Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less

(#Ad) Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin? Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized? Are you often busy but not productive? Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.

The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.

By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy — instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.

Essentialism is not one more thing — it’s a whole new way of doing everything. A must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to learn who to do less, but better, in every area of their lives, Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.” (from Goodreads)

Top 60 Best Quotes from “Essentialism

“The way of the Essentialist is the relentless pursuit of less but better.” -― Greg Mckeown

“Psychologists call this “decision fatigue”: the more choices we are forced to make, the more the quality of our decisions deteriorates.” -― Greg Mckeown

“Studies have found that we tend to value things we already own more highly than they are worth and thus we find them more difficult to get rid of.” -― Greg Mckeown

“Working hard is important.  But more effort does not necessarily yield more results. “Less but better” does.” – ― Greg Mckeown

“One wrong hire is far costlier than being one person short.” – ― Greg Mckeown

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die.  And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” Mahatma Gandhi – ― Greg Mckeown

“If we have no clear sense of the opportunity cost — in other words, the value of what we’re giving up — then it is especially easy to fall into the nonessential trap of telling ourselves we can get it all done.” ― Greg Mckeown

“To attain knowledge add things every day.  To attain wisdom subtract things every day.” Lao Tzu – ― Greg Mckeown

“Pausing for just five seconds before offering your services can greatly reduce the possibility of making a commitment you’ll regret.” ― Greg Mckeown

“Motivation and cooperation deteriorate when there is a lack of purpose” ― Greg Mckeown

“The way of the Essentialist rejects the idea that we can fit it all in. Instead, it requires us to grapple with real trade-offs and make tough decisions.” ― Greg Mckeown

“We live in a world where almost everything is worthless and a very few things are exceptionally valuable.” ― Greg Mckeown

“To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep, and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we make.” ― Greg Mckeown

“Rather than try to fly to every destination, Southwest Airlines deliberately chose to offer only point-to-point flights. Instead of jacking up prices to cover the cost of meals, they decided they would serve none. Instead of assigning seats in advance, they let people choose them as they got on the plane. Instead of upselling their passengers on glitzy first-class service, they offered only economy.” ― Greg Mckeown

“When there is a serious lack of clarity about what the team stands for and what their goals and roles are, people experience confusion, stress, and frustration.”― Greg Mckeown

“The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves.” ― Greg Mckeown

“Instead of focusing on the efforts and resources we need to add, the Essentialist focuses on the constraints or obstacles we need to remove.” ― Greg Mckeown

“Essentialists accept the reality that we can never fully anticipate or prepare for every scenario or eventuality; the future is simply too unpredictable. Instead, they build in buffers to reduce the friction caused by the unexpected.” ― Greg Mckeown

“Instead of trying to accomplish it all — and all at once — and flaring out, the Essentialist starts small and celebrates progress. Instead of going for the big, flashy wins that don’t really matter, the Essentialist pursues small and simple wins in areas that are essential.” ― Greg Mckeown

“Multi-tasking itself is not the enemy of Essentialism; pretending we can ‘multi-focus’ is.” ― Greg Mckeown

“In many ways, to live as an Essentialist in our too-many-things-all-the-time society is an act of quiet revolution.” ― Greg Mckeown

“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” ― Greg Mckeown

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” ― Greg Mckeown

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” ― Greg McKeown

“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?” ― Greg McKeown

“Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?” ― Greg McKeown

“There should be no shame in admitting to a mistake; after all, we really are only admitting that we are now wiser than we once were.” ― Greg McKeown

“If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.” ― Greg McKeown

“Today, technology has lowered the barrier for others to share their opinion about what we should be focusing on. It is not just information overload; it is opinion overload.” ― Greg McKeown

“Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.” ― Greg McKeown

“We overvalue nonessentials like a nicer car or house, or even intangibles like the number of our followers on Twitter or the way we look in our Facebook photos. As a result, we neglect activities that are truly essential, like spending time with our loved ones, or nurturing our spirit, or taking care of our health.” ― Greg McKeown

“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.” ― Greg McKeown

“Just because I was invited didn’t seem a good enough reason to attend.” ― Greg McKeown

“What do I feel deeply inspired by?” and “What am I particularly talented at?” and “What meets a significant need in the world?” ― Greg McKeown

“the killer question: “If I didn’t already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?” ― Greg McKeown

(#Ad) Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

“We can either make our choices deliberately or allow other people’s agendas to control our lives.” ― Greg McKeown

“Sleep will enhance your ability to explore, make connections, and do less but better throughout your waking hours.” ― Greg McKeown

“A popular idea in Silicon Valley is “Done is better than perfect.” ― Greg McKeown

“NO IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE. —Anne Lamott” ― Greg Mckeown

“Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.” ― Greg McKeown

“The reality is, saying yes to any opportunity by definition requires saying no to several others.” ― Greg McKeown

“We often think of choice as a thing. But a choice is not a thing. Our options may be things, but a choice—a choice is an action. It is not just something we have but something we do.” ― Greg Mckeown

“the pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure. Put another way, success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.” ― Greg McKeown

“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.” ― Greg McKeown

“What if society stopped telling us to buy more stuff and instead allowed us to create more space to breathe and think? What if society encouraged us to reject what has been accurately described as doing things we detest, to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like?” ― Greg McKeown


“It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” ― Greg McKeown

“When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless. Drip by drip we allow our power to be taken away until we end up becoming a function of other people’s choices—or even a function of our own past choices. In turn, we surrender our power to choose. That is the path of the Nonessentialist. The Essentialist doesn’t just recognize the power of choice, he celebrates it. The Essentialist knows that when we surrender our right to choose, we give others not just the power but also the explicit permission to choose for us.” ― Greg McKeown

“two most personal learnings that have come to me on the long journey of writing this book. The first is the exquisitely important role of my family in my life. At the very, very end, everything else will fade into insignificance by comparison. The second is the pathetically tiny amount of time we have left of our lives. For me this is not a depressing thought but a thrilling one. It removes fear of choosing the wrong thing. It infuses courage into my bones. It challenges me to be even more unreasonably selective about how to use this precious – and precious is perhaps too insipid a word – time.” ― Greg McKeown

“You can do anything but not everything” ― Greg McKeown

“…the faster and busier things get, the more we need to build thinking time into our schedule. And the noisier things get, the more we need to build quiet reflection spaces in which we can truly focus.” ― Greg McKeown

“A non-Essentialist thinks almost everything is essential. An Essentialist thinks almost everything is non-essential.” ― Greg McKeown

“Once an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last twelve weeks of their lives, recorded their most often discussed regrets. At the top of the list: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” This requires, not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials, and not just getting rid of the obvious time wasters, but cutting out some really good opportunities as well.” ― Greg McKeown

“when people make their problem our problem, we aren’t helping them; we’re enabling them.” ― Greg McKeown

“We need to learn the slow ‘yes’ and the quick ‘no.” ― Greg McKeown

“When you say yes to something nonessential, you are saying no to something essential” ― Greg McKeown

“The word school is derived from the Greek word schole, meaning “leisure.” Yet our modern school system, born in the Industrial Revolution, has removed the leisure—and much of the pleasure—out of learning.” ― Greg McKeown



“Don’t ask, “How will I feel if I miss out on this opportunity?” but rather, “If I did not have this opportunity, how much would I be willing to sacrifice in order to obtain it?” ― Greg McKeown

(#Ad) Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


Greg McKeown is the author of t (#AD) Effortless: Make It Easy to Get the Right Things Done, and  (#Ad) Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, which hit The New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than a million copies. He is also a speaker and the host of the popular podcast What’s Essential.

Greg has been covered by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Fast Company, Fortune, Politico, and Inc., has been interviewed by NPR, NBC, Fox, and The Steve Harvey Show, and is among the most popular bloggers for LinkedIn. He is also a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum. Originally from London, England, he now resides in California with his wife, Anna, and their four children. He is a Bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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