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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Have you ever found yourself struggling with information overload? 

Have you ever felt both overworked and underutilised? 

Do you ever feel busy but not productive? 

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is to become an essentialist. 

In Essentialism, Greg McKeown, CEO of a leadership and strategy agency in Silicon Valley who has run courses at Apple, Google and Facebook, shows you how to achieve what he calls the disciplined pursuit of less. Being an essentialist is about a disciplined way of thinking. It means challenging the core assumptions of "we can have it all" and "I have to do everything" and replacing them with the pursuit of "the right thing in the right way at the right time". 

By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter. 

Using the experience and insight of working with the leaders of the most innovative companies and organisations in the world, McKeown shows you how to put Essentialism into practice in your own life, so you, too, can achieve something great. 

©2015 Greg McKeown (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks

What listeners say about Essentialism

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First audio book I've finished since joining :)

Love this book, simple to follow. Case studies were very helpful. Worth the daily habit! I will no doubt listen again and again. First book I have finished and felt was worth the money!

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I don't usually write reviews.

This book probably made me feel more guilt than anything. After so many years in business, working for myself, I have realised where I have gone wrong. Trying to please too many people and reducing the quality of myself to the ones I care most about. The pursute of 'less but better' at home and work will be my goal. Wasting time and effort on meaningless things and time-wasting people or meetings will now stop and quality time with my family, by reducing the nonsense we convince ourselves we need in our working environment will now become my main driver. Thank you Greg.

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Repetitive

Contains some good sound advice although ironically, I think this could have been put in maybe half the chapters.

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Essential reading for me right now

I have had this book for a while and finally decided to read it over Easter - it was the right book at the right time. I listened to it over a couple of very long bus rides with no interruptions, no distractions and my head in the right space. I found the many essentialist vs non-essentialist examples extremely useful - mainly to bring the learnings of the anecdotes from, mainly, famous and successful people to the everyday decisions we have to make. This is a book I've annotated and would come back to listen to again at various intervals to see how I'm doing. Also enjoyed the reader's voice - easy listen.

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Not a bad book

The book does have an interesting narrative. The overall idea is simple, achievable and useful.

On the other hand - this book is a hammer and most of the best literature on the subject is all nails. I've heard most of the common ideas with an "essentialist" attached to them.

Also there is a lot of introduction and a lot of "an essentialist does X". The really useful material is pretty humble.

Overall, this book is good for self-development "beginners" since they'll be learning the most. It would be amazing for them to read the original works mentioned, but this is a good starting point.

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One of the smartest books Ever!

I always like a book that is read by the author - it gives an even greater insight to the knowledge they are sharing.
There are so many highlights within this book that I could share - however I couldn't do it justice. If you want a guide to working smart where you are given deep insights to the psychology why in a way that isnt preaching - but is real - then this is the book for you.
Im about to listen to it again as there were so many 'nuggets' within the pages.

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Good but NOT Extraordinary

Any additional comments?

It has been a fairly good listen. There were no extraordinary revelations but still the book was engaging with sporadic new insights about how to do few yet more productive and effective things. The book describes in a very consistent way as how to eliminate noise from our routine life.The book has very useful insights for someone who has not, for example, read Eat that frog or 7 habits types of books. But if your have read any of these two books you can skip this one easily.

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  • KG
  • 12-03-16

Great reminder of the importance of focus

Well researched, with interesting stories used to illustrate the point. Very easy to digest, spoken clearly at a good pace.

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Simple and Effective

Very few books have such a lasting impact. The author of this one also cited many other useful books as well as historians.

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It doesn't disappoint, 5 stars all round!

Having heard so much about this book I was overjoyed to find that it doesn't disappoint. Stories, experiences and easy takeaway make this book easily one of my top 3 and it's only just May!! It goes deep and wide all at the same time leaving me both thoughtful and motivated to fully live the life of an essentialist.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ian C.
  • 29-08-18

MY FAVORITE BOOK

Life changing! I would consider this book a must read for every single human. Especially considering we live in a society filled with distractions.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Marcellus
  • 16-11-17

A must read for Simplicity Seekers

If you desire an extraordinary life, seek simplicity. If you don't know where to start, read (or listen) to this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-02-20

Loved it

A must read if you want clarity in your business and home life. Thank you

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-01-20

A must read for Type As

I really needed to hear this. I couldn’t stop I don’t think I have ever got through a book so quickly and am about to listen again and use the essentialist method to clean my closet this weekend and next week my life. I am so glad I stumbled upon this, hopefully before it’s too late.

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  • jensgud
  • 24-02-19

This is it!!!

If I had to choose one self help book, this is the one. A lifetime of practice starts today.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sunil Kumar Singh
  • 02-06-22

Less is more

It is not a new concept but the writer has taken great pain to explain its true meaning. He has quoted mostly from his own experience of dealing with great leaders as well as the result of his practice on himself.
He has explained the process and corrective measures to achieve essentialism. And at last it is not like a magic; one day affair, but an arduous repeated attempt to reach the goal. His candid admission that he too sometimes fall in trap of nonessentialism is highly encouraging to the starter. Overall it’s a great book with spending time.

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  • Alexandre Regattieri Bessa
  • 11-05-22

A Must Have for Marketing People

While I was driving to my folks house in the countryside this weekend, I started listening to Essentialism (Greg McKeown). A few directors on my company mentioned this book in. After listening to a few chapters I believe it might change the way I think of priorities. BTW, in the book the author tells the story of the word "priority" that had only a singular form until the 19th-20th century - then the modern world allowed "a priority" to become "priorities" and to have a few more items. Isn't that funny?

It's all about learning how to do a few great things and understanding the power of trade-offs to avoid doing a lot of small things that wouldn't add up value to the company (or to your life).

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-02-22

Best Book Period

It's the best book, best arguments, best sources, best facts, best way to live life

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  • Tomasf
  • 30-09-21

Very useful but a little hard work

The overall advice here is very good, useful and clearly articulated. It has really helped shift my own thinking in productive directions. My main quibble is the lack of warmth and humour both in the writing and the author’s delivery. It’s all just a bit relentless. Warmth and humour are not ‘inessential’, as a university lecturer I know that they are essential for making learning engaging and memorable. In the absence of this it’s all just a bit serious all the points are delivered as if they are VERY IMPORTANT the whole time. This meant I listened in small doses to make it less stressful and more enjoyable. Also, a side point, as an academic, I work in teams where lots of people follow Greg’s advice and are very focussed on their own work to the exclusion of anything that isn’t their research. They make for poor colleagues. I realise he has some caveats to his argument, but I do wonder about what it means when everyone doesn’t take on stuff that isn’t core to their life’s purpose, my experience is that this makes them harder to work with for collective goals for the organisation. Just a thought.

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  • Wired On Development
  • 14-06-21

Pity the author doesn’t take his own advice

I’m sure there were some excellent nuggets in this book but the repetition and poorly delivered mission to create an Essentialist movement (I’m guessing) made it hard to wade through the self-righteous noise. The important points could have been condensed into an essential few ideas & action points. In addition the author identified every ideal human behaviour from being punctual to planning ahead & living a healthy life as a sign of being the coveted ‘Essentialist’. Eugh - I wanted to get through it to hear the essential points but eventually had to concede that the sunk-cost effort didn’t outweigh the irritation.