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Essentialism: Book Review 1/4

Essentialism: Book Review 1/4

The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less

Life By Design: Less Is Better

Essentialism: written by Greg Mckowen. This is one of the most important books I’ve read. It serves to remind us to distill the few vital things and take action on our unique purpose in life. It assists us in identifying what all the trivial distractions are and encourages us to eliminate them. It’s brought a lot of value to my life and I believe it will do the same for you.

Scroll down to see how you can support me in continuing to elevate this show. Keep going to follow the episode timeline and to read some of the book transcriptions. Get all the way down for all the videos, shareable enhanced excerpts, reference links, resources, featured musical artist, and more.

Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?

Do you sometimes feel overworked and underutilized?

Do you feel motion sickness instead of momentum?

Does your day sometimes get hijacked by someone else’s agenda?

Have you ever said “yes” simply to please and then resented it?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.

This is the antidote to the undisciplined pursuit of more


0:00 - Prologue

2:35 - Important Announcements: Listener Support

6:57 - Claim your FREE audiobook

9:25 - The Essentialist

10:44 - The Way of the Essentialist

12:10 - Too Many Choices

13:00 - The Idea That “You Can Have It All”

17:43 - A Road Map

19:26 - An Idea Whose Time Has Come

22:40 - The Invisible Power Of Choice

24:10 - The Unimportance of Practically Everything

28:48 - Which Problem Do I Want?

31:30 - My summary reflections

34:20 - Epilogue

If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.



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The way of the Essentialist is the relentless pursuit of less but better. It doesn’t mean occasionally giving a nod to the principle. It means pursuing it in a disciplined way.

Featured Music

Track: Bounce

Artist: Fushou

Listen on Spotify

The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials
— Lin Yutang

Transcript Sample


This is the basic value proposition of Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.

How many times have you reacted to a request by saying yes without really thinking about it?

How many times have you resented committing to do something and wondered, “Why did I sign up for this?”

How often do you say yes simply to please?

Now let me ask you this: Have you ever found yourself majoring in minor activities? Do you ever feel busy but not productive? Like you’re always in motion, but never getting anywhere?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the way of the Essentialist.

The Way of the Essentialist

The way of the Essentialist is the relentless pursuit of less but better. It doesn’t mean occasionally giving a nod to the principle. It means pursuing it in a disciplined way.

The way of the Essentialist is about pausing constantly to ask, “Am I investing in the right activities?”

Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It’s 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.

The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.


We have all observed the exponential increase in choices over the last decade. Yet even in the midst of it, and perhaps because of it, we have lost sight of the most important ones.

The preponderance of choice has overwhelmed our ability to manage it. We have lost our ability to filter what is important and what isn’t. Psychologists call this “decision fatigue”: the more choices we are forced to make, the more the quality of our decisions deteriorates.


This myth is especially damaging today, in a time when choice and expectations have increased exponentially. It leads to staff meetings where as many as ten “top priorities” are discussed with no sense of irony at all.

The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities. Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality.

But when we try to do it all and have it all, we find ourselves making trade-offs at the margins that we would never take on as our intentional strategy. When we don’t purposefully and deliberately choose where to focus our energies and time, other people—our bosses, our colleagues, our clients, and even our families—will choose for us, and before long we’ll have lost sight of everything that is meaningful and important.

Once an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last twelve weeks of their lives, recorded their most often discussed regrets. At the top of the list: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

This requires, not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials, and not just getting rid of the obvious time wasters, but cutting out some really good opportunities as well.

This book will show you how to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expect from you. It will teach you a method for being more efficient, productive, and effective in both personal and professional realms. It will teach you a systematic way to discern what is important, eliminate what is not, and make doing the essential as effortless as possible.

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Essentialism: Book Review 2/4

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