It is the ability to choose which makes us human.–Madeleine L'Engle

If we've recently corresponded via e-mail, you will have noticed I have an auto-responder that says I may be slow to answer e-mails because I am on deadline for my next book.

This was inspired by the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Thank you, Cory Hansen, one of our newsletter subscribers, and Macy Robison, my new COO, for the recommendations. When two or more people recommend I read a book, I figure it's the universe giving me a nudge.

Here are some snippets:
  1. Paradox of success: The more successful you are, the more you become a 'go to' person, so the more you have to do. This results in a dilution of your efforts. "The pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure."
  2. Deciding what is essential: The 90% rule. Score all opportunities with a 0 to 100; if it doesn't get a 90 or higher, then the answer is no. You wouldn't be happy with a 65 on a test "Why would you deliberately choose to feel that way about a choice in your life?" McKeown provides practical tips about how to say no gracefully.
  3. Say 'yes' or 'no'?: a. Write down the opportunity; b. Write down three minimum criteria; c. Write down three extreme criteria. Even if it meets the minimum criteria, if it doesn't meet two of the three extreme criteria, pass.
  4. Choosing is hard: "For the first time–literally–substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it."–Peter Drucker
  5. But essential: “The crime which bankrupts men and states is that of job-work—declining from your main design to serve a turn here or there.–Ralph Waldo Emerson
And then there's this:

"Nonessentialists say yes because of feelings of social awkwardness and pressure. They say yes automatically, without thinking, often in pursuit of the rush of having pleased someone. But Essentialists know that after the rush comes the pang of regret. They will soon feel bullied and resentful – both at the other person and at themselves.  It’s not about saying no to everything, but to say no frequently and gracefully to everything but what is truly vital."

If you read The Magic Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, you'll like Essentialism. Highly recommend.
For those of you who want to disrupt yourself by making money work for you, instead of you for money, check out Against #shortermism by Claudio Brocado, an independent global investor, formerly at LeggMason, Fidelity and Putnam. All of the proceeds will go to Young Investors Society. I am lobbying my daughter earnestly to get her to set up a chapter at her school. As Claudio writes, “If you are young, and don’t invest, you are throwing away millions of dollars that could be yours over a lifetime.” Even if you are no longer young, there's a Chinese proverb that says, "the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is to today."

For National Women's Day, I loved this from Ayse Birsel. It honors Frances Hesselbein, former CEO of the Girl Scouts. She is regarded as one of the greatest CEOs of our time. 

For episode 13 of the Disrupt Yourself podcast, my guest is Garry Ridge, the CEO of WD-40 and co-author of Helping People Win at Work. He has served in that role for more than two decades, repeatedly disrupting the processes and the culture inside a company that’s best known for a selling a can of oil that silences squeaks. You don’t have to look hard for evidence of his company’s success. Try naming any other can of grease. Click here for the transcript.

Thoughts? Do tell!

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P.S. We are going to ask Amazon to send (1) copy of Against #shortermism, (1) copy of Essentialism, and (1) copy of Helping People Win at Work, to three of you wonderful newsletter subscribers. If you would like to be eligible, hit enter, and include the name of the book(s) in the subject line!

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