Book: Essentialism

essentialismEssentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Amazon) is about what you don’t do. It’s about accepting the reality that you can’t be great at everything, ruthlessly prioritising, and saying no.

I found it a useful book to follow Better Than Before with, because it dived into the thing Better than Before made me think about most: what was I doing that I shouldn’t be? Was I going along with other people’s priorities out of some misplaced sense of obligation? If I stopped doing that… what would that look like?

There were a few places in it though where I wondered how applicable the advice is to people who aren’t white men. The whole “just say no, people will respect you for it!” – when it comes to things like work for the collective, when women do it, it’s unappreciated. When they don’t… they are not a team player (see: Women Don’t Ask for more on this).

In the manner of most productivity porn it’s “you too will be successful if you follow this simple advice” and sure “say no to things” sounds simple, but 1) negotiation is hard and 2) so is loss aversion.

Anyway I thought it was worth a read. It encouraged me to think about how to focus more, and be more willing to say no to things.