Book Review: ONE THING by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan


The book One Thing by Keller and Papasan expresses how individuals attain extraordinary results in life. This book is based on a simple principle of 80/20 principle of Pareto which rests on the idea that minor inputs, efforts or causes can result to major rewards or outputs. This means that 80% of one’s results come from the 20% of the efforts put in place. This is therefore evident in this book whereby an individual has to allocate the right time to the ONE THING on a consistent basis so as to attain the extraordinary results.

In this book, it is also clear that a ‘to-do list’ is essential when applying the Pareto’s principle because the ONE THING that an individual will focus on will be his/her central idea towards the attainment of success, happiness or any fulfillment. This does not mean that an individual can only have one goal but it implies that it for one to attain the extraordinary results s/he has to set a priority which will be worked on.    

When reading the book it is clear that there are six lies which exist between an individual and his/her success which include multitasking, all matters equally, big is bad, will power is always on will-call. These elements contribute greatly towards one’s failure. the  authors presents  one big question “What’s the ONE Thing I can do today such that by doing it everything else will be easier or even unnecessary? ” which individuals need to question themselves before pursuing anything in their life. This question will help one to understand one essential thing that needs to be done so as to attain the extraordinary success in that particular area. It is therefore necessary to create some habits which will help one embrace the concept of ONE THING.

for an individual to be able to implement this  concept, the authors of the book suggest that an individual has to time block his/her ONE THING as early as possible by allocating four hours a day to that particular thing. it is also necessary to time block the ONE THING by ensuring that nothing is given a priority until the ONE THING is accomplished.  This is evident in the statement that “Until my ONE thing is done—everything else is a distraction!” it is also necessary to time block one’s planning time.

The authors have also noted that there are four factors which can hinder the productivity of an individual. These include the inability to say no, the environmental factors which do not support an individual’s goal, fear of chaos and poor health habits. For one to be productive, the book indicates that one has to rely on focus by concentrating on the one thing which will make everything else to be much easier or make them unnecessary.

It is also clear that the authors’ points are more rhetoric than arguments since they pose challenges to the philosophical idea of balance which they eventually conclude that balance does not exist in real life situations. He therefore argues that balance is a grand idea which is ideal but neither practical nor unrealistic. When the philosophers talk about ethics, the authors of the ONE THIN G talk about the work-life balance. This book is therefore very essential in one’s life since it will inspire one to attain the extraordinary success in his/her area of interest.

You can buy this book from Amazon here on this image:

Published by Samuel Ng'ang'a Mwangi

One day I had too much to tell but there was no one to tell the story. I had to write articles, print them and then give them out to anyone who cared to read. Author of "So You Want To Get Into Courtship?" A Guide To Purposeful Christian Courtship. I write and rewrite on my blog www.mwelisa.com.

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