Essentialism: Just Say No

I purchased Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown on a whim. I was at the bookstore, they didn’t have any of the books I came for (too old), and Essentialism was on my TBR list. Before you could say cheesy self-help, Essentialism was on my shelf.

I really wish I hadn’t purchased the book. Essentialism is mediocre, even for a self-indulgent business book. I have a soft spot for books about productivity and time management, even though they are often kind of bad, but this one was not worth my time at all. And it’s not worth yours either.


McKeown says over and over again that Essentialism is all about focusing on the number one thing in your life to exclusion of all else. Not only is this impossible, it’s unhealthy. It’s ok to follow interests that aren’t directly related to your core mission in life. It’s ok to want to do things that aren’t directly related to your career. And sometimes you have to do things that don’t directly fit into your core mission because you’re a freaking adult and not everything you have to do is something that you want to do.

The book is mostly filler and could have easily been condensed into a single strong article instead of bloated to an entire book. There are only so many times one needs to say “Say no to things that aren’t central to your mission.”

Get a head start on the Essentialist lifestyle and say “no” to this book.


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