Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Personal notes taken on "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" - an incredible book by Greg McKeown.


If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will.
. . . 
The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away - it can only be forgotten.
. . . 
Non-essentialist: "I have to." - Forfeits the right to choose.
Essentialist: "I choose to." - Exercises the power of choice.
. . . 
The unimportance of practically everything. - Haha, nicely said (reader).
. . . 
A Non-essentialist thinks almost everything is essential. Views opportunities as basically equal.
A Essentialist thinks almost everything is nonessential. Distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many.
. . . 
Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs. It's about deliberately choosing to be different. ~Michael Porter
. . . 
Without great solitude no serious work is possible. ~Pablo Picasso
. . . 
In order to have focus we need to escape to focus.
. . . 
Nonessentialist:
  • Pays attention to the loudest voice.
  • Hears everything being said.
  • Is overwhelmed by all the information.
Essentialist:
  • Pays attention to the signal in the noise.
  • Hears what is not being said.
  • Scans to find the essence of the information.
. . . 
A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest man. ~Roald Dahl
. . . 
Nonessentialist thinks:
  • One hour less of sleep equals one more hour of productivity.
  • Sleep is for failures.
  • Sleep is a luxury.
  • Sleep breeds laziness.
  • Sleep gets in the way of "doing it all".
Essentialist thinks:
  • One hour more of sleep equals several more hours of much higher productivity.
  • Sleep is for high performers.
  • Sleep is a priority.
  • Sleep breeds creativity.
  • Sleep enables the highest level of mental contribution.
. . . 
Nonessentialist:
  • Says yes to almost every request or opportunity.
  • Uses broad implicit criteria like "If someone I know is doing it, I should do it."
Essentialist:
  • Says yes to only the top 10 percent of opportunities.
  • Use narrow, explicit criteria like "Is this exactly what I am looking for?"
. . . 
If it isn't a clear yes, then it's a clear no.
. . . 
Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to says Yes too quickly and not saying No soon enough. ~Josh Billings
. . . 
Nonessentialist:
  • Asks, "Why stop now when I've already invested so much in this project?"
  • Thinks, "If I keep trying, I can make this work."
  • Hates admitting to mistake.
Essentialist:
  • Asks, "If I weren't already invested in this project, how much would I invest in it now?"
  • Thinks, "What else could I do with this time or money if I pulled the plug now?"
  • Comfortable with cutting losses.
. . . 
The Latin root of the word decision-cis or cid-literally means "to cut" or "to kill".
. . . 
Nonessentialist:
  • Thinks if you have limits you will be limited.
  • Sees boundaries as constraining.
  • Exerts effort attempting the direct "no".
Essentialist:
  • Knows that if you have limits you will become limitless.
  • Sees boundaries as liberating.
  • Sets rules in advance that eliminate the need for the direct "no".
. . . 
Nonessentialist:
  • Assumes the best-case scenario will happen.
  • Forces execution at the last minute.
Essentialist:
  • Builds in a buffer for unexpected events.
  • Practices extreme and early preparation.
. . . 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Adding by Eliminating...

Jack Dorsey is best known as the creator of Twitter and as the founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments company. His Essentialist approach to management is a relatively rare one. At a dinner I attended recently where he spoke, he said he thinks of the role of CEO as being the chief editor of the company. At another event at Stanford he explained further: "By editorial I mean there are a thousand things we could be doing. But there [are] only one or two that are important. All of these ideas . . . and inputs from engineers, support people, designers are going to constantly flood what we should be doing. . . As an editor I am constantly taking these inputs and deciding the one, or intersection of a few, that make sense for what we are doing."

An editor is merely someone who says no to things. A three-year-old can do that. Nor does an editor simply eliminate; in fact, in a way, an editor actually adds. What I mean is that a good editor is someone who uses deliberate subtraction to actually add life to the ideas, setting, plot, and characters.

From "Essentialism - The Disciplined Pursuit of Less", a brilliant book by Greg McKeown.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quotes of the day

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

The ability to be friends with a woman, particularly the woman you love, is to me the greatest achievement. Love and friendship seldom go together. … In all of my life I have known only a few couples who were friends as well as lovers. ~Henry Miller

The things that will bring you the greatest results in your life don’t have a deadline. ~Steve McClatchy

I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief. ~General Baron Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

Argue with idiots, and you become an idiot. The most important thing is to be able to think what you want, not to say what you want. And if you feel you have to say everything you think, it may inhibit you from thinking improper thoughts. ~Paul Graham

Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying Yes too quickly and not saying No soon enough. ~Josh Billings

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~Abraham Lincoln

You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are. ~Fred Rogers

Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. ~Doug Firebaugh

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead