobby they're passionate about. It really is up to each of us how far we want to take this philosophy--from solving a particular problem (How do I plan a wedding for 500 AND sleep AND not lose my job?) to a total life makeover that strips our days down to the barest and most meaningful essentials. The book provides a framework for individual readers to explore, adapt and build upon.

I do wish Essentialism was a bit longer and included more case studies of people in varying life/work situations. I guess that would undermine the premise--that our lives are OUR lives and only we know what our priority (in the singular!) should be. Nevertheless, it would have been helpful for McKeown to delve a bit more into the problem of competing demands--as a father of small children, he must have plenty of experience with the challenge of balancing family and work. Also, some might say that his view of how bosses will take take an employee's decision to skip time-wasting meetings or reject new projects is overly optimistic, especially in our still-recovering job market.

I borrowed my copy of ESSENTIALISM from the library, but I'm going to buy my own. It looks to be one of those books that become more and more useful as you put its ideas to work. It'll be something to turn to when, invariably, I find myself allowing the trivial to hijack my "one wild and precious life."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and very effective, 5 July 2014
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This review is from: Essentialism (Paperback)
I read the book over the course of a week about a month ago and I am now in the process of reading it again !
Exactly what you want from a management book, straight to the point and no waffle. The only reason for 4, not 5 stars, is that like other time management books is that there is an element of idealism when you apply certain principles to real life situations, but even if you still apply the basic principles suggested you will experience great benefits - I am, and I have only just started applying them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best business and life books I've read, 29 July 2014
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This review is from: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Kindle Edition)
Unlike most books on this theme, Essentialism doesn't seem to preach or give magic beans to solve your issues. Throughout it tells you that this isn't going to be an overnight cure for the stress and strains of life. It simply points out what should have been obvious but just wasn't. I loved this book and I'll be referring back often.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Kindle Edition)
Great book, well worth a read - it's gives plenty of advice on how to re-assess your life to help you focus on the really important things.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read for anyone working more than 37 hours a week!, 4 Aug 2014
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A great book that guides the reader on how to be productive rather than just busy. How to concentrate on the important tasks and to say No to taking on more work in a positive way. A great book to help with personal time and task management, and how to achieve more by doing less.
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