January 13, 2014
McKeown began his mission for a less overcommitted life after he left his wife and hours-old baby in the hospital for an ultimately unproductive client meeting. Punctuated with zippy, thoughtful one-liners, this guide to doing “less but better” offers strategies for determining what is truly necessary, and shedding what is not. Too many people fall for the having-it-all myth, and would benefit from shifting from a non-essentialist mindset (unable to distinguish and parse out the truly important) to an essentialist one (capable of identifying the goal), contends McKeown. Instead of attempting to achieve everything, readers need to figure out how to do the “right thing the right way at the right time.” According to the author, the first step is un-committing: resisting the urge to join clubs, take on hobbies, and maintain unsatisfying friendships. Readers can stop making casual commitments, and can get over their fear of missing out. By making better choices, and not taking on the weight of other people’s problems, readers can realize the non-essential nature of virtually everything in life, and learn to be present and spend more meaningful time with family and friends. This is a smart, concise guide for the overcommitted and under-satisfied.