A Book Review of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Author Greg McKeown
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
by: Katie Jo Keeling, Managing Partner, McCarthy & Holthus

Section: WILLed Q2 2017 (Please click on article title to read full article)

A friend of mine from college who I admire as a leader in his industry recommended the book "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeown in a recent interview that he gave. He spoke of a new measure of success that really struck a chord with me --that of being "time affluent." I was intrigued and decided to read this book to see if it offered more than tips on how to reduce clutter in my closet, and I was not disappointed.
"Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" is the best business book I've read in recent years, and I've read some renown titles, including “The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox and “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't” by Jim Collins, which are generally considered the best of the best when it comes to literature on how to be an effective leader.
“…[T]he way of the Essentialist isn’t just about success, it’s’ about living a life of meaning and purpose. When we look back on our careers and our lives, would we rather see a long laundry list of “accomplishments” that don’t really matter or just a few major accomplishments that have real meaning and significance?”
The significance of this book is that it recognizes the reality that careers do not unfold in a vacuum--they are a part of someone's life, as opposed to being someone’s ENTIRE life. McKeown offers real-world guidance on how to do "less but better" by determining your highest level of contribution and focusing on that alone. It is not something "to do," but rather, a way "to be." It highlights with specificity the things to do at work to accomplish more, to be a better leader, and to garner respect in a way that doesn’t require sacrifice of the things that are most important to you. It promises more clarity, more control, and more joy in the journey.
“…[T]he way of the Essentialist isn’t just about success, it’s’ about living a life of meaning and purpose.

The book challenges you to step back and to be very thoughtful and deliberate in how you spend your time, both at work and at home because “[I]f you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” In a world where everyone is over scheduled and overtired, this book provides a refreshing and practical framework for which to approach life with all of its demands.
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