Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

  • Essentialism: less but better
  • Life is essentially trade offs. We need to recognize this and make the trade offs
  • We need to set aside time to just think...bill gates takes 1 week a year to just think and read
  • Goal: spend first 30 minutes of everyday just reading classic literature (bible, Walden, meditations, etc) (70)
  • Journal daily (less but better) and take time every 90 days to re read it and focus on the big patterns
  • Play is essential in sparking creativity because it broadens our options, relieves stress, and improves the executive function of your brains (87)
  • Protect the asset (yourself): get enough sleep
  • 90% rule: if you would rate a choice lower than 90%, automatically reject it (105)

    • Say yes to only the top 10% of opportunities

    • Criteria should be selective and explicit

    • If it isn't a clear yes, it's a clear no

  • To say "no" to a request at work, say "yes, what should I deprioritize?"
  • Biases that hurt essentialism:

    • Sunk cost bias



      • Solution: admit failure and move on



    • Endowment effect - over value things we own and under value things we don't



      • Solution: flip your perspective and ask what you would be willing to sacrifice for something rather than how you value it



  • Reverse Pilot: just try getting rid of something nonessential in your life for a time and see if you/otters really notice/care (154)
  • Setting boundaries (such as with work/life Balance or morality) is important and the first time we make an exception they can come crashing down (165)
  • Buffers: plan ahead so that you can absorb the unforeseen but inevitable bumps in the road (178)

    • Jordan's pessimism can help my optimism in this way by preparing for what might go wrong

  • Focus on small wins and continually making progress: progress is one of the most important forms of motivation
  • To limit screen time, give the kids 10 tokens at the beginning of the week. Each token is worth 30 min of screen time or $.50. The kids can spend their tokens on screen time or save them for money at the end of the week. Every 30 min of reading is an extra token they can earn. Source, essentialism page 198
  • Make a routine to enshrine the essential (206)
  • To change habits, we need to focus on the cue and use that as a trigger for the desired habit (210)
  • WIN - What's important now? Spend your energy on the present, not obsessing over past failures or wording about future problems (215)