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April 12, 2013

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The One Thing

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:19 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan, Bard Press, 240 pages, $24.95, Hardcover, April 2013, ISBN 9781885167774

Many people consider multitasking a modern skill, or even necessity, that results in higher productivity, revealing one’s level of ability, improvisation, and creativity. In truth, the efficacy of multitasking is a myth. When we do many things at once, each task is done with limited effort. This same fallacy is true in terms of vision. We often think our vision can support a wide range of ideas, but instead, its power is diminished when we branch out into too many arenas.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s new book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, argues that we need to focus on “ONE thing” rather than many things, both in terms of action and vision.

You only have so much time and energy, so when you spread yourself out, you end up spread thin. […] The problem with trying to do too much is that even if it works, adding more to your work and your life without cutting anything brings a lot of bad with it: missed deadlines, disappointing results, high stress, long hours, lost sleep, poor diet, no exercise, and missed moments with family and friends—all in the name of going after something that is easier to get than you might imagine.

And that is what this book promises: to make success easier for you to achieve. It is a book about finding and following one’s singular passion, and a practical guide to narrowing in on what tasks really contribute to success. The authors ask us to envision a line of standing dominos, telling us that when you focus on the “ONE thing,” it’s like a line of dominos that increases in size. That one regular-sized domino can knock down increasingly big dominos.

To discover your ONE thing, Keller and Papasan suggest you ask yourself this question:

What’s the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

That’s the trick: your one thing must have a direct influence and impact on all the other things on your to-do list. And you can apply this process to any area of your life that feels overwhelming or unfulfilling. By “going small,” we can ask better questions, find more useful answers, and manage our work and life in ways that will bring us the same fulfillment faster (and less stressfully) than trying to do everything at once, or doing too much too soon.

The One Thing is as much a book on what not to do as it is a book about what to do. It has an incredible amount of insight into productivity, and how our productivity is tied to our energy and health. And the good news is, with this book in hand, we can start doing it (and stop trying to do too much) right now.