The author points out, “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done” (p. 5). The book makes a forceful argument that wisdom consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
The truth is “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will” (p. 10). This book emphasizes self-leadership as people need to learn how to manage themselves. This book is logically organized helping the reader to answer the question, “Will this activity or effort make the highest possible contribution toward my goals?” (p. 18). Here’s an outline of the book:
Part I: Essence
1. The Essentialist
2. Choose: The Invincible Power of Choice
3. Discern: The Unimportance of Practically Everything
4. Trade Off: Which Problem Do I Want?
Part II: Explore
5. Escape: The Perks of Being Unavailable
6. Look: See What Really Matters
7. Play: Embrace the Wisdom of Your Inner Child
8. Sleep: Protect the Asset
9. Select: The Power of Extreme Criteria
Part III: Eliminate
10. Clarify: One Decision That Makes a Thousand
11. Dare: The Power of a Graceful “No”
12. Uncommit: Win Big by Cutting Your Losses
13. Edit: The Invisible Art
14. Limit: The Freedom of Setting Boundaries
Part IV: Execute
15. Buffer: The Unfair Advantage
16. Subtract: Bring Forth More by Removing Obstacles
17. Progress: The Power of Small Wins
18. Flow: The Genius of Routine
19. Focus: What’s Important Now?
20. Be: The Essentialist Life
This book will challenge you to practice deliberate subtraction as you evaluate choices, “If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no” (p. 109).
The author quotes John Maxwell who wisely observes, “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything” (p. 45). The author challenges the reader to change one’s worldview. He writes, “There are two ways of thinking about Essentialism. The first is to think of it as something you do occasionally. The second is to think of it as something you are” (p. 226).
Jesus told His disciples in the upper room,
I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. (John 17:4)
Can you affirm that you’re accomplishing the work that God is giving you to do? If you’re ready to simply your life you will find this book a helpful resource and you may also want to read Lessons from a Minimalist Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. (I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
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