The only book that I completed reading this year so far is Essentialism – The disciplined pursuit of less by Greg McKeown.

I stumbled upon this book when I was watching a YouTube video on productivity. And I was interested as this was similar to the concept of minimalism that I have been exploring. 

I have watched many videos of the author. Many of them have similar content and same examples so the examples may be boring after a while. But, the core philosophy itself is very good and probably what most of the people need now. This is not just about the misunderstood practice of minimalism like having less clutter or owning fewer things. It also goes further and outlines concepts that you can apply to your day to day life or even at projects at work. The gist is about having a clarity of what is essential for you and pursuing only that and saying no to other things. 

I am listing down twelve of the quotes/lines that I liked from the book. 

  • the basic value proposition of Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution 
  •  Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.
  • Almost everything is noise, and very few things are exceptionally valuable.
  • Yet choice is at the very core of what it means to be an Essentialist. To become an Essentialist requires a heightened awareness of our ability to choose. We need to recognise it as an invincible power within us, existing separate and distinct from any other thing, person, or force.
  • When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless. Drip by drip we allow our power to be taken away until we end up becoming a function of other people’s choices – or even a function of our own past choices.
  • The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves, and by that I mean our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution. One of the most common ways people – especially ambitious, successful people – damage this asset is through a lack of sleep.
  • Sunk-cost bias is the tendency to continue to invest time, money, or energy into something we know is a losing proposition simply because we have already incurred, or sunk, a cost that cannot be recouped. It explains why we’ll continue to sit through a terrible movie because we’ve already paid the price of a ticket.
  • when people make their problem our problem, we aren’t helping them; we’re enabling them. Once we take their problem for them, all we’re doing is taking away their ability to solve it.
  • An Essentialist understands that clarity is the key to empowerment.
  • Chronos is quantitative; kairos is qualitative. The latter is experienced only when we are fully in the moment – when we exist in the now.
  • Our ability to execute the essential improves with practice, just like any other ability.
  • Here’s another paradox for you: the faster and busier things get, the more we need to build thinking time into our schedule. And the noisier things get, the more we need to build quiet reflection spaces in which we can truly focus.