Essentialism: Book Summary

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

  1. If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
  2. Before saying yes to anything, ask yourself, “Will this activity or effort make the highest possible contribution towards my goal?
  3. Essentialism is not a way to do one more thing; it is a different way of doing everything. It is a way of thinking.
  4. A non-Essentialist thinks almost everything is essential. An Essentialist thinks almost everything is non-essential.
  5. The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.
  6. When we don’t purposefully and deliberately choose where to focus our energies and time, other people – our bosses, our colleagues, our clients, and even our families – will choose for us, and before long we’ll have lost sight of everything that is meaningful and important.
  7. There are three deeply entrenched assumptions we must conquer to live the way of the Essentialist: ‘I have to,’ ‘It’s all important,’ and ‘I can do both.’ To embrace the essence of Essentialism requires we replace these false assumptions with three core truths: “I choose to,” “Only a few things really matter,” and “I can do anything but not everything.”
  8. “If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.”
  9. “As you evaluate an option, think about the single most important criterion for that decision, and then simply give the option a score between 0 and 100. If you rate it any lower than 90 percent, then automatically change the rating to 0 and simply reject it.”
  10. Alan D. Williams observed in the essay ‘What Is an Editor?’ there are ‘two basic questions the editor should be addressed to the author: Are you saying what you want to say? and, Are you saying it as clearly and concisely as possible?’
  11. “Multi-tasking itself is not the enemy of Essentialism; pretending we can ‘multi-focus’ is.”

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P.S. This is my book summary of “Essentialism”. These points could be direct quotes from the book, and/or my thoughts and interpretation of those lines. Most importantly, this write-up is dedicated to the key points from this book.

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essentialism book cover

essentialism book cover

 

 

Essentialism
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