1-1-1 Book Review: Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

June 26th, 2014 Karine Joly 4 Comments

Are you sure that more is better?

I’m fascinated by the world of possibilities we live in – so exciting, so exhilariting and so… exhausting.

As I admitted last summer in my book review of Barry Schwartz’s classic book: The Paradox of Choice, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by all the objectives, the data, the platforms, the options and even the mere possibilities in my daily work for some time now.

And, I know I’m not the only one.

EssentialismThat’s why I decided to buy Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, after watching the 1-hour-long talk he gave at LinkedIn last month.

So, here’s my 1-1-1 Express Book Review of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

1 thing (well, technically 2 things) I liked

I loved this book. It’s been chicken soup (and I mean it in the best possible way) for my brain that was badly bruised with the constant and now collective pursuit of more.

I loved this book, because it gave me the confirmation that I wasn’t the only one struggling to keep up, on the contrary, AND a very practical framework to strive for essentialism.

I loved this book, because it acted as the perfect catalyst to make the decision to stop, pause and take the time to focus on the essential. It sounds kind of cheesy said like this, but I’ve decided to use “Less, but better” as my new guiding principle as a result.

The inclusion of many visuals and really big bold pull out quotes sprinkled throughout the book also makes it the best designed business book I’ve ever read. It’s definitely a book desgined for today’s busy and attention-deprived reader.

1 thing I didn’t like too much

When I love a book that much, it’s always super difficult to comply with this section of my 1-1-1 book review format.

In this case, I’d say that it might be more challenging to apply some parts of the framework presented in the book for people who don’t have as much latitude in their choices as CEOs, managers, entrepreneurs or freelancers. I guess, the author would probably interjects that sacrifices have to be made to reap the benefits of essentialism.

1 big take-away from the book

This one might sounds really simple, but it’s been so useful to regain clarity when it’s needed:

“If it’s not a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.”


Watch Greg McKeown in this video interview!

Produced by Stanford Graduate School of Business, it’s 5-minute long and will give you a good idea of McKeown’s message.

Want more suggestions for your summer readings?

Check out all my 1-1-1 book reviews.

4 Responses

  1. […] more about McKeown’s book, I recommend you read these reviews by Karine Joly — who recommended I read Essentialism — and Donna Talarico, who has also chronicled […]

  2. […] Careaga said here; he compared the concepts to Guy Kawasaki’s ‘enchanting yes’. Karine Joly’s review is here; her write-up is what inspired a few of my Twitter pals to read […]

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