High-Level Thoughts

I didn’t get much from this book, it’s sort of in-between Paradox of Choice and some of the psychology of 4-Hour Workweek, but doesn’t do as good a job as either. That said, a lot of people like it a lot…

Summary Notes

The Way of the Essentialist

  • The basic value proposition of Essentialism is that “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.”

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

The Logic of Essentialism:

  • The beliefs we must conquer: ““I have to,” “It’s all important,” and “I can do both.””
  • The beliefs to replace them with: ““I choose to,” “Only a few things really matter,” and “I can do anything but not everything.””

“Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?””

Explore:

  • “To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep, and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we make.”
  • “In order to have focus, we must escape to focus”
  • By abolishing boredom, you abolish your opportunities to think and reflect

90% Rule

  • Variant of Hell Yeah or No
  • As you evaluate an option, think of the most important criteria to evaluate that option on, and then score it. If it scores below a 90, simply turn the score into a 0 and toss it out.
  • If something isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no

“If you could be truly excellent at one thing, what would it be?”

Create dealbreakers and rules for yourself so that decision making is easier.

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