The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Book - 2014
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * More than one million copies sold! Essentialism isn't about getting more done in less time. It's about getting only the right things done.

"A timely, essential read for anyone who feels overcommitted, overloaded, or overworked."--Adam Grant

Have you ever:
* found yourself stretched too thin?
* simultaneously felt overworked and underutilized?
* felt busy but not productive?
* felt like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people's agendas?

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

Essentialism is more than a time-management strategy or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter.

By forcing us to apply more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy--instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.

Essentialism is not one more thing--it's a whole new way of doing everything. It's about doing less, but better, in every area of our lives. Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.
Publisher: New York :, Crown Business,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
Description: 260 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9780804137386
Branch Call Number: 153.83 McK


From the critics

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Dec 12, 2020

"If you don't prioritize your life, others will." I love this quote. The version I've been repeating for years is this, "If you don't write your life's script, someone else will do it for you."

โ€œYou cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.โ€ There are a lot of thought-provoking quotes by famed leadership author John Maxwell, but this one is aptly relevant to idea of essentialism. There's is simply so much out there of little value, and so much more of it compared with a decade ago, that it's imperative to not let your time get stolen away by the non-essential.

Essentialism makes a persuasive case against allowing yourself to be held hostages to the time demands of modern life that seem to have exponentially increased compared to a generation or more ago. It's hard not to agree with this. But as a counterpoint, I also agree with the philosophy of being a generous giver of one's time and service. I think there's a lesson in both of these approaches and also think this is close to what the author is arguing for. Cut out the non-essential but be service-minded towards the absolutely essential.

There's a spectrum going on here and it's far too easy to end up at the wrong end. The author speaks of the non-essentialist, a person who is thoughtless about how they allocate their time. That's being at the wrong end. But it's also possible to cut yourself off from everything you deem non-essential when in reality you've just cut yourself off from an array of rewarding new experiences. Tough choices. The difficulty isn't really the cutting, but the choosing.

Sep 18, 2020

๐˜๐˜ง ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏโ€™๐˜ต ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ป๐˜ฆ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ.โฃ
Greg McKeown, a Stanford Business School graduate and corporate lecturer, makes a compelling case for achieving essentialism through the following four steps: understanding its essence, exploring oneโ€™s possibilities, eliminating the unnecessary, and executing the goal.โฃโฃ
Although essentialism is now a relatively well-promulgated concept, this book forces the reader to really tackle the problem head-on, providing us with the time and space to comb through the concept slowly and really question our current paths. โฃโฃ
Intriguingly, the book also describes multiple mind-traps one may succumb to while evading the nonessentialism that now pervades our world, and many of them, such as the positive feedback loop, the framing effect and FOMO (fear of missing out) actually coincide with those I had learnt about in marketing books such as ๐˜‰๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ and ๐˜๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ. Obviously they had been lauded as great marketing strategies in the latter, but as business leaders lure consumers towards heavier consumerism, they themselves strive to escape the very effect, which relates back to the quote at the beginning of our review. Unless we take control of our own lives, others will. โฃโฃ
If we have to follow someoneโ€™s design, it might as well be our own. โฃโฃ

Jun 15, 2020

It looked like a minimalism book for how you spend your time in all aspects of life, but that wasn't really the focus.
In the first few chapters he made good points that anyone can apply to his or her lifestyle. The deeper I got into the book, the more I realized that not much of what he wrote really applies to my life, since I don't work in the corporate world.
This book seems perfect for the overworked business executive who needs to slow down.

Nov 05, 2019

Helps cut through the clutter & prioritize

Jun 08, 2019

Some comments here are blasting the book because it's "about one thing". And I get that; however, I found the book to be highly useful and bought it because it keeps talking you through the thought process of what to say yes to; and consequently, what to say no too. So it's a guide taking one guiding principle and applying it to granular tactical examples - so you can re-address them in your own life. Overall, a great practical philosophy book which goes against the grain of culture's desire to consume and do more "because productivity".

Sep 27, 2017

About the one thing

Jul 13, 2016

This book was 20% insight and 80% fluff! The central message is a good one (focus your time and energy on what matters) but the book certainly dragged on and felt bloated.

Nov 27, 2015

Lots of great ideas and lofty ideals, but not a lot of insight on how to apply them. Maybe that's the trick though - it's not a how to manual but more a set of guidelines you need to claim for yourself and figure out how to apply. There are a number of thoughtful questions it asks (or asks the reader to ask) that makes the book worth reading; they can help to clarify what is important, and help you figure out what to prioritize, but they require digging to find, and then a lot of introspection to honestly answer. Not a quick fix. The reader's digest version: simplify, say no to what you don't want to do, plan your time and your choices wisely, think hard before you say yes to anything.

Oct 31, 2015

A useful work, although I found that it would be hard to implement because it would require taking notes (especially the list of the ways to say 'no' in chapter eight), which is awkward when one can only listen to it. So, it would be better to read and take notes from it, then start to apply them.

Aug 25, 2015

The core concept of only putting your energies in to those tasks and activities that are most essential in life is a pretty straight forward concept and I felt like the author spent too much time trying to convince the reader of it, and it could have been a couple chapters shorter. Also, despite the idea that the Esentialist lifestyle would allow one to spend more time with family, much of the Essentialist lifestyle seems to depend on others picking up the slack at home while the main breadwinner (whom this book is geared towards) focuses on themselves and their needs.

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Jun 08, 2019

ChristiDS thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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