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The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results Hardcover – April 1, 2013
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About the Author
Gary Keller is chairman of the board and cofounder of Keller Williams Realty, Inc., which holds the #1 position as the largest real estate company in the world. His New York Times bestselling books have sold more than 2,000,000 copies.
Jay Papasan, a former editor at HarperCollins Publishers in New York, coauthors Gary’s books and is Vice President of Publishing at Keller Williams. He’s a frequent event speaker and corporate trainer.
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Another aspect of business books is their audience. Are they written for a specific group or a general public? Are they preaching to an already converted choir to confirm their preconceived notions or are they offering fresh insights and trying to broaden the horizons of readers?
This book is authored by the very successful founder of one of the nation's great realtors, Keller-Williams. Gary Keller is targeting those business folks who want to find single minded success - the kinds of self-sacrificing, dedicated, and single-minded people he wants to hire and who will make themselves (and him) a great deal of money. "The One Thing" is based on the statement by Curly in "City Slickers". Of course, Keller adapts it to his purposes. Keller believes in focus, utter dedication to your one thing, and driving to breakthrough barriers to get to your one big purpose. Some might call it obsession. He is not a big believer work life balance - he actually rejects it and calls it a lie.
The book has a couple of interesting printing twists to it as well. For example, the key ideas are printed in red inserts. But the coolest thing is that he has pre-marked the book for you. In other words, the key ideas are underlined in what looks like pencil - as if a previous reader had done it for you. But the pencil marks are printed in. But they don't look like printed underlines, they look like pencil.
I am positive this book can and will work well for its target audience. When I was a younger man, I am sure I would have taken to it like a duck to water or like fire to gasoline. Everything he says here will work if you apply it.
Just remember that everything has a cost. Every success (and every failure) has a price. Nothing comes for free.
In my own view of life, business success and work are important AS A MEANS TO SOMETHING MORE IN LIFE. In my case, I believe first and foremost in family. I hear any number of executives talk about this as they are on their third marriage and fathering their own grandkids. Remember this kind of talk is cheap. Living real life is hard. What's that old saying? "You pays your money and you takes your chances." There is a lot of benefit that comes from having succeeded and getting the space and time that comes from financial success. But it is space and time to do something meaningful and worthwhile. Business success as an END in life is a poor thing. Money as an end is empty.
All your work will be superseded. All the homes you sell will be sold again (or torn down). Your office (or cubicle) will be filled by others. You will be replaced and forgotten by co-workers. But not by your spouse and kids (and grandkids).
So, work hard. Be focused. Have a furious purpose. But make sure it is in service to something actually worthwhile or at the end of it all you will find yourself looking around for the satisfaction and meaning you thought you would find there and discover that you are standing all alone with a pile of cash in a big home with a shiny car - and not much else.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, Michigan.
Simplicity recognizes the important thing while ignoring the trivial things. Simplicity makes you more efficient and more effective simultaneously.
The One Thing by Gary Keller is a quick overview of simplicity. Keller is the founder of one of the largest real estate companies in the world and the author of several successful books. Keller draws on his profitable experience and shares his simple secret to success.
The One Thing has an inspiring message, but as a whole the book feels like a long speech by a motivational speaker. The book lacks interesting anecdotes that could really bolster Keller's message. The pages contain curious graphs however none are based on any real numbers just ideas. And it gets a little annoying that the author has pre-underlined parts of the book, that doesn't really give me the opportunity to have the book speak to me.
Keller has a good message: focus on the one thing and everything else falls into place. I am not sure if a whole book was necessary, but the message can definitely perk you up. It's sort of like soda, it tastes really sweet, it gets you caffeinated and pumped up but the feeling doesn't last long because there was no real nutrition to sustain you.
It starts out with "Six Lies", their "truthiness" soundly defeated under the heavy blows of (recycled) research. Then moves on to the "Truth", the focusing question. There is a big-picture and a small-focus question. This then turned into a habit, promptly focused onto seven areas of life. Surprisingly then we have to look for others to set up a benchmark and follow trending. Then we move from icebergs to dominoes, to arrive to "The Three Commitments" and to "The Four Thieves". Then there will be success.
I feel that most of us promptly will run into the following problem. Not being the chairman of the board of a multimillion dollar company, we will have a hard time to create a four hour-a-day blocked time segment to pursue our ONE Thing. Then of course we have other areas of our lives with their own little ONE things.
The book is a pretty little thing, well designed with cute graphics, colored quotes, great feel...yet it just feels amiss. Somehow it feels as the brainchild of a very succesful businessman, who is unable to truly relate to others in other profession in other stages of their careers. It is also somewhat contradictory. The author himself admits that he went through stages of different life/career philosophies as he built his own business. He then lost his way to find THE truth that eventually allowed him to find peace and balance (excuse me, balancing). That is, if I build an empire, with blood, sweat and tears (and luck; do not forget THAT real estate boom that ended with a BANG!) once I am on the top, it is easy to look back with a hindsight bias. There is precious little proof that following his own book's advice he would be where he is right now. I would go as far as to offer a reward to the readers; follow this advice, succeed, then I can use your story as proof that this and only this system rewarded you with success. ONE thing somehow implies over-specializing and this, just like in investment increases risk exponentionally. No Bill Gates, no Steve Jobs, no Mark Zuckerberg got to be known pursuing ONE Thing.
I think Gary Keller will do much better if he writes an autobiography instead of trying to be a self-help guru. He obviously has a truly fascinating life story to tell, but unfortunately not much wisdom to teach.
UPDATE 06/17/13: I took off one additional star for the following reason; the core tenet of the book is a little too similar to an advice that could be read in Brian Tracy's "Eat That Frog!".
Most recent customer reviews
When feeling overwhelmed, this book helps to sort things out.