Book Review: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

entrepreneur book club minneapolis

“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 toward the things that really matter.”

As entrepreneurs, we’re all about the next thing. Whether that’s adding another service to our brand, creating a podcast, starting a blog, marketing, SEO, social media, automation, etc. etc. etc. And the truth is, we do this in our personal lives as well — what am I doing this weekend, what is the next big trip I’m taking, when do I have book club/spin class/dinner with the family? As a society, we follow the idea that more is better, and if we’re not doing it all we’re not doing enough.

Enter Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. This amazing book preaches the practice of “less, but better”. It explains that focusing our energy on only a few truly worthwhile commitments at a time actually produces stronger, more effective, and more meaningful results.

essentialism by greg mckeown

Take a look at the image to the left. This is the perfect example of what McKeown is trying to explain when he talks about “less, but better”. The same amount of effort is being exerted in both examples, but instead of making a small amount of progress on a multitude of things, the Essentialist carries the ability to make a real difference on the thing that is most important to them.

The hardest part of embracing this idea is the fact that it goes completely against everything society has ever told us about how we should live our life. Buy all the things, participate in all the groups, multi-task wherever possible, and overall it’s always best to expand our repertoire of knowledge. The combination of large variety of options, social pressure to do more, and the “you can have it all” mindset have created a world where non-essentialism runs rampant.

So the next time you’re trying to decide whether or not to add something to your plate, take a moment to decide if it’s essential to you first. Think about its effects on your happiness, your life, and your future. These questions are a great place to start if you’re trying to make the decision between whether something is or is not essential to you:

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