Anyone here read this book "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less"?


I am extremely intrigued by this book I am reading: “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown.

Whereas methodologies like GTD and tools like GTDNext seem to be a way of juggling shifting priorities and being efficient about what you take on and getting through it better. Greg McKeown has a radically different take on efficiency. He asks us to actually take on LESS.

McKeown asks us to take on less, MUCH less in a very deliberate, disciplined way. And that by doing so we will regain control of our health, well-being and happiness.

The core idea behind this is that most of what we are asked to do is BS and that we can actually achieve a lot more by taking on a lot less. McKeown says that it’s extremely easy for our efforts to become spread way, way too thin, leading to stress, burn-out because we feel that we all need to “do everything”. He claims that clarity of focus and the ability to say ‘no’ are both critical and undervalued in business and life in general today.

Fwiw, Michael Hyatt - (productivity guru - he of 250K twitt followers) said “it is the best book he’s read in the last 5 years”

Have any of you good people here read it? If so what do you make of it?


Sounds like a good book. No, I haven’t read it, but perhaps I will. Is sounds a bit similar to Covey.

Interesting. I actually remember reading that blog post from Michael. I have added this book to my reading list. (In GTDNext, of course!)

It seems like, even if you do take on less (which sounds great to me BTW) you still need a way to capture those commitments, process, review and do them. Your GTD process is still needed. Was your take that his ideas area still compatible with GTD? Or does he actually suggest an approach that doesn’t work with GTD?

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Looks like a great way to empty inbox, not to get rid of GTD. Regards!

Have not read that book, so I can’t be of help on the discussion. Thanks for posting though as I’ll add it to my list. I’m currently focused on this topic of “less”. It’s one of the topics discussed in Simplify by Bill Hybels which I am enjoying and reading/working through now.

As I understand it, a key principle with the Allen GTD approach is to empty ones head of all the things that need to be done, or that you might thing you want to do. In so doing, you are creating space to think creatively and get to that minimalist state, or essentialist state of mind.

You don’t have to do everything on the lists, and that is the reason for the “someday” category. The lists and other notes are sort of a purge of ideas, tasks, etc. Some of which might speed up getting to essentialism.

Marie Kondo’s best selling minimalist approach to keeping in your home only the things that “spark joy” could probably be applied here. With all the ideas and tasks, “does it spark joy” in your life. It might be hard to say with some of the essential personal and work tasks that we must do. But if put into context for our overall lifestyle & goals, and properly applied, this might be another way to narrow things down a bit of what we really need to be doing and thinking about.

I am personally finding the GTDNext app to be the most useful tool I have, and I have tried many. For me the outline approach, combined with the GTD discipline is leading to some real productivity gains. Now where was I? :smile:

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