I really love the core premise of Essentialism. The idea is that by eliminating nonessentials in our life and work, we can have a bigger impact on and derive more meaning out of the things that are important to us. In McKeown’s words, “Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies and making execution of those things almost effortless.” That said, like a lot of self improvement books out there the first few chapters resonate and then it rapidly loses momentum as it attempts to contrive axioms or prescribe methodologies out of its central theory. Often, I read references to the same economic theories (mostly from Kahneman) or the psychology studies that I’ve all heard 100 times.
I observed interesting parallels between Essentialism and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck — being the arbiter for how you expend your time and mental energy, Scrum/Lean manufacturing — eliminating roadblocks and making incremental progress, and leadership — focusing on “Fewer things done better” “speed and quality of decision making”. Therefore, despite the tiresome chapters, this is a book I do recommend and will reference in the future.