Essentialism Book Summary - Essentialism Book explained in key points
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Essentialism summary

Greg McKeown

Improve your life by only focusing on the essentials

4.5 (1080 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Essentialism by Greg McKeown is a book about simplifying your life and focusing on what truly matters. It encourages readers to prioritize their time and energy by filtering out the nonessential and saying "no" to distractions.

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    In order to avoid drowning in unnecessary work, you need to adopt the principle of essentialism.

    Our lives are so jam-packed with tasks and responsibilities that we struggle to identify which of them are the most important to us, that is, our priorities. Even if we make a concerted effort to go through all our tasks and pick out the ones we should prioritize, we still end up with too much on our hands.

    This overload of stuff massively hinders our productivity. Luckily, however, we can get our priorities straight by adopting essentialism.

    Essentialism focuses on four main points:

    Do less, but do it better. The cornerstone of essentialism is the never-ending task of identifying the less important things in your life to cut out, and doing what’s left over to a higher standard.

    Reject the notion that we should accomplish everything, and choose instead specific directions in which you can excel. Essentialism isn’t about making tiny progress in many directions. Instead, choose a direction and make great strides in the things that matter most to you.

    Constantly question yourself and update your plans accordingly. The process of deciding what’s worth doing and what should be let go is ongoing. The essentialist is always deciding whether what she is doing is actually worth her time or if she should invest her time and energy in a more productive area.

    Finally, once those few vital tasks have been distilled from the trivial many, the essentialist wastes no time in ensuring that the changes are put in place.

    While all that might seem easy, most of us are actually far from the mark. In the next few blinks you’ll discover how far away most of us are from the essentialist approach.

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    What is Essentialism about?

    Essentialism (2014) teaches you how to do better by doing less. By offering practical solutions for how to get your priorities straight, Essentialism helps you to eliminate all of the junk in your routine that’s keeping you from being truly productive and fulfilled.

    Essentialism Review

    Essentialism (2014) by Greg McKeown is a thought-provoking book that challenges the notion of "doing it all" and instead encourages readers to focus on what truly matters. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • With its practical strategies, it helps readers simplify their lives and make meaningful choices that lead to greater fulfillment and success.
    • The book combines real-life examples and powerful anecdotes to illustrate the concept of essentialism, making it relatable and applicable to everyday life.
    • Its engaging storytelling keeps readers captivated as they explore the principles of essentialism, ensuring that the book is anything but boring.

    Best quote from Essentialism

    The word priority first appeared in the English language in the 1400s but only in the 1900s was it pluralized.

    —Greg McKeown
    example alt text

    Who should read Essentialism?

    • Anyone who thinks that they are far too busy without being productive
    • Anyone who feels like there is never enough time
    • Anyone having a hard time identifying his or her priorities in life

    About the Author

    Greg McKeown is an author and management consultant who has coached at companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter and LinkedIn. He holds an MBA from Stanford University, where he co-created the course Designing Life, and is also the author of the best-selling book Multipliers.

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    Essentialism FAQs 

    What is the main message of Essentialism?

    The main message of Essentialism is to focus on what truly matters and eliminate the non-essential to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

    How long does it take to read Essentialism?

    The estimated reading time for Essentialism is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Essentialism a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Essentialism is a thought-provoking and practical book that offers valuable insights on how to prioritize and make the most of our limited resources. Definitely worth reading!

    Who is the author of Essentialism?

    The author of Essentialism is Greg McKeown.

    What to read after Essentialism?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Essentialism, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Slow Productivity by Cal Newport
    • (Article) Why can't the world's greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness? by Oliver Burkeman
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