Essentialism: Greg McKeown


This book was written at the perfect time. It was published in 2014, right when minimalism started to make a name for itself. Essentialism (as described by Greg Mckeown) is minimalism revisited. It's the "relentless pursuit of less but better."

It's easy to say "do what you enjoy" and "be present," but essentialism has a way of helping you decide what your priorities really are then creating a plan to not deviate from them. Much like minimalism, it's about investing a little up front (time, energy, money, effort) in order to set yourself up for success later. Then keeping the good and eliminating the bad.

There are a few reasons why I particularly enjoyed this read:

1) Dealing with technology. This is a sensitive subject for me. I love minimalism and I believe that technology plays an integral role in simplifying my life. However, for nearly 10 years technology has promised to make our lives easier and we are still waiting for that promise to be fulfilled. Ebooks now cost the same amount as regular books. At any given time, most office workers (especially those in software) have at least 5-10 different messaging applications open on their monitors. We haven't found spare time, we have only discovered more effective ways to waste time. And the list goes on. The lesson is this: technology will continue to advance, but what about us? What about our will-power? What about our ability to prioritize? Because if you don't prioritize your life, someone else will. And that's when we become slaves to technology. 

2) Dealing with decision fatigue. One of the reasons we aren't where we want to be is because by the time 10:00 am rolls around we have already made so many "urgent decisions" that we fall victim to doing what everybody else decides for us. From what you eat to what you wear to what you read, eliminate the non-essential and make sure you love and are truly passionate about "all that remains."

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

There's no such thing as "being too busy." It's a myth. When people say they are too busy, they merely haven't learned how to say no to the things that don't matter and yes to the things that do. It's a skill. Something you can learn. And certainly something you can learn from a diligent study of Essentialism.