Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown is like a manual for the Stretched Too Thin. If you’ve ever felt guilty about wanting to do it all but can’t, the Essentialist way of life is for you. You’ll realize that it’s impossible to do everything and do it well, and that’s AOK.
A do-everything mindset is tough to unlearn — especially if you’re a woman, a DIYer, or an ambitious person who’s drunk the Work Harder Not Smarter kool-aid (I’m all of the above). I’m here to tell you that Essentialism is possible, if you’re patient enough to take small steps.
In true Essentialist spirit, I’ve summarized some of the top takeaways from the 246-page book, either directly in McKeown’s words or edited slightly for actionability. Think of this as a curated refresher to revisit whenever you’ve fallen back into the NonEssentialist trap.
Tip: Note the nuances between focusing on the present and preparing for the future.
As McKeown explains, becoming an Essentialist is a long process, but the benefits are endless.
Amy Cuevas Schroeder is the founder of Jumble & Flow. She founded her first business, Venus Zine, in her dorm room at Michigan State University, and later sold the company. She now lives in the Chicago area and is raising her twin girls with her husband, Martin, a social worker.