This pandemic has been a great time for me to read more and catch up with some awesome books. It’s the turn now for “Essentialism”.

This book was written back in 2014 and it has so many great ideas to determine what’s essential and what’s not. The book touches on examples for personal and work related use.

The biggest take from this pass, is how we as humans are determining what’s success and the intent / meaning behind it. As many of you I’ve participated in lots of initiatives throughout my career and life, and I felt some of them lack of  intent. Based on my read, this intent usually brings clarity to people, something that vision/mission statements or goals do not.

Another side effect from this era, when humans are 24/7 online and available, is that there are not enough limits around our time. Setting up boundaries in the way we work and handle personal life, reduces the amount of times we need to say “NO” to someone, and focus more on our “objective” rather than someone else’s.

Again, there are so many great quotes and examples. Some of my favourites.

From Tom Friel, the former CEO of Heidrick & Struggles: “We need to learn the slow 'yes' and the quick 'no?”
From Stephen King: "To write is human, to edit is divine.”

Great concepts in the book I didn’t know before.

  • "Bozo explosion: A term to describe what happens when a formerly great team or company descends into mediocrity.
  • “Reverse pilot”: Testing whether removing an initiative or activity will have any negative consequences.
  • “Planning fallacy”: Human tendency to underestimate how long a task will take.

Lastly, this book has a great to framework to determine if a life or work project is worth taking not. Ask yourself, what risks this project comes with? What are worst case scenarios, social side effects and financial impact? (Just simplifying here, there’s more of course!).

For anyone struggling determining what’s essential or not, I would recommend this book. Short, concise and clear advice.


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