Essentialism book review – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

In this Essentialism book review, I’m going to go through the notes that I took from the book and I’ll explain as I go forward.

I read and did a  Book review on the 8020 Principle by Richard Koch, which I did a video on it.  That was also a life-changing book. 

I read the 8020 book and Essentialism came up as a suggestion on Amazon, and it had so many good reviews. So I picked it up, I started reading it, and it worked out well!

The book talks about how you should focus only on the essentials, determine what is non-essential, what is not important, and only focus on the important stuff and the essential stuff.

These two books really helped me out!

Usually, when I get a new idea and I learned something new, I try to read an extra book or read a couple more articles or watch a couple of more videos, so I get different perspectives on it. Because people write and explain things differently in different languages. 

And I want to understand the whole thing.

Essentialism, the disciplined pursuit of less by Greg McKeown and also read The 80 20 Principle before that, the secret to achieving more with less. These are powerful books and I strongly recommend them.

Essentialism book review

I’m just going to go through some notes that I took from the book and I’ll explain as I go forward.

“Falling into the undisciplined pursuit of more was the key reason for failure.” So undisciplined pursuit of more created failure.



The question you should ask yourself is: What do I want to become or be the king or queen of?

You got to become or be the king or queen of one thing, not too many things!
Once you try to spread your resources on multiple things, you create all these weak different services or products that you try to deliver or multiple different things that you’re trying to be.

Versus, when you put your focus and your energy and resources on one thing, and you try to become the king or queen of that one thing, you could put all your resources and become a lot stronger, create more results, and do the whole thing a lot easier. and grow your business a lot faster.

You got to become or be the king or queen of one thing!



Later on, Greg McKeown speaks about getting rid of non-essentials. For example, opening your closet and getting rid of all the clothing that you haven’t worn for maybe six months, or a year or clothing that you don’t like or love. If you feel like you don’t look great in it, get rid of it. If you don’t wear it, often get rid of it.

You could do the same thing with your bookshelf, office, house, and your garage, if you have anything that is in there that you don’t need and it’s just taking extra space get rid of rid. Because when it gets busy around you, it takes extra mental resources.

When it’s not organized, it’s not good.

If you could do the one thing with your life right now, what would you do? If you could only do one thing for your business today? What would you do?



The highest point of frustration is created out of these three elements:

1- Trying to do everything and be everything and
2- Trying to do or follow the most popular thing, which is everybody doing
3- Trying to get it right now

So, everything, popular and now, create the highest point of frustration.

Greg McKeown talks about how you should go the exact opposite way. Don’t try to do everything, figure out what’s important, and try to do that only!

Just because it’s popular, it pretty much means, you should run away. If you ever listened to Warren Buffett and most investors and big people that became successful, they made most of their money by going against the status quo.

If everybody was selling, they were buying. If they’re buying these guys are selling so if it is popular, you gotta run!

If Bitcoin is popular right now, you probably shouldn’t buy into it right now. It’s probably too late.

I want this now!

Getting results and trying to achieve something is a farming process. There’s always a process and there’s never now.

When you want everything, you want to try to do the popular thing and you want it right now, it creates frustration because it doesn’t produce and provide results.

This book is filled with examples of what the Essentialists do.

Here’s a quote from the book, ” Essentialists spend as much time as possible exploring, listening, debating, questioning and thinking. But their exploration is not an end in itself, the purpose of the exploration is to discern the vital few from the trivial many.”

So they spent all that time and research and debating, and asking around and getting feedback, to think about and realize and understand what is important, what is not important. And then only focus on what is important.


How do you figure out what is important now?

There’s this question you gotta answer. It’s going to sound cliche, but let me read it to you. And I’ll explain to you. So, here’s the question to figure out what’s important:

QUOTE: If you could do the one thing with your life right now, what would you do? If you could only do one thing for your business today? What would you do?

You probably heard that a lot about prioritizing and here’s the rule of success. But if you think about it, stop and think about it for maybe five minutes, every morning and think about what is the most important thing that I should do today, things that provide results, that provide all the stuff that I’m looking for, your business WILL change, quickly!

Results guaranteed!

Greg McKeown then mentioned that working hard is important, but more effort does not necessarily yield more results. Less, but better, does!

Less, but better tasks do!

Less but essential tasks create results. Less but important tasks do create results.

Your job would be to find out what is that 20% that creates 80% of your results and then focus on that. You don’t necessarily need to work a lot more, you just have to spend a few minutes, think, determine, and identify: what is the 20% that creates 80% of your results and focus on that.

“An Essentialists discerns more, so he can do less.”

So an essentialist gets all picky and choosy, thinks about it, and picks the right stuff so he/she could open up some time and do less but create more.

Here’s a quote from Albert Einstein.

He said, “When I examine myself, and my method of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”

He sat down, Einstein sat down and he tried to figure out what is producing results. And then he realized that the gift of fantasy, visualization and vision and probably triggering the visualization and the power of the mind to visualize and create visions has helped him more than learning new stuff, and all the positive knowledge.

I’ll explain that process in a later post.

An Essentialist discerns more, so he can do less.


Importance of Sleep

Later in the Essentialism book, Greg talks about the importance of sleep, which jumped at me, and it was very important. It talks about how you must have seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain doesn’t function well, your body doesn’t function well, and you can NOT expect great results from your brain and your body if you’re tired. And if your body is not functioning, it doesn’t have all the tools and the energy and the power, then you can’t function.

Bill Clinton says that every major mistake he had made in his life had happened as a result of sleep deprivation. Every major mistake, Bill Clinton says, came as a result of sleep deprivation.

As I read this, I made it a challenge to myself to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep for the past month.

I finished Essentialism in the second week of January, and ever since I feel great!


The difference between losing and being beaten

Another thing that jumped at me and was nicely said is the difference between losing and being beaten. Being beaten means they are better than you. They are faster, stronger and more talented. He says “to this guy losing means something else losing and being beaten or two different things. 

Losing means something else, it means you lost focus, it means you didn’t concentrate on what was essential. It is all based on a simple but powerful idea to operate at your highest level of contribution requires that you deliberately tune in to what is important in the here and now.”

So tune in to what’s important right here and right now. He says when you lose, that’s when you are not focusing on the right things. When you’re been beaten, beaten by another team or your competition arrival that means they’re better than you. But when you losing, that means you’re wasting your time, you’re not focusing on the essentials.

At the end of the book has this quote that got me thinking for a good two or three weeks, I think about this, and it is very important.

The most important thing right now is to figure out what is the important thing right now.

Think about that!

Grab the book, read it. If you haven’t read The 8020 Principle or this book, they’re an absolute must-read for every business owner, manager, everybody should read this.

The most important thing right now is to figure out what is the important thing right now.

If you’re in charge of your family, if you have any type of leadership role, or if you want to be in a leadership role, if you want to grow your business at an exponential speed while you can manage and maintain it, these two books in combination are going to help you quite a bit.

In my next post, I’m going to talk about this book called Getting Real from Basecamp, which has helped me with my operations quite a bit.

Basecamp is a project management software that in the book they mentioned about they have about 350,000 users. And I just read somewhere else that they have about half a million users so that’s NOT a bad number for a software.

I learned quite a bit from that book because that book focuses on essentials and the basics as well. And I will talk about how that helped me and how it had pretty much changed my perspective on running my business. And everybody around me, all my coaching clients, the people that I talked to, and I in my classes and the rest of it.

If you liked this post, please hit LIKE, if you have any comments, any feedback, any concerns or questions, write it in the comments below. And I’ll do my best to get back to you.

If you find it valuable, please share the video/post with your network and let them enjoy it as well.

I’m going to leave a couple of links in the description of the video so you could get the Essentialism book from Amazon and read it either on Kindle or paperback format and give yourself some powerful tools to take your business to the next level and enjoy the process. save yourself some time and focus on what matters and what’s important.

Mostafa Hosseini, your business and marketing coach

Hope you have a great day and I look forward to seeing you later.

Thank you

What is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown is a book that advocates focusing only on what truly matters in life and business. It emphasizes determining the essential tasks and priorities while eliminating non-essential distractions.

How does Essentialism differ from other approaches?

Unlike trying to do everything or following popular trends, essentialism encourages prioritizing what's truly important. It emphasizes becoming highly skilled or proficient in one area rather than spreading resources thin across multiple pursuits.

How can i identify non-essential elements in my life?

Greg McKeown suggests methods like decluttering physical spaces, such as closets or bookshelves, and evaluating tasks or commitments that don't align with essential goals. Eliminating non-essentials frees up mental resources and fosters better organization.

What is the importance of prioritizing tasks according to essentialism?

Essentialism highlights the significance of focusing on the vital few tasks that yield significant results, rather than being overwhelmed by numerous activities. Prioritizing essential tasks leads to increased productivity and effectiveness.

How does essentialism relate to success and achieving goals?

Essentialism promotes the idea of doing less but better. By identifying the 20% of tasks that contribute to 80% of results, individuals can achieve more with less effort. It emphasizes discerning what truly matters and dedicating resources accordingly for optimal outcomes.

How many pages are in essentialism book?

There are 290 pages in the Essentialism book by Greg McKeown

When was Essentialism written?

The book was originally published in 2014.

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