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 (715 ratings)
20 mins
10 key ideas
Audio & text

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.

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.

Table of Contents

    summarized in 10 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 10

    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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    Key ideas in Essentialism

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    Best quote from Essentialism

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

    —Greg McKeown
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    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

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