Apr 08, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review: Essentialism | Greg McKeown

Few books have completely reshaped my thinking on life as much as this one. I came across Matt D. Smith’s article Essentialism several months ago (currently my blog is completely ripped off of his styling).

This book challenged a lot of my core beliefs about being busy, staying productive, and in general trying to live a full life. It freed me to explore what’s important to me and encouraged me to stop living for expectations; both internal and external. I no longer want to live my life up to a standard of what is normal to do.

It’s been extremely liberating to rethink my work, my personal life, my social commitments, my daily choices and continuously ask the question “Is this essential?” I’ve realized how much of my time is spent checking things off a mental to-do list that doesn’t really matter. I’m learning to reshape my evaluation of myself from getting things done to doing the right things and doing them well.

This is a book I plan to revisit yearly. It’s that good! Here’s a few of my favorite quotes.

A non-Essentialist approaches every trade-off by asking, "How can I do both?" Essentialists ask the tougher but ultimately ore liberating question, "Which problem do I want?" An Essentialist makes trade-offs deliberately.

Our highest priority is to protect our ability to prioritize.
[referring to the importance of sleep]

If we could be truly excellent at one thing, what would it be?

You can apply zero-based budgeting to your own endeavors. Instead of trying to budget your time on the basis of existing commitment, assume all bets are off. All previous commitments are gone. Then begin from scratch, asking which you would add today...Every use of time, energy, or resources has to justify itself anew. If it no longer fits, eliminate it altogether.

I realised that until I knew what was important right now, what was important right now was to figure out what was important right now!