Quotes from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Greg McKeown ·  260 pages

Rating: (23.8K votes)


“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less



“Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“We overvalue nonessentials like a nicer car or house, or even intangibles like the number of our followers on Twitter or the way we look in our Facebook photos. As a result, we neglect activities that are truly essential, like spending time with our loved ones, or nurturing our spirit, or taking care of our health.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“Today, technology has lowered the barrier for others to share their opinion about what we should be focusing on. It is not just information overload; it is opinion overload.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“There should be no shame in admitting to a mistake; after all, we really are only admitting that we are now wiser than we once were.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less



“What do I feel deeply inspired by?” and “What am I particularly talented at?” and “What meets a significant need in the world?”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“We can either make our choices deliberately or allow other people’s agendas to control our lives.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“Just because I was invited didn’t seem a good enough reason to attend.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“A popular idea in Silicon Valley is “Done is better than perfect.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“Sleep will enhance your ability to explore, make connections, and do less but better throughout your waking hours.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less



“We often think of choice as a thing. But a choice is not a thing. Our options may be things, but a choice—a choice is an action. It is not just something we have but something we do.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“the pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure. Put another way, success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“the killer question: “If I didn’t already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less



“EVERY DAY DO SOMETHING THAT WILL INCH YOU CLOSER TO A BETTER TOMORROW. —Doug Firebaugh”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“NO IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE. —Anne Lamott”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“What if society stopped telling us to buy more stuff and instead allowed us to create more space to breathe and think? What if society encouraged us to reject what has been accurately described as doing things we detest, to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like?11”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less



“Once an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last twelve weeks of their lives, recorded their most often discussed regrets. At the top of the list: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”6 This requires, not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials, and not just getting rid of the obvious time wasters, but cutting out some really good opportunities as well.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“The reality is, saying yes to any opportunity by definition requires saying no to several others.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“two most personal learnings that have come to me on the long journey of writing this book. The first is the exquisitely important role of my family in my life. At the very, very end, everything else will fade into insignificance by comparison. The second is the pathetically tiny amount of time we have left of our lives. For me this is not a depressing thought but a thrilling one. It removes fear of choosing the wrong thing. It infuses courage into my bones. It challenges me to be even more unreasonably selective about how to use this precious – and precious is perhaps too insipid a word – time.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


“Weniger aber besser. The English translation is: Less but better.”
― Greg McKeown, quote from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less



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About the author

Greg McKeown
Born place: London, The United Kingdom
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