Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Essentialism - The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown - (audio) book of the week


There are a lot of books I read, but only some of them I review on this blog and only few of them really are life-changing for me. Just like the original “Getting Things Done” book by David Allen was my initiation to better organization and also sparked a business idea in Nozbe, I think the book “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown will help me take my business and life to a whole new level. Here’s why:

Essentialism - The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown - (audio) book of the week

Get this book on: Audible Amazon

The book focuses on a question:

“What is it, that holds capable and driven people from breaking through to the next level?”

… and quite surprisingly the answer is this:


Greg in his book argues that “success becomes a catalyst for failure”. Because when we’re successful we inevitably start the “undisciplined pursuit of more”, because more opportunities show up, and we take on more things to do, we lose focus… and we start a plateau… and eventually a decline. And unfortunately I can totally resonate with that:

Nozbe is very successful… but it’s been like this for the last 4 years!

I will write about it later, but I feel like I’ve hit it big with Nozbe 4 years ago and stalled. Just plateaued. And it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything! The team is better, the stuff we do is better, but we’re not breaking through to the next level… and I’m to blame for that because I’ve enjoyed this success and taken on lots of other opportunities and got distracted. Now, after listening to this book twice I’m changing the course of my business and life… so stay tuned for a thorough update on that.

Now, why this book is so powerful? In 4 steps it forces you to:

1. Explore the very critical things you want to pursue

This is what I’ve done. Focus on your biggest contribution to the world. Where you can make a difference. This is key. Limit the choices and find your calling. Find not only your passion but also the very essence of your life at this moment in time.

2. Eliminate the rest

That’s huge. I always thought I could do it all. I’ve been always pretending there are no trade-offs. But there are. If you say YES to something you’re effectively saying NO to something else. And I’ve been trying to pretend I was able to say yes to everything and do… everything. Now I know I can’t and I have to force myself to focus on what’s important more than ever.

3. Build a platform for “effortless execution”

I have it already. I have a great team behind me. Now I just need to steer them at a right direction and make sure they help me maintain our course. I need to keep building habits of consistency, work in my distraction-free environment and create boundaries for me and my team.

4. Doing what is essential becomes a default position

That’s the thing. We’re living in 2015 where doing what others want of us is the default position. Where reacting instead of proactively doing is the default. We have to change that. We need to work on making the default position - our position.

Bonus: now I need to revise my goals for this year

Yes, after the first half of the year has passed, it’s time to revise my goals and focus on what’s essential for me. There are a few goals I’ve outlined that no longer are the core of what I should be doing.

Now, please get this book, and become a person you’ve always wanted to become thanks to:

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, but Better

And to get you started, check out Greg’s intro to his book:

Question: Are you an Essentialist? Do you want to be?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 /essentialism/