UACES Facebook Book Review by Dr. Lauren Griffeth, Essentialism-The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
skip to main content

Book Review by Dr. Lauren Griffeth, Essentialism-The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Lisa Davis - December 6, 2023

Essentialism book coverWhat are you doing that is moving you toward your goals? Maybe you should be doing less. In the November Leadership Lunch and Learn book review series, Dr. Lauen Griffeth, leadership specialist at the University of Georgia, shared insights into the book Essentialism-The Disciplined Pursuit of Less written by Greg McKeown. 

Griffeth said the key takeaways in this book are:

  • Essentialism is a disciplined approach to life that involves focusing on what truly matters and letting go of non-essential distractions.
  • Adopting essentialism can have profound implications on our productivity, enhancing our relationships, and reducing our stress and feeling of overwhelm.
  • By embracing essentialism, we can live a fulfilling life that is aligned with our true values and aspirations, minus the clutter.

"If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will." by Greg McKeownThe author wrote, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

Griffeth shared a story from the introduction in the book. The author wrote about having to choose between spending time with his wife and newborn baby or meeting with an important client. His colleague said he should choose the client. So, he did. In the meeting, the client said they could have rescheduled the meeting. That moment was a transformational experience. The author ultimately left his job and began researching leadership with the concept of give and take.

When someone gives time, it takes his/her abilities from other things. Part of being an essentialist is learning to say no and saying yes to things that matter, where one can make his/her highest contribution.

McKeown wrote, “By focusing on a few essential things, we achieve greater clarity, effectiveness, and satisfaction in our personal and professional lives.”

Letting go of non-essentials: simplifying your life. But how?

  • Eliminating distractions
  • Saying no
  • Prioritizing

The author says essentialism is the power of focus, doing less, but better. But, how?

  • Narrow your focus. By narrowing your focus and concentrating on a few key areas, you can achieve a higher level of depth and expertise.
  • Deep work. Complete immersion in a task without distractions often leads to higher productivity, creativity, and quality.
  • Quality over quantity. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, focus on quality over quantity.

Doing this creates space for what matters: finding purpose, pursuing passion, and cultivating joy.

The essence of Essentialism is the philosophy of discerning and focusing on the vital few things that truly matter, while eliminating many non-essential distractions that consume our time and energy.

Watch the Video Recording.

The Leadership Lunch and Learn Book Review series features leadership experts from across the south. Each presenter reviews a leadership development book. The series gives you the opportunity to hear the cliff notes version of many popular leadership development books.