Author: Greg McKeown Publication date: 2014
Publisher: Crown Business
As I pursue a life of maximum productivity, I’ve enjoyed reading as a way to decompress and learn from experts about how to make the most of my time. One of the best books I’ve read about productivity so far, is Essentialism, by Greg McKeown.
Essentialism is more than just tips for being productive. It offers a whole new outlook on life, work, and time management. McKeown’s premise is that being incredibly busy is not necessarily a good sign. In fact, a lot of the time we stay so busy doing nonessential stuff that we don’t have time for the things that are truly important to us.
Our current work culture tends to glorify those who seem able to handle a superhuman amount of work. However, just because someone is heading up three projects, starting a freelance business on the side, organizing a local running club, and volunteering as a little league coach doesn’t mean that said person is happy and productive. In fact, less could be more both for work and life. If we can learn to say no to the things that aren’t absolutely essential to us, we will have more time to focus on things that really matter. Essentialism is about doing less better.
One of my favorite parts of the book were the simple illustrations and charts inserted throughout the text. They broke up the pages and made the book fun and easy to read. Though the graphics were simple, the way he was able to represent his points visually was powerful.
McKeown didn’t just study essentialism, while writing his book he practiced what he preached. A lot of business related books I read drag on way longer than they should. The actual juice could have been condensed into an 800 word blog post. It is frustrating to have to comb through a lot of unnecessary filler paragraphs to get to the value. Essentialism isn’t like that. I learned something new and was inspired afresh by each chapter and almost every paragraph.