Essentialism: Best Book for ’15 and Best Practice for ’16

My favorite business book I read this year is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown.  Greg describes the dilemma of many successful people.  As success piles up, so do more opportunities and more requests.  The list of opportunities grow bigger.  The temptation is to think you can do it all.  My gosh, look what you have achieved, and just think what more you can achieve if you continue to expand your efforts!  In one simple diagram, Greg captures the difference between the Essentialist’s way of life and the Non-Essentialist's way of life.  

Energy Exerted (Source: Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, McKeown, 2014)

Energy Exerted
(Source: Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, McKeown, 2014)

In both cases, the same amount of energy is exerted.  However, on the right, there is much more progress.  On the left, the energy is divided into many different activities.  On the right, the energy is given to a singular purpose.  The result on the right is that by investing in fewer things, you have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter most.  The Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many.  

As we are in an up cycle, it’s tempting to keep adding to the plate of opportunities.  Instead, ask what are the most important questions I need to answer?  How do I move the answers to these questions forward?

For 2016 how might the mantra, “Less but better” shape you?  Filter through all of the options you face, all of the opportunities, and select the vital few that are essential to making 2016 the best year of your life.  

If you’d like to see what other good thinkers are saying about the past year in books, and the big trends for 2016, check out the two links below:

There are several "Top Business Books" Lists out there. Here is a good one from s+b:

FAST COMPANY's Rose Pastore shared 10 issues that will impact business for all of us in 2016.