Book Category: Creative, Business, Motivational,

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results (book summary)

Author: Gary Keller, Jay Papasan,
Life Changing Principles
Quality of Writing
Overall Value
pros: Tons of golden nuggets, unique perspective, motivational
cons: None
overall rating

Quick Summary
Keller’s The One Thing is probably in our Top 3 books. There are so many lessons and golden nuggets about life, work, and finding purpose.

Key Insights

  • Extraordinary results are determined by how narrow you can make your focus
  • Do fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects
  • Small dominos can topple much larger dominos; stack them right
  • Success is built sequentially
  • The six lies between you and success: Everything matters equally, multitasking, a disciplined life, willpower is always on will-call, a balanced life, and big is bad
  • Equality is a lie
  • Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority
  • Mulitasking is a lie
  • Humans have 4,000 thoughts a day or a new thought every 14 seconds
  • Discipline and habit intersect
  • It takes 66 days to create a habit
  • Become a person of powerful habits
  • Willpower has a limited battery life
  • Those who can wait often do better in life
  • Counterbalancing gives the illusion of balance
  • Success = Being appropriate in the moments of your life
  • The secrete of getting ahead is getting started
  • How we phrase questions we ask ourselves determines the answers that eventually become our life
  • Connecting purpose, priority, and productivity determines how high above the rest successful individuals and profitable businesses rise
  • Happiness happens on the way to fulfillment
  • Purpose without priority is powerless
  • Resting is as important as working
  • To experience extraordinary results, be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon
  • Personal energy mismanagement is a silent thief of productivity
  • Your environment must support your goals

Practical Application

  • Create a success list as compared to a to-do list
  • Say “no” more
  • Be like a surgeon and avoid distractions; respect your work
  • Ask more quality questions
  • Determine you“System”
  • Block 4 hours a day for the “one thing”

Meaningful Quotes

“Be like a postage stamp— stick to one thing until you get there.” – Josh Billings

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The things which are most important don’t always scream the loudest.” – Bob Hawke

“To do two things at once is to do neither.” – Publilius Syrus

“Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.” – Steve Uzzell

“Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” – Arnold H. Glasow

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” – F. M. Alexander

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”  -George Bernard Shaw

“Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil…  . It’s more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time.” – Margarita Tartakovsky

“Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.” – Peter Drucker

“Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.” – George Halas

“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey

Interested? Buy the book here!