Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Essentialism tells you to apply the principles of opportunity cost, sunk cost and endowment bias to the decisions and commitments in your life. And a helpful reminder to declutter!


Book notes

Aim for less but better.

Ask yourself “Is this the very most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?”

Effectiveness is more important than efficiency.

Make lots of progress in a single direction, rather that little progress in lots of directions.

Be prepared to make tough decisions.

Understand the trade-offs you are making.

“If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will.”

Reduce and simplify.

Ask tough questions: “Do I love this?”

Ask the “killer” question “If I already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?”

Ask “If I didn’t have this opportunity, what would I be willing to do to acquire it?”

Explore more options initially, without committing much to any.  Then pick one and “go big” on it.

Busyness should not be a goal.

“To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep, and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we make.”

Read classic literature for the first twenty minutes of the day. It grounds you.

Sleep for eight hours a day. Take naps in the afternoon.

Accept only the top 10% of opportunities.

When accepting a commitment to someone, think about what you are giving up.

Be prepared to uncommit to a decision, “no matter the sunk costs.”

Get over the fear of waste.

Prepare for different possible outcomes or scenarios.

Build in a buffer.

Ask which obstacles need to be removed.

Start small and celebrate progress.

Track progress visibly.

“Simplicity is extremely important for happiness.”


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