Every once in a while, I read a business book that makes me think “Eureka! I’ve found it!” That’s exactly how I felt when I read this simple book called “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results”. I call this a simple book because it’s central premise is that focusing on just one thing will help you succeed in all areas of your life. This simple idea of narrowing down your focus to just one thing can help improve your: business, finances, personal life, physical health, key relationships, and even your spiritual life.
The number one bestselling book was written by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Keller is the co-founder of Keller Williams, one of the top real estate companies in the United States. Papasan is an editor at HarperCollins Publishers and is an established speaker and corporate trainer. In this book, the authors bring together a great collection of stories and science that helps support their ideas.
So, what is this book about? The premise is that if you want to reach your goals you need to focus your attention on just one thing at a time. You need to constantly ask yourself this focusing question: “What’s the ONE thing I can do, such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?”
While this may sound almost ridiculously simple, think about how many of us are living life by doing completely the opposite. Instead of focusing on just one thing, we are focusing on a million things at once. This is why entrepreneurs can so easily become victims of burnout. As one of the authors, Gary Keller, points out, “It is not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it is that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.”
If you are like me, perhaps you too have wondered why is it that everyone has the same number of hours in a day, and yet some people seem to get so much more done? Well, according to this book, success is a result of doing just ONE thing until it’s done.
What I liked about this book is that the authors do a great job of showing us that multi-tasking doesn’t work. For years, I have struggled with my inability to successfully multi-task. I don’t know about you, bu I have always found that multi-tasking left me feeling scattered, frustrated, and exhausted. And yet, I thought it was the secret sauce to being productive. After reading this book, I finally understood that the reason multi-tasking doesn’t work for me… is because multi-tasking just doesn’t work! For this one idea alone, the book is a game changer.
“If you are chasing two rabbits, you won’t catch either one.”
~ Russian Proverb
The book goes on to tackle some other commonly accepted productivity beliefs. Here’s just a few:
- Everything we do matters equally – is a lie. Doing the most important thing is always the most important thing
- The successful person leads a disciplined life – is a lie. Success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.
- We all just need more willpower – is a lie. We need to do our most important work when our willpower is at its strongest.
What I especially liked about this book is that it helps the reader gain clarity on what their ONE thing is and then formulate a plan to move forward. The authors provide concrete solutions and a clear road-map on how you can make your ONE thing your highest priority. It’s also helpful they address all the things that can derail us, which they fondly refer to as the “Four Thieves,” and then offer some advice on goal-setting and time blocking.
“The ONE Thing” is a quick and easy read. It is well written with examples and stories to back up the authors ideas. It also includes drawings throughout the book to help support the written text. Finally, I like that every chapter ends with summary of the “Big Ideas”, which helps to cement what you’ve read.
I highly recommend this book to any business professional that wants to work smarter, not just harder. This book can help you cut through the clutter of both your professional and personal life, allowing you to better focus on the things in life that really matter.