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Essentialism

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Written by: Greg McKeown
Narrated by: Greg McKeown
Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (107 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Have you ever found yourself struggling with information overload?

Have you ever felt both overworked and underutilised?

Do you ever feel busy but not productive?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is to become an essentialist.

In Essentialism, Greg McKeown, CEO of a leadership and strategy agency in Silicon Valley who has run courses at Apple, Google and Facebook, shows you how to achieve what he calls the disciplined pursuit of less. Being an essentialist is about a disciplined way of thinking. It means challenging the core assumptions of "we can have it all" and "I have to do everything" and replacing them with the pursuit of "the right thing in the right way at the right time".

By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter.

Using the experience and insight of working with the leaders of the most innovative companies and organisations in the world, McKeown shows you how to put Essentialism into practice in your own life, so you, too, can achieve something great.

©2015 Greg McKeown (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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One book to last a lifetime

Loved it from start to finish. If I hadn't been that busy I would have finished it in one go. There is so much this books opens up to you. Simply don't miss it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • HJ
  • 20-07-19

Must Listen

A must listen book. Eye opening, relevant and meaningful. Author has narrated it himself and the essence of the writing is not lost. I hope to become an essentialist and eliminate all forms of waste from my life and career. loved it, will probably listen to it on repeat

1 person found this helpful

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Apply it

Will apply in life. Models defined in the chapter are viable, thanks a lot to author

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Don't think judge the book by the title

Don't think judge the book by the title and think "I already know what's going to be in this book and I'm already practicing it"
It has a lot of thought provoking ideas present inside, very well written. Worth buying :)

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Cut the noise

Distilled the essence of 'the now' into actionable bits. The rare book, that provides real world advise on cutting the noise.

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Life changing experience and track.

Will surely follow the learnings, the essential way, author had targeted all the possibly cases for both patterns ( essential and non essential both)

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nice book .

nice book. Tons of good information. Loved the part of being in the present and do work with focus.

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A timeless book to read frequently

This book is one of the few books i wanted to listen again immediately after finishing for the first time. It gave me so many ideas to implement immediately and forced me to think what is truly essential in my life. To break out of things which seem important but are mere distractions. The important feature of this book was the subtle differences mentioned between Essentialism and non-essentialism. Truly the essentialist wisdom from author's own experiences. A great listen.

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Great

One of the best books i came across in recent times on productivity. Interesting concepts.

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Beautiful gem to find your essentialism

Was surprised to hear it finish. But I guess that's the beauty of this book. A monumental task remains, to put it in practice. This book will mean thousand different things to different people. For me it's showing multitude of paths which take over our capacity and few which are necessary to take "NOW".

Definitely will visit this again in future.

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  • Ian C.
  • 29-08-18

MY FAVORITE BOOK

Life changing! I would consider this book a must read for every single human. Especially considering we live in a society filled with distractions.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Marcellus
  • 16-11-17

A must read for Simplicity Seekers

If you desire an extraordinary life, seek simplicity. If you don't know where to start, read (or listen) to this book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-01-20

A must read for Type As

I really needed to hear this. I couldn’t stop I don’t think I have ever got through a book so quickly and am about to listen again and use the essentialist method to clean my closet this weekend and next week my life. I am so glad I stumbled upon this, hopefully before it’s too late.

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  • jensgud
  • 24-02-19

This is it!!!

If I had to choose one self help book, this is the one. A lifetime of practice starts today.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-02-20

A GREAT BOOK ... AN ACQUIRED TASTE

I picked this book up a few months ago because I needed to shed some stuff of my endless to do list. Three months later and the idea of an essential life drives my every action. Also, my to do list is leaner and better.

At first I was reading the book ... then I opted to get an audible to save time. I, therefore, recommend listening to the book rather than reading it. the concepts aren't difficult so it's easy to listen as if it were a podcast.

About the concept itself, Essentialism is an idea that's an acquired taste and the acceptance of the true meaning of an essential life is very personal. I've seen reviews stating that it isn't practical but I differ. The only thing I can assure readers of this book is that if you had no prior appreciation for minimalism and the idea of less is more, then this will be a hard listen.

If it's the first time, I recommend listening more than once to the material so that you warm up to the idea.

Generally, great concept. But needs hard work to execute. Give yourself time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-02-20

Loved it

A must read if you want clarity in your business and home life. Thank you

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  • Isaiah
  • 14-10-19

learnt alot

great experience i will personally embark on becoming an essentialist, ive learnt alot from this book.

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  • LETHAMAGA
  • 08-10-19

If you could read only one book, this is it.

This book has a timeless quality to it. 5000 years later, this book would still be relevant and still hold true. If you need a practical guide on how to live a fulfilling life, with zero fluff, this it is the book. Definitely a book I'm going to revisit many more times.

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  • Toks Aruoture
  • 21-09-19

Utterly Brilliant.

Loved it. I find now that even on conversations, I silently will the speaker to cut out the excessive words being used to embellish their point.

Reading Essentialisom has made me concoous of just how much time, energy and words are spent in non-essentials.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-09-19

Nice one!

I’ve learn a lot from this book. Give it a try It won’t waste your time or credit I can promise you that!

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  • Wayne Hutton
  • 03-01-16

I don't usually write reviews.

This book probably made me feel more guilt than anything. After so many years in business, working for myself, I have realised where I have gone wrong. Trying to please too many people and reducing the quality of myself to the ones I care most about. The pursute of 'less but better' at home and work will be my goal. Wasting time and effort on meaningless things and time-wasting people or meetings will now stop and quality time with my family, by reducing the nonsense we convince ourselves we need in our working environment will now become my main driver. Thank you Greg.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Halimah
  • 13-10-16

First audio book I've finished since joining :)

Love this book, simple to follow. Case studies were very helpful. Worth the daily habit! I will no doubt listen again and again. First book I have finished and felt was worth the money!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Stefanie W
  • 10-04-18

Essential reading for me right now

I have had this book for a while and finally decided to read it over Easter - it was the right book at the right time. I listened to it over a couple of very long bus rides with no interruptions, no distractions and my head in the right space. I found the many essentialist vs non-essentialist examples extremely useful - mainly to bring the learnings of the anecdotes from, mainly, famous and successful people to the everyday decisions we have to make. This is a book I've annotated and would come back to listen to again at various intervals to see how I'm doing. Also enjoyed the reader's voice - easy listen.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jordan Georgiev
  • 17-10-16

Not a bad book

The book does have an interesting narrative. The overall idea is simple, achievable and useful.

On the other hand - this book is a hammer and most of the best literature on the subject is all nails. I've heard most of the common ideas with an "essentialist" attached to them.

Also there is a lot of introduction and a lot of "an essentialist does X". The really useful material is pretty humble.

Overall, this book is good for self-development "beginners" since they'll be learning the most. It would be amazing for them to read the original works mentioned, but this is a good starting point.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mick
  • 23-08-19

Repetitive

Contains some good sound advice although ironically, I think this could have been put in maybe half the chapters.

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  • Muhammad
  • 11-03-16

Good but NOT Extraordinary

Any additional comments?

It has been a fairly good listen. There were no extraordinary revelations but still the book was engaging with sporadic new insights about how to do few yet more productive and effective things. The book describes in a very consistent way as how to eliminate noise from our routine life.The book has very useful insights for someone who has not, for example, read Eat that frog or 7 habits types of books. But if your have read any of these two books you can skip this one easily.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-09-18

Simple and Effective

Very few books have such a lasting impact. The author of this one also cited many other useful books as well as historians.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sunlight and Shadows
  • 21-09-16

One of the smartest books Ever!

I always like a book that is read by the author - it gives an even greater insight to the knowledge they are sharing.
There are so many highlights within this book that I could share - however I couldn't do it justice. If you want a guide to working smart where you are given deep insights to the psychology why in a way that isnt preaching - but is real - then this is the book for you.
Im about to listen to it again as there were so many 'nuggets' within the pages.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Renie Gray
  • 02-05-16

It doesn't disappoint, 5 stars all round!

Having heard so much about this book I was overjoyed to find that it doesn't disappoint. Stories, experiences and easy takeaway make this book easily one of my top 3 and it's only just May!! It goes deep and wide all at the same time leaving me both thoughtful and motivated to fully live the life of an essentialist.

2 people found this helpful

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  • KG
  • 12-03-16

Great reminder of the importance of focus

Well researched, with interesting stories used to illustrate the point. Very easy to digest, spoken clearly at a good pace.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Steve Shannon
  • 18-12-15

Essential for me? YES!

To begin with I thought to myself "oh great, I'm going to listen to this book for hours when essentially all that needed to be said was "first things first" or "focus on what's important" but this book gives so much more.

I work two jobs, have a wonderful wife and 3 beauiful children (the oldest being 3). Life is stressful at the best of times and Ive always felt that I had to be working my ass off every minute of the day to stay on top of everything. I often felt like if I slept i was somehow losing ground and the idea of "getting ahead" sounded almost impossible.

Insightful and enlightening, this book gave me a strong and clear message that I really needed to hear. It will take a while to apply all the lessons in this book to my life but this is one book I will revisit often.

Thank you Greg McKeown

10 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher Hume-Phillips
  • 07-11-16

A discipline worth mastering.

I'm like an adult with ADD. My mind is easily distracted by things. My attempts at using organizational systems (like GTD) tended to do no more than generate massive to-do lists that I found difficult to prioritize. In my mind, EVERYTHING was important.
Mark has helped me to get in the habit of asking the right questions so that far fewer items end up on my list now. They're often tough questions to answer at times, however the sense of freedom that comes from being more on purpose, more in control, and more willing to say 'No!' is very liberating.
This approach helps me to 'audit' my headspace - keeping an eye on where my energy is being directed.
Like most 'self help' books, there's plenty of examples, but it's up to the reader to stop and consider how the issue is relevant to them. An example with a 'corporate' context can still have just as much relevance in one's personal life - e.g. 'Sunk Cost Bias'.
I highly recommend taking notes and making a true 'study' of this and how the ideas apply to your own life. A pity there isn't some form of 'workbook'.
I've read it twice now, and heard it once in full. I find the concepts so fundamentally important, there's either a printed, digital or audio copy always close at hand to continually reinforce the messages.
Definitely 'essential' reading/listening.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Nikisha G.
  • 01-03-20

great concept

an inspiring way to live, something I'll definitely recommend everyone read and implement in their own life

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  • Creatingorder
  • 04-10-16

Game changer

This book is a game changer. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting more in their life. More joy, more control, more of the good stuff.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gerard
  • 18-02-20

So good I've bought the physical book as well...

Chapter after chapter of wonderful insights and examples demonstrating the principles of Essentialism, and contrasting non-essentialism.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-09-19

Insightful

I really enjoyed this book well presented by Greg and well researched,truly a common sense application in all aspects of our lives ...........John

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  • Jasmine
  • 25-08-19

Such a wonderful book! Didn't want it to end

Probs in my fav top 5 books of all time. Full to the brim with ideas for getting clear on what really matters

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-08-19

POWERFULLY INCREDIBLE

As a new business owner, this book made a massive positive impact on me on focusing on the right things at the right time!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-07-19

Really great!

I'll definitely be listening to this again. Have been looking into minimalism a lot lately but I feel the concepts in this book particularly have the potential to have a positive effect on my life. Just need to put it in action bit by bit

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  • Emma Fair
  • 20-07-19

Life changing book

This book is literally life changing. It makes you assess every aspect of your life to make it more fulfilling and meaningfull. This book will definately be played again in the future.