Book: Essentialism

Essentialism is a pursuit of a life when you’re doing less, but better.

The book starts with a great quote on productivity:

Essentialism is not about how to get more things done, it’s about how to get the right things done.

It’s about the wisest possible investment of your time.

Success can be a problem

The pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure.

Focusing on success can become an undisciplined pursuit of more.

We have to answer this question: Tell me what is your plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

We don't want to spend our life doing things we detest or buying things we don't need

with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.

Learn to understand your choices and your ability to choose

The thing is that if we surrender our ability to choose, something or someone else will step in to choose for us. That’s why an essentialist must spend as much time as possible exploring, listening, debating, questioning and thinking. Very often doing less and thinking more really produces better outcomes!

Options (things) can be taken away why our core ability to choose (free will) cannot be.

Change your language: instead of saying "I have to" say "I choose to". This way you really know it’s all up to you!

The essentialist doesn't just recognize the power of choice he celebrates it.

Work hard... but better

We work hard because we think that everything we’re working on is sooooo important... and it’s really not.

You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.

Working hard is important but more effort does not always yield more results! It’s because sometimes what we don't do is just as important as what we do.

Certain efforts actually produce exponentially more results than others.

Everything is a trade-off

A definition of a non-essentialist would be a person who thinks that there are no trade-offs. That you can have a cake and eat it at the same time.

The reality is saying yes to an opportunity by definition requires saying no to several others.


We can try to avoid the reality of trade-offs but we can't escape them