New York: Currency, 2014.
274 pp. $12.99 (Kindle).
Is there never enough time in the day to do everything you need to get done? Does chasing your dreams lead to neglecting other important areas of your life? Or does splitting your time between multiple goals keep you from making significant progress on any particular one?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, the solution, according to Greg McKeown, is a way of life he calls Essentialism. In his book Essentialism, he describes this way of life as the disciplined pursuit of fewer but better options. He explains:
The way of the Essentialist isn’t about setting New Year’s resolutions to say “no” more, or about pruning your in-box, or about mastering some new strategy in time management. It is about pausing constantly to ask, “Am I investing in the right activities?” There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in. And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital. The way of the Essentialist involves learning to tell the difference—learning to filter through all those options and selecting only those that are truly essential. (loc. 94–101)
McKeown holds that the way of the Essentialist is more fulfilling and leads to more success. But to travel this path, we must overcome resistance. According to McKeown, we must dispel three widely held yet faulty assumptions: “‘I have to,’ ‘It’s all important,’ and ‘I can do both’” (loc. 348). . . .