Essentialism by Greg McKeown – How To Be A Minimalist / Essentialist

These are my personal book notes of Essentialism by author Greg McKeown.

Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?
Do you sometimes feel overworked and underutilized?
Do you feel motion sickness instead of momentum?
Does your day sometimes get hijacked by someone else’s agenda?
Have you ever said “yes” simply to please and then resented it?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.

Greg McKeown – Essentialism
AuthorGreg McKeown
SubtitleThe Disciplined Pursuit of Less
First published2011
RecommendedYes (Hell Yeah!)
Buy the bookEssentialism by Greg McKeown on Amazon

Table of contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright
  • Dedication
  • The Essentialist
  • Part I: Essence: What is the core mind-set of an Essentialist?
    • CHOOSE: The Invincible Power of Choice
    • DISCERN: The Unimportance of Practically Everything
    • TRADE-OFF: Which Problem Do I Want?
  • Part II: Explore: How can we discern the trivial many from the vital few?
    • ESCAPE: The Perks of Being Unavailable
    • LOOK: See What Really Matters
    • PLAY: Embrace the Wisdom of Your Inner Child
    • SLEEP: Protect the Asset
    • SELECT: The Power of Extreme Criteria
  • Part III: Eliminate: How can we cut out the trivial many?
    • CLARIFY: One Decision That Makes a Thousand
    • DARE: The Power of a Graceful “No”
    • UNCOMMIT: Win Big by Cutting Your Losses
    • EDIT: The Invisible Art
    • LIMIT: The Freedom of Setting Boundaries
  • Part IV: Execute: How can we make doing the vital few things almost effortless?
    • BUFFER: The Unfair Advantage
    • SUBTRACT: Bring Forth More by Removing Obstacles
    • PROGRESS: The Power of Small Wins
    • FLOW: The Genius of Routine
    • FOCUS: What’s Important Now?
    • BE: The Essentialist Life
  • Appendix
    • Leadership Essentials
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Taking Essentialism Beyond the Page

This book can help us making decisions and distinguishing the vital few from the trivial many.

Chapter 1 – The Essentialist

The Wisdom Of Life Consists In The Elimination of Non-Essentials.

Lin Yutang

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

It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.

Greg McKeown - Essentialism.
Spread Energy vs Focused Energy
Spread Energy vs Focused Energy

You simply cannot have it all.

I can do anything, but not everything

We must decide what our agenda or goal is, and pursue only opportunities that lead us to our goals.

If you don’t have your own agenda, someone else will make one for you.

The ability to choose cannot be taken or given away, only forgotten

Don’t commit casually to plans you’re not sure about. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Instead, go all-in on the important stuff in your life.

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.

“I have to.”
“It’s all important.”
“How can I fit it all in?”
“I choose to.”
“Only a few things really matter.”
“What are the trade-offs?”
Reacts to what’s most pressing
Says “yes” to people without really thinking
Tries to force execution at the last moment
Pauses to discern what really matters
Says “no” to everything except the essential
Removes obstacles to make execution easy
Takes on too much, and work suffers
Feels out of control
Is unsure of whether the right things got done
Feels overwhelmed and exhausted
Chooses carefully in order to do great work
Feels in control
Gets the right things done Experiences joy in the journey

The way of the Essentialist is the path to being in control of our own choices. It is a path to new levels of success and meaning. It is the path on which we enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

Despite all these benefits, however, there are too many forces conspiring to keep us from applying the disciplined pursuit of less but better, which may be why so many end up on the misdirected path of the Nonessentialist.

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

The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.

You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.

What do you want to go BIG on?

Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?

I only covered a very small part of the book. If you like what you read, please consider buying the book on amazon:

Essentialism by Greg McKeown on Amazon

Thanks for reading and stay awesome!

Your Online Business Dude

If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.

Greg McKeown – Essentialism

Hi - I'm Tim, the founder of Online Business Dude. This is the place where I openly share what works for me (and what doesn't!) when it comes to online marketing and business. I believe everyone of us should run their own online business so that we can live an independent and fulfilling life. That's why I help people, who want to break free from the 9-5 rat race, to build their own online business from scratch. I specialize in SEO and media buying, 100% performance based and results oriented. I run my online businesses full-time and currently travel through SE-Asia. Reach out to me if you have any questions or we share the same passion! :)

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