Essentialism is full of practical tips and ideas for simplify your life. They can be applied to your career, your family life and your personal life. However, the book is more than just a list of ways to reduce the stress in your life, it is based on a philosophy of changing your thinking about what is important.
As Greg McKeown points out, we live in a world where we are daily confronted with more choices than we can adequately process. The media would have us believe, we can “have it all” and “do it all” but the reality we don’t have enough time or energy for this to be true. Therefore, to live our best life we have to make decisions and choices about what is important to us and invest heavily in that. I liked that McKeown not only shared his successes as he applied his philosophy to his own life, but also shared areas where he still struggled.
The two main points I retained after reading the book was, since no one has time to do everything it’s important to consider how I can make the best contribution to my world. I also found the question, “what’s important (right) now?” particularly helpful especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed or my to-do list is too long.
I also liked the way the book was set out. There were summaries, short comparisons between the way Essentialists and non-Essentialists think, as well as important phrases in large fonts.
By the time I was nearing the end of the book, I had realized that McKeown was actually encouraging altruistic values. He seemed to be teaching more than just a modified life style, but rather one that had spiritual implications. I went searching on the internet and was super surprised to discover that McKeown is a Mormon, but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book.
Overall, an insightful and helpful read.