Essentialism, the disciplined pursuit of less. Book – Greg McKeown – Published 2014, 236 pages

I had a chance to read Essentialism – the disciplined pursuit of less this week. It was a quick read, with many stories and examples, and I would give it a 3/5. The big takeaway for me is to make conscious choices, say no to a lot of things and make routines that help you say no to trivial things more often. Here is a PDF copy of the book (Thanks to heram)

Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less

The basic value proposition of 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.

The way of the Essentialist is the relentless pursuit of less but better. It doesn’t mean occasionally giving a nod to the principle. It means pursuing it in a disciplined way.

Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done.

If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.


1. Individual choice: We can choose how to spend our energy and time. Without choice, there is no point in talking about trade-offs.

2. The prevalence of noise: Almost everything is noise, and a very few things are exceptionally valuable. This is the justification for taking time to figure out what is most important. Because some things are so much more important, the effort in finding those things is worth it.

3. The reality of trade-offs: We can’t have it all or do it all. If we could, there would be no reason to evaluate or eliminate options. Once we accept the reality of trade-offs we stop asking, “How can I make it all work?” and start asking the more honest question “Which problem do I want to solve?”

Not everything is essential

Steps to Essentialism

STEP 1. EXPLORE: DISCERNING THE TRIVIAL MANY FROM THE VITAL FEW. Essentialists systematically explore and evaluate a broad set of options before committing to any.

STEP 2. ELIMINATE: CUTTING OUT THE TRIVIAL MANY. To eliminate nonessentials means saying no to someone. Often.

STEP 3. EXECUTE: REMOVING OBSTACLES AND MAKING EXECUTION EFFORTLESS: Essentialists invest the time they have saved into creating a system for removing obstacles and making execution as easy as possible.

There are three deeply entrenched assumptions we must conquer to live the way of the Essentialist: “I have to,” “It’s all important,” and “I can do both.

Be intentional and thoughtful