Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less [Book Review]

 

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

By Greg McKeown

Kindle Edition, 274 pages

Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Read from October 30 to 31, 2015

My Rating: 4/4 stars

 

This book was a fast read for me. The good thing is that it made me feel less anxious and less stressed. It reminded me that I have the power to choose what I want to do with my time and my life. And that I don’t need to let others dictate/influence my schedule and my to-do list. Because as Greg McKeown advises us in the book:

“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”

― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

It has taught me that the most important question to ask is: “What is really essential to me?”. The rest can simply be thrown away. But that’s no simple task because we usually hang on to a pletora of things without knowing which of them are truly essential. He has a nice definition o the term Essentialism:

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Now, reading the book made me wonder: is there a conflit between “Essentialism” and “Minimalism”? After reading it and remembering other authors, I think there isn’t any conflit because the path of the essentialist is very similar, identical even, to one of the minimalist, and as the famous minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus wrote in their blog: “Call it whatever you want: no matter which –ism you prefer, the only thing that matters is that it helps you live with intention.”

And the author discusses the “consumerism” that has dominated our society:

“What if society stopped telling us to buy more stuff and instead allowed us to create more space to breathe and think? What if society encouraged us to reject what has been accurately described as doing things we detest, to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like?”― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Also, the author emphasized the importance of keeping a journal. It helps us put things in perspective and after a while we can revisit the entries to figure out the bigger picture and understand worries and figure out the essential purpose of our lives. And to make it a habit, it doesn’t need to be long or complicated, you just have to write down whatever and how much you feel like in the moment.

Overall it was a good read that matched my personal psychological needs at the moment (Personally, I was going through some troubled week in my life).
I was reminded of the importance of saying “No” to almost everything that pops up in our lives, and there’s nothing to feel guilty about, because:

“The overwhelming reality is: we live in a world where almost everything is worthless and a very few things are exceptionally valuable. As John Maxwell has written, “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”
― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

It was inspiring and made me think over my current approach to life. I definitely want to start walking towards an essentialist path.

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