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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Paperback – 17 Apr 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (17 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753555166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753555163
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Greg McKeown’s excellent new book is a much-needed antidote to the stress, burnout and compulsion to “do everything,” that infects us all. It is an essential read for anyone who wants to regain control of their health, wellbeing, and happiness" (Arianna Huffington)

"Do you feel it, too? That relentless pressure to sample all the good things in life? To do all the 'right' things? The reality is, you don’t make progress that way. Instead, you’re in danger of spreading your efforts so thin that you make no impact at all. Greg McKeown believes the answer lies in paring life down to its essentials. He can’t tell you what’s essential to every life, but he can help you find the meaning in yours." (Daniel H. Pink, author of TO SELL IS HUMAN and DRIVE)

"Entrepreneurs succeed when they say "yes" to the right project, at the right time, in the right way. To accomplish this, they have to be good at saying "no" to all their other ideas. Essentialism offers concise and eloquent advice on how to determine what you care about most, and how to apply your energies in ways that ultimately bring you the greatest rewards" (Reid Hoffman, co-founder/chairman of LinkedIn and co-author of the #1 NYT bestseller THE START-UP OF YOU)

"Essentialism holds the keys to solving one of the great puzzles of life: how can we do less but accomplish more? A timely, essential read for anyone who feels overcommitted, overloaded, or overworked―in other words, everyone. It has already changed the way that I think about my own priorities, and if more leaders embraced this philosophy, our jobs and our lives would be less stressful and more productive. So drop what you’re doing and read it." (Adam Grant, Wharton professor and bestselling author of GIVE AND TAKE)

"As a self-proclaimed "maximalist" who always wants to do it all, this book challenged me and improved my life. If you want to work better, not just less, you should read it too." (Chris Guillebeau, NYT bestselling author of THE $100 STARTUP)

Book Description

Life is fast and full of opportunity. This is your guide to eliminating the nonessential in order to do something truly great

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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This book is about reframing how we see busy-ness and is a manifesto for a simpler approach to modern life. Plenty of interesting anecdotes and practical tips. I found some of it repetitious but that's no bad thing in reinforcing the central tenets of the book. There are no easy answers and the book's title gives the clue as to how to put the author's ideas into practice. Like a good coach, Greg raises the reader's awareness and it's down to you to take action through a relentlessly disciplined approach.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book dosen’t follow what it preaches. What it preaches is “essentialism”. McKeown, the author, defines it as follows:

“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.”

The book uses far to many pages to convey what is a simple idea and process. Essentialism can defined as: Don’t Get Things Done, Get the Right Things Done. In other words, do less but better.

Noise in daily life prevents clarity. Noise may be too many choices, social pressures, lack of priority or other factors. Time is the most valuable resource so we need to use it wisely. To do this follow a three-step approach:

1. Explore /Evaluate: Ask, “Will this activity or effort make the highest possible contribution towards my goal?” Essentialists consider more options than normal. “Because they will commit and ‘go big’ on one or two ideas or activities,” McKeown explains, “they deliberately explore more options at first to ensure that they pick the right one later.”

To evaluate you can use the 90-10 model: Think about the single most important criterion for that decision. Then give the option a score between 0 and 100. If you rate it any lower than 90 percent, then change the rating to 0.

2. Eliminate: Once you know which activities and efforts make the highest possible contribution, remove those that do not.
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Format: 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?
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