Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown

TITLE: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

AUTHOR: Greg Mckeown

GENRE: Self-help

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

Carl Sandburg

Chronos and Kairos were the names given to time by the ancient Greeks. Chronos is the linear, quantitative time which has a definitive end, whereas, Kairos is the qualitative time, time spent in moments.

This book talks about focusing on Kairos. It asks us to not pass with time, but to add value to it by doing things which matter to us the most.

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

This book appears to be helping you in excelling in your professional life, but if you are willing to go an inch deeper, you might realize it’s much more than that. It is asking us to utilize our time wisely rather than trying to fit it all in this precious time that we have been bestowed with.

A tiny passage about Chronos and Kairos supports the entire structure of this book.

We humans are busy getting everything done. We say yes to things we have least interest in just because we try hard to be in everyone’s good book. I ask- when will we stop and put ourselves first? Life is too short to read all the books, to be there for everyone, to get everything done. It’s better to take a step back and ponder upon what’s important; to do not the things you have to do, but the things you want to do. Let’s take that one step back to go in the right direction.

Greg Mckeown talks about this in Essentialism.

Now, I won’t mention all the points from the book, but would highlight the ones which got through to me.

  • Instead of focusing on hundreds of things, focus on just the one. Your energy is limited and the more areas you choose to spend on your energy on, the lesser impactful they are going to be
  • Explore your options and then choose the one which resonates with you
  • Have the courage to say no to all that is non-essential
  • Create space for thinking, meditating, and playing
  • Be clear about what you want and what you don’t
  • Uncommit to your constraints. Find out what’s holding you back and get rid of it
  • Form a habit of all that you find difficult so that it starts coming to you naturally
  • Give more importance to sleep
  • Don’t give up on your ability to choose

The only drawback of this book is that it is repetitive, not only the concepts but also the phrases. Instead of going forward in a sequential manner, it keeps coming back to the previously mentioned points which make it a confusing read and it gets difficult to grasp the message to its full potential.

I would like to conclude with Greg Mckeown’s words

If there’s one thing you are passionate about- and that you can be best at- you should do just that one thing


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