Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” is a great reminder of what is important. It describes why you do things, and why you should not do things. And it takes the “death bed perspective”: How will you make this life its most meaningful and essential?

The concept of Essentialism is mostly about being ruthless in cutting out crap in your life. Get to the important essentials, and realize that most of the rest is just noise and other people’s agendas (not your own). Having a sense of self, purpose, goals, and well-being all tie in to this as well, since they serve as the foundation and filter for one’s day and year.

McKeown hones in on the ills of modern life: feeling over-burdened with too much to do in too little time, growing piles of email, competing priorities, the whims of organizational dynamics, and more. As solution, he recommends learning the art of “no”, and how much more empowering in the end it can be than saying “yes” to too much. An assortment of examples and anecdotes are thrown in for good measure, though sometimes the feel-good stories frankly have a tenuous relationship to the tenets of essentialism.

For a real estate investor, this kind of book helps re-ground you as to why you are going through all the work and complexities of the real estate business. It also helps you focus, both on your business and how it fits within your larger life. It can help you direct real estate investing within your life as an engine for bigger and broader personal vision.

There are overlapping ideas and benefits between this Essentialism book and Gary Keller’s “The One Thing“. Both are recommended reads to re-ground, prioritize, and get the most out of a life not based on volume but instead based on quality.