I’m excited to start a new feature on the blog today. Book reviews! I love to read, it is one of my most favorite pastimes in all the world. I realized recently that I don’t read enough actual books though. I read lots of emails, lots of shared articles from Facebook and Pinterest, various blogs from around the web, and children’s stories to put my kids to sleep at night. But real, adult books just gets pushed lower on my list. This should not be! Reading keeps our minds active, keeps us learning, keeps us dreaming, and keeps us entertained. So I’ve made it my new mission to read more books.
Since I think reading is so important for everyone, I will also be reviewing the books that I read here on this little blog to help encourage you to pick up a real book more often and read. Hopefully my reviews will be helpful to you in also finding new books to read, maybe even a different type of book than you would normally read. I will admit that most of the books I read are the Non-Fiction type, either Business, or Personal Development, or Christian topics. It’s not that I don’t like Fiction, because I love it. I just really like books that teach me something and help me grow and develop into a better person. Fiction doesn’t always do that. So most of my reviews will be on non-fiction books, but I will try to review a good Fiction book once in a while too.
Today, I want to talk about the book I just finished called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I’ve hinted at this book earlier this month and it has really just blown me away.
When I first heard about this book I knew I wanted to get my hands on a copy. As a busy, working mom I’m always looking for ways to calm my life down. I love being productive. I love having things to do, places to go, and people to see. But I don’t enjoy feeling rushed, frazzled, stressed, and behind. More often than not, that stressed out feeling seems to be the norm at various seasons of my life as a mom. There is always so much to do and not enough time to get it all done, both at work and at home.
Essentialism is a way of life. It is figuring out how to separate the “trivial many” activities that we can fill our lives with from the “vital few”. It is learning to regularly ask the question, “Is this the very most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?” Greg does a great job of not just describing what an Essentialist is and why we should want to be one, but he also goes into a detailed explanation of how we can start asking the right questions, making the hard decisions, and executing the changes necessary to become an Essentialist in our own lives.
One of my favorite messages in the book was even with our drive to succeed and accomplish great things, we must also remember that we’ve only been given this one life. If we spend our entire life working and being busy and running from here to there, are we actually living a good life? Or are we just being tossed around by the chaotic waves of our busy-ness? We don’t have to do so much to be successful. We don’t have to fill every moment with activity to be productive. In fact, when we do, we often miss out on the most important things in life, like time wrestling on the living room floor with our kids, or taking a walk to view the beautiful colors of Fall, or going apple picking with our daughter and making 800 million different apple recipes to use up all those apples over the next month. By noticing the vital few things that are important in life, we can start making decisions to let go of the trivial many things that are filling up our calendar.
Greg also talks about the power of less leading to more. When we cut out the trivial many we are left with a more peaceful, quiet life with margins and space to breath and think. By allowing ourselves the opportunity to have quiet moments and space to reflect and think instead of rushing constantly to achieve the next thing on our list we will find the space to be more creative and more productive. Cutting out the trivial many allows for a greater focus on the vital few things that actually matter.
I highlighted something on just about every page of this book. It led me to stop and think about my life and what’s important. It has helped me take the time to consider the impact that I’m trying to make to help me determine if my daily actions are leading me closer to or further away from my goal. This is a phenomenal book that I would recommend to everyone who feels the pressure of the impossible task of trying to fit everything in to our daily lives.
Essentialism is available as a hardcover, paperback, ebook, or audiobook, so you can read it in whatever format you prefer. You should be able to find it just about anywhere books are sold, or take the convenient route, save yourself the drive and order it on Amazon: