Last updated on April 2, 2017
I’ve been reading more this year and so far my favorite has been Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. It’s so good I bought it for the team at AppSumo so they could all read it.
I often talk about having one goal and prioritizing based that goal as a key to marketing. Essentialism is an in depth look at what happens when we put more energy into ONE thing instead of EVERYthing in life and work
@GregoryMcKeown Your book is my favorite one this year. Love to promote it to 100k+ people via Okdork if you’re interested…
— noah kagan (@noahkagan) November 3, 2014
I HIGHLY encourage you to buy the book, regain your focus, and start accomplishing more.
Below are quotes I pulled from the book as I read:
His stress went up as the quality of his work went down. It was like he was majoring in minor activities.
Is THIS the very most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?
Essentialism: 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 really matter.
Think: Less but better.
If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
Priority. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.
Think about what happens to your closet when you never organize it. Wear this someday in the future? Ask more disciplined, tough questions: “Do I love this?” and “Do I look great in it?” and “Do I wear this often?”
Will this activity or effort make the highest possible contribution toward my goal?”
As Peter Drucker said, “People are effective because they say ‘no,’ because they say, “this isn’t for me.”
As poet Mary Oliver wrote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”
Straddled strategy – Attempting to invest in everything at once.
A choice is an action
Once dogs didn’t think they had a choice. Those dogs that had been powerless in the last part of the experiment did not. These dogs didn’t adapt or adjust
The ratio of hours to pounds. What really counted was the relationship between time and results. Think about the output for the time you are inputting.
Warren Buffett – He owes 90% of his wealth to just ten investments.
We discover how even the many good opportunities we pursue are often far less valuable than the few truly great ones.
Straddling means keeping your existing strategy intact while simultaneously also trying to adopt the strategy of a competitor.
Jim Collins could either build a great company or build great ideas but not both. Jim chose ideas.
Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?
An essentialist explores and evaluates a broad set of options before committing to any. Because Essentialists will commit and “go big” on only the vital few ideas or activities, they explore more options at first to ensure they pick the right one later.
Creating space to explore, think, and reflect should be kept to a minimum. Yet these very activities are the antidote.
When did you last take time out of your busy day simply to sit and think?
Journalism is NOT just about regurgitating the facts but about figuring out the point.
In every set of facts, something essential is hidden.
Nothing fires up the brain like play.
Protecting the Asset = Sleep!
The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves.
What happens to our closets when we use the broad criterion, “Is there a chance that I will wear this someday in the future?” The closet becomes cluttered with clothes we rarely wear. But if we ask, “Do I absolutely love this?
We tend to value things we already own more highly than they are worth, and thus find them more difficult to get rid of.
If I didn’t already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?
The 90-10 model for making decisions. You can apply to just about every decision or dilemma. As you evaluate an option, think about the single most important criterion for that decision, and then simply give the option a score between 0 and 100. If you rate it any lower than 90 percent, then automatically change the rating to 0.
Vigilant about acknowledging the reality of trade-offs
Whether the employee is organized enough to find a quiet place at an allotted time for phone interviews.
“Would he or she love working here?” and “Would we love having him or her work with us?” and “Will this person be an absolutely natural fit?”
What will I say no to?
Clarity about what is essential fuels us with the strength to say no to the nonessentials.
[Saying no to others]
Separate the decision from the relationship. Say no to non-essential meetings.
Initial annoyance or disappointment or anger wears off, the respect kicks in.
When we push back effectively, it shows people that our time is highly valuable. It distinguishes the professional from the amateur.
I say no very easily because I know what is important to me
If I weren’t already invested in this project, how much would I invest in it now?”
Nobody in the history of the world has washed their rental car. Tendency to undervalue things that aren’t ours.
By quietly eliminating or at least scaling back an activity for a few days or weeks you might be able to assess whether it is really making a difference.
The Latin root of the word decision—cis or cid—literally means “to cut” or “to kill. Imagine every cut produces joy.
Shift the ratio of activity to meaning.
Boundaries are a little like the walls of a sandcastle. The second we let one fall over, the rest of them come crashing down. Essentialists, on the other hand, see boundaries as empowering.
You need to put up your fences well in advance, clearly demarcating what’s off limits so you can head off time wasters and boundary pushers at the pass
Another quick test for finding your deal breakers is to write down any time you feel violated or put upon by someone’s request.
Essentialist, on the other hand, use the good times to create a buffer for the bad.
Needs to identify the “Herbie”: the part of the process that is slower relative to every other part of the plant. What is getting in the way of achieving what is essential?
“What obstacles or bottlenecks are holding you back from achieving X, and how can I help remove these?”
When we want to create major change we often think we need to lead with something huge or grandiose. BUT, in all forms of human motivation the most effective one is progress. Creates momentum and affirms our faith in our further success
Visualize. Something powerful about visibly seeing progress toward a goal.
“The tape” was a visualization of the perfect race. In exquisite detail and slow motion Phelps would visualize every moment from his starting position on top of the blocks, through each stroke, until he emerged.
Whenever she schedules a meeting or phone call, she takes exactly fifteen seconds to type up the main objectives.
With repetition the routine is mastered and the activity becomes second nature.
You can easily do two things at the same time: wash the dishes and listen to the radio. What we can’t do is concentrate on two things at the same time.
Pathetically tiny amount of time we have left of our lives. It challenges me to be even more unreasonably selective about how to use this precious
Peter Thiel took “less but better” to an unorthodox level when he insisted that PayPal employees select one single priority in their role—and focus on that exclusively