Essentialism2 min read

Published by Zach on

Rating: 6/10

How do you eliminate non-essential and focus on the essential? Greg McKeown argues essentialism will improve your life. I agree. My issue with the book, however, is that these topics seem to have been discussed in detail in many other places with no new insight (I ran into this same issue with ReWork).

I will quickly forget about this book but it was a nice reminder of some of the topics such as:

  • Deciding on ONE important thing
  • Eliminating most things (saying “no”)
  • Executing on ONE important thing


  • Ask yourself frequently, “Is this the very most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?”
  • Instead of trying to make everything work, focus on something better; focus on what problem you want to be solving right now and ignore the rest.
  • Going 24 hours without sleep, or having a week of sleeping for just four or five hours, “induces an impairment of equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .1” (The blood alcohol level when you are considered too impaired to drive and would receive a DUI, is .08).
  • If you could be truly great at only one thing, what would that thing be? Do that.


  • If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
  • What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead, we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?
  • The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away – it can only be forgotten.
  • The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves
  • “What am I deeply passionate about?” and “What taps my talent?” and “What meets a significant need in the world?” Naturally, there won’t be as many pages to view, but that is the point of the exercise. We aren’t looking for a plethora of good things to do. We are looking for the one where we can make our absolutely highest point of contribution.
  • “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” – Josh Billings
  • When faced with so many tasks and obligations that you can’t figure out which to tackle first, stop. Take a deep breath. Get present in the moment and ask yourself what is the most important this very second – not what’s most important tomorrow or even an hour from now. If you’re not sure make a list of everything vying for your attention and cross of anything that is not important right now.

Categories: Book Notes


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