The ONE Thing Book Summary - The ONE Thing Book explained in key points
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The ONE Thing summary

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results

4.6 (518 ratings)
18 mins
Table of Contents

    The ONE Thing
    summarized in 12 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 12

    Failing to think big can limit your opportunities.

    When Arthur Guinness set up his first brewery, he clearly had grander plans than producing a few barrels of stout: he signed a 9,000 year lease on the building. Similarly, when J. K. Rowling conceived the idea of Harry Potter, she envisioned seven books about life at Hogwarts before she wrote even the first chapter of the first one.

    Both of these people went on to be extraordinarily successful, and this was in no small part because they were not afraid of thinking big: starting out with a grand vision of success before even beginning to work toward it. It’s hard to imagine that they would have achieved such great success had they failed to think so big in the first place. 

    Yet, for most people, the thought of big ideas or big achievements is daunting and has negative associations, such as feeling overwhelmed and intimidated. These negative thoughts often prevent people from thinking big.

    When we fail to think big and allow these negative associations to dominate us, our thinking shrinks and we lower our trajectories. We actively limit our potential achievement, condemning ourselves to mediocrity.

    Consider science and how much of its progress would have stalled if someone hadn’t dared to think of previously unimaginable possibilities, like that humans could breathe underwater, fly through the air or explore space. History tells us that we’ve done a remarkably poor job of estimating our limits, so we should not let the limits we perceive constrain our aspirations.

    Success requires action, and action requires thought. But in order to achieve extraordinary results, our actions have to be based on big thinking in the first place.

    Failing to think big can limit your opportunities.

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    What is The ONE Thing about?

    The ONE Thing (2013) helps you to discover your most important goal, and gives you tools to ensure you can use your time productively to get there. The book reveals that many of the maxims we accept as good practice are actually myths that only hinder our progress. It also provides advice on how to live your life with priority, purpose and productivity without sending other aspects of life out of balance, because this is the way to perform the kind of focused work that leads to great success.

    Best quote from The ONE Thing

    Dont let small thinking cut your life down to size. Think big, aim high, act bold.

    —Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
    example alt text

    Who should read The ONE Thing?

    • Anyone looking to improve their productivity
    • Anyone who has trouble finding time to commit to their goal
    • Anyone looking for greater clarity and purpose in their daily life

    About the Author

    Gary Keller is co-founder and chairman of the board of Keller Williams Realty International, a company he grew from a small office in Austin, Texas, to become the largest real estate company in the US. His previous three books formed the Millionaire Real Estate Series and have all been bestsellers.

    Jay Papasan is the executive editor and vice-president of publishing at Keller Williams Realty, and is the president of Rellek Publishing. He has also co-authored numerous bestselling books, including the Millionaire Real Estate Series.

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