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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Hardcover – April 15, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (April 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804137382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804137386
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Do you feel it, too? That relentless pressure to sample all the good things in life? To do all the 'right' things? The reality is, you don’t make progress that way. Instead, you’re in danger of spreading your efforts so thin that you make no impact at all. Greg McKeown believes the answer lies in paring life down to its essentials. He can’t tell you what’s essential to every life, but he can help you find the meaning in yours.”
-- Daniel H. Pink, author of TO SELL IS HUMAN and DRIVE
 
“Entrepreneurs succeed when they say "yes" to the right project, at the right time, in the right way. To accomplish this, they have to be good at saying "no" to all their other ideas. Essentialism offers concise and eloquent advice on how to determine what you care about most, and how to apply your energies in ways that ultimately bring you the greatest rewards.”
-- Reid Hoffman, co-founder/chairman of LinkedIn and co-author of the #1 NYT bestseller “The Start-up of You”

"Greg McKeown’s excellent new book is a much-needed antidote to the stress, burnout and compulsion to “do everything,” that infects us all. It is an Essential read for anyone who wants to regain control of their health, well-being, and happiness."  
-–Arianna Huffington, Co-founder, president, and editor in chief, Huffington Post Media Group”


Essentialism holds the keys to solving one of the great puzzles of life: how can we do less but accomplish more? A timely, essential read for anyone who feels overcommitted, overloaded, or overworked—in other words, everyone. It has already changed the way that I think about my own priorities, and if more leaders embraced this philosophy, our jobs and our lives would be less stressful and more productive. So drop what you’re doing and read it..”
--Adam Grant, Wharton professor and bestselling author of Give and Take
 

“As a self-proclaimed "maximalist" who always wants to do it all, this book challenged me and improved my life. If you want to work better, not just less, you should read it too.” 
- Chris Guillebeau, NYT bestselling author of The $100 Startup

"Great design takes us beyond the complex, the unnecessary and confusing, to the simple, clear and meaningful. This is as true for the design of a life as it is for the design of a product. With Essentialism, Greg McKeown gives us the invaluable guidebook for just such a project." 
-Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
 
  "In Essentialism, Greg McKeown makes a compelling case for achieving more by doing less. He reminds us that clarity of focus and the ability to say ‘no’ are both critical and undervalued in business today."
-Jeff Weiner, ‎CEO, LinkedIn

"While everyone else is still leafing through Lean In or Outliers, get a competitive jump on the new year with....Essentialism... learn how to identify the right things, focus on getting them done, and forget the rest. In other words, 'do less, but better.'” -Forbes


“Essentialism is a powerful antidote to the current craziness that plagues our organizations and our lives.  Read Greg McKeown’s words slowly, stop and think about how to apply them to your life – you will do less, do it better, and begin to feel the insanity start to slip away.” 
- Robert I. Sutton, Professor at Stanford University and author of Good Boss, Bad Boss and Scaling Up Excellence.

In a world of increasing chaos and complexity, the ideas and tools of Essentialism turn chaos into commitment and complexity into accomplishment.  This timely, well written book is a must read and do for any employee, manager, leader, or parent whoever  feels overwhelmed. It is truly the right book at the right time.
- Dave Ulrich, Professor, University of Michigan School of Business and Partner, the RBL Group

"Essentialism is a rare gem that will change lives.  Greg offers deep insights, rich context and actionable steps to living life at its fullest.  I've started on the path to an Essentialist way of life, and the impact on my productivity and well-being is profound."
  -Bill Rielly, Senior Vice President, Intel Security

"In this likeable and astute treatise on the art of doing less in order to do better...McKeown makes the content fresh and the solutions easy to implement. Following his lucid and smart directions will help readers fine "the way of the essentialist" -Success Magazine

"Essentialism will give you richer, sweeter results and put you in real control, giving greater precision to the pursuit of what truly matters.” -Forbes.com 

About the Author

Greg McKeown writes, teaches, and speaks around the world on the importance of living and leading as an Essentialist. He has spoken at companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Salesforce.com, Symantec, and Twitter and is among the most popular bloggers for the Harvard Business Review and LinkedIn Influencer’s group. He co-created the course, Designing Life, Essentially  at Stanford University, was a collaborator of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Multipliers and serves as a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum. He holds an MBA from Stanford University. www.gregmckeown.com

More About the Author

Greg McKeown is the author of "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" (Crown Business, April 2014)and the CEO of THIS Inc., a leadership and strategy design agency headquartered in Silicon Valley. He has taught at companies that include Apple, Google, Facebook, Salesforce.com, Symantec, Twitter and VMware. He was recently named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

He has conducted research in the field of leadership, strategy and why people and teams thrive and why they don't. He is a blogger for Harvard Business Review and the Influencer Network on LinkedIn.

He also collaborated on the writing and research of the Wall Street Journal bestseller "Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter" (Harper Business, June 2010), "Bringing Out the Best in Your People" (Harvard Business Review, May 2010) and "Are You An Accidental Diminisher?" (Ivey Business Journal, August 2010).

Prior to this research and teaching, Greg worked for Heidrick & Struggles' Global Leadership Practice assessing senior executives. His work included being a part of a year long project for Mark Hurd (then CEO of Hewlett Packard) assessing the top 300 executives at HP.

Greg is an active social innovator. He currently serves as a Board Member for the Washington D.C. policy group, Resolve (KONY2012), and as a mentor with 2 Seeds a non-profit incubator for agricultural projects in Africa. And he has been a guest speaker at non-profit groups that have included The Kauffman Fellows, St. Jude and the Minnesota Community Education Association.

Originally from London, England, he now lives in Menlo Park, California with his wife, Anna, and their four children. Greg holds an MBA from Stanford University.

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Customer Reviews

If you want to simplify your life, read this book.
Russell W. Giaimo
It is a simple idea: focus your attention on the most important things, eliminate the nonessential, and you will achieve great success.
Debnance at Readerbuzz
There is great wisdom in this book (many ideas are very powerful).
Jacek Kaute

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 108 people found the following review helpful By j. sistin VINE VOICE on March 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While i like the idea of "helping myself", self-help books have always turned me off. Books i've read seem self indulgent, with the author telling you how awesome they are, all these amazing people they've helped, and how once they share their secret with you everything is going to change, blah blah blah.

maybe it just happened to find me at the right time in my own journey, but i loved this book. It talks in a very clear and straightforward manner about how to simplify your life, your thinking, and your purpose to cut out all the extraneous "stuff" that continually distracts us and focus in on what's really important. People and things (like email!) continual to swirl around us, competing for our attention. When we let them have our attention without being thoughtful, they fill up your life instead of YOU filling up your life and deciding for yourself what your priorities are. It also makes the very commonsense point that when we have 15 different priorities, we have no priorities!

Read this book. I felt like it was a great use of time, it had a lot of important things to say, and it was concise in how it said it.
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94 of 101 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Keefer TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Doing more by doing less is a seductive concept. But is it possible? Yes, says this how-to manual on essentialism. The formula for doing more by doing less is to discern what is absolutely essential, eliminate the rest, and get those things done with as little effort as possible writes author Greg McKeown. McKeown is CEO of a strategy company in Silicon Valley, co-created a course at Stanford titled "Designing Life, Essentially" and speaks at companies including Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Salesforce, and LinkedIn.

This book may not be for everybody. If your life is manageable, filled with satisfying activities, and you're progressing at the pace you want, you may not need this book. But for those who feel overloaded, distracted, stuck in the mire of doing a lot but not progressing on what matters to you, you might find it of interest. Although there are time and life management books by Stephen Covey, Brian Tracey, Julia Morgenstern, David Allen etc., this book approaches life management from a fresh angle: essentialism. It is filled with contemporary examples which are relevant in 2014.

Four E's constitute the process of essentialism says McKeown: Essence, Explore, Eliminate and Execute. The goal is to do less, but better writes McKeown. It's a disciplined pursuit of less he writes. "If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will," McKeown says. He recommends asking yourself continually: "Is this the very most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?" Or, to discern what is essential to you, how about this question: "If you could do one thing with your life right now, what would it be?" The aim is to live by design, not default. You practice distinguishing between the trivial many and the vital few.
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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Paul Cassel VINE VOICE on April 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The theme of this book is to simplify your life. Books or self improvement lectures along this theme are hardly new or rare. The slight twist here is that rather than the material, the author ignores possessions and instead concentrates on tasks.

Initially the author goes on about how busy people often don't get that much done because they are distracted by unimportant tasks impeding their work on vital tasks by being distractions. This harks back to advice to separate your work into urgent, non-urgent, important and non-important - advice many have heard before.

The book, as these often are, is anecdotal. In most books, anecdotal tales consist of anonymous and probably apocryphal, such as, "Lisa S came into my office carrying her saxophone. She denied to me she had her sax with her which confirmed my diagnosis that she was musically delusional" and so forth.

Here, the tales are almost always attributed to not only an identifiable person, but one who is at least slightly a public figure - usually a player in the tech industry. The author clearly thinks we'll be impressed not only that he knows these folks but that their having simplified their lives will impress us to follow suit.

At several points, the author shows how employees, in an effort to become an 'essentialist' (the goal here) tells their boss something like, "No, I won't do as you say because I want to finish what I'm working on". This defiance, the author tells us, earned the respect of that boss with no adversity or blow back. I think that rather optimistic outside of the high tech Bentley / BMW / Audi / Benz circles this author seems to orbit about within.

The gist of the book is about 20 pages.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Book Fanatic TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is only one reason I'm giving this book less than 5 stars - it was too long. Other than that it is outstanding. This book is 246 pages, but the book is not full sized, there are a lot of graphics, etc. so it is not dense. I read it in one day. It is a fairly quick read and yet despite that I did feel that given its message (eliminate everything but the essential) it was just a bit too wordy. I'm only knocking off 1/2 of a star though.

On the other hand the content is right on and excellent - especially the earlier parts of the book. There is something called Sturgeon's law that says 90% of anything is crap. I think this is true in life and work and relationships and everything else. There is the Pareto Principle that says 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort or people (aka the 80/20 rule). The whole idea is to cut commitments, say no, ruthlessly eliminate everything that is not essential and focus your effort on what remains. This is clearly a very oversimplified description - thus you need to read the book. I thought it was inspiring and contains numerous insights.

Highly recommended.
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