Business Reading: Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

22 January 2021

This week, our recommended reading is Greg McKeown’s book, ‘Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less’.

Here, McKeown explains how he has used his experience of working with executive teams in Silicon Valley, as well as various executives that he interviewed for the book, to devise the answer to a problem, which we all face in today’s world.

That problem is that we have so much information available to us now, that it has become more difficult, rather than easier, to tell what we should be doing from what we could be doing.

Here is an extract from the book, which perfectly encapsulates what it means to be an Essentialist, by McKeown’s definition:

“The way of the Essentialist isn’t about setting New Year’s resolutions to say “no” more, or about pruning your in-box, or about mastering some new strategy in time management. It is about pausing constantly to ask, “Am I investing in the right activities?” There are far more activities and opportunity in the world than we have time and resources to invest in. And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital. The way of the Essentialist involves learning to tell the difference – learning to filter through all those options and selecting only those that are truly essential.”

The take-away message from this, McKeown goes on to explain, is that you need to:

  1. Explore only the very critical things you want to pursue.
  2. Eliminate the rest
  3. Build a platform for effortless execution, so that doing what is essential becomes the default position, not just the rare occasion

I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment and love the way he manages to explain everything so simply that it just makes sense. It is critical to make time to step back and reflect on your business and the decisions you are making.

For more on business growth and making the right decisions for your business, you can read about a framework, which will help you decide on what is the optimal outcome, every time.

Read: 5W1H Business Model (Plus a Cool Hack!)

Also, take a look at how Jeff Bezos built up Amazon with a mantra of test, build, accelerate and scale.

Watch: Test, Build, Accelerate and Scale – My Take On The Bezos Letters


If you would like to work with us on your business strategy or need any further guidance on how to get the most out of your time, please do feel free to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

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