Opinion

Essentialism: A Review & Recommendation

Ah, December! That time of year when “best of” lists are everywhere. One of the books topping my Best of 2019 list is Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. I’ve found myself quoting the book and recommending it to others at least once a week since I read it over Memorial Day weekend.

I have a running list of what I recommend as “life changing”, and this book makes the cut.
My top three learnings that I’m carrying into 2020:

  1. Protect the Asset: This is basically the “put your mask on first” mantra. If you’re not at your best, specifically, well-rested and healthy, everything else is harder by default. Getting enough sleep is a strategic imperative rather than an indulgence. 
    What if we changed PTO to PTA?!
  1. The Vital Few: Most everything happening around us is nonessential and a distraction. Priority is a singular word! Knowing your “vital few” choices streamlines all decision-making, increases focus and makes small win and continued impact easier. 
    Less is better!
  1. The Graceful No: Saying yes to something is by default saying no to something else. By using extreme decision criteria, we can know where and when to say “yes”, and where to deploy the graceful no. A graceful no is saying no without using the word “no”, as in… I can help you next Tuesday, I’ve got a prior commitment, etc. He posits that saying no may not win popularity, but it wins respect and credibility.
    Yes is a commitment, no is a decision.

If you’ve read Essentialism, or have life-changing book recommendation, let me know!

Journal Prompts
What do I want to gracefully decline in 2020?
How do I invest in my health?

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