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Coaching, Coding and Learning By George Evjen

Notes from Greg McKeown's book 'essentialism' 


  • The Unimportance of Practically Everything
  • 'Most of what exists in the university - our actions, and all other forces, resources and ideas - has very little value and yields little results; on the other hand, a few things work fantastically well and have tremendous impact' - Richard Koch
  • Do setbacks often only strengthen our resolve to work longer and harder?
  • For capable people who are already working hard, are there limits to the value of hard work?
  • Is there a point at which doing more does not produce more?
  • Is there a point at which doing less (but thinking more) will actually produce better outcomes.
  • Just learned a crucial lesson - certain types of effort yield higher rewards than others.
  • I knew what really counted was the relationship between time and results.
  • What is the most valuable result I could achieve in this job?
  • Most people have heard of the 'Pareto Principle"
    • The idea that 20 percent of our efforts product 80 percent of the results.
    • Also called the 'the Law of the Vital Few'
  • Warren Buffet famously said - 'Our investment philosophy borders on lethargy'
    • Few investments and keep them for a long time.
    • He decided early in his career it would be impossible for him to make hundreds of right investment decisions.
    • He decided that he would invest only in the businesses he was absolutely sure of.
    • He owes 90% of his wealth to just ten investments.
  • Certain efforts actually produce exponentially more results than others.
  • Nathan Myhrvold
    • Microsoft CTO
    • 'The top software developers are more productive than the average developer not by a factor of 10x but by 10,000x
    • Certain efforts produce exponentially better results than others.
  • John Maxwell - You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.
  • The Nonessentialist
    • Thinks almost everything is essential
    • Views opportunities as basically equal
  • The Essentialist
    • Thinks almost everything is nonessential
    • Distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many



  • Which Problem Do I Want to Solve
  • 'Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs. It's about deliberately choosing to be different. - Michael Porter
  • Southwest Airlines CEO - Herb Kelleher
    • How deliberate he was about the trade-offs he had made while as Southwest
    • These trade-offs weren't made by default - but by design
    • Deliberate strategy to keep costs down.
    • 'You have to look at every opportunity and say 'Well, no…I'm sorry, were not going to do a thousand different things that really wont contribute much to the end result we are trying to achieve.'
  • Harvard Business School Professor - Michael Porter
    • Straddling a strategy
    • Keeping your existing strategy intact while simultaneously also trying to adopt the strategy of a competitor.
    • A strategic position is not sustainable unless there are trade-offs with other positions.
    • Ignoring the reality of trade-offs is a terrible strategy for organizations.
    • Their idea is - I can do both
  • Noticed that senior executives of companies are the worst at accepting the reality of trade-offs.
  • CEO of company in Silicon Valley valued at 40 billion.
    • Shared value statement -
      • 'we value passion, innovation, execution and leadership.
      • Response: 'who doesn’t value these things?
      • Doesn’t tell the company what they value the most.
  • We can try to avoid the reality of trade-offs but we cant escape them.
  • A trade-off involves two things we want
    • Do you want more pay or more vacation time.
    • Do you want to finish the next email or make the meeting on time.
    • Do you want it done faster or better?
    • The preferred answer is yes to both.
  • The nonessentialist approaches every trade-off by asking.
    • How can I do both.
  • The essentialist asks the tougher question.
    • Which problem do I want.
  • 'There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs' - Thomas Sowell
  • Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as a negative part of life.
    • Instead of asking 'what do I have to give up' - they ask 'what do I want to go Big on'
  • Four stove burner -
    • Family, Friends, Health, Work
    • To be successful you have to give up one.
    • In order to be really successful you have to give up two.
    • 'Which problem to you want'
Posted on Sunday, July 3, 2016 10:50 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Essentialism - G. McKeown 3

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Thanks to this information here, this gives me the complete idea that I looked for. - Mark Zokle
Left by Williams on Sep 09, 2016 1:38 AM

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