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The One Thing by Gary Keller

The full title of this book by Gary Keller is

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book Three Stars. This means it is Worthwhile.

Ask yourself why The One Thing is a long book.

This book caused me to have mixed feelings.

The idea that you should focus on the area where you can have the biggest impact on performance makes a great deal of sense. It’s the logic for the weakest link of the chain and the main idea behind the Theory of Constraints.

On the other hand, one is a number that scares me because it leaves you vulnerable. One person to love, one source of income, if you’re a business owner, one product, one customer, or one way of finding customers. In these terms, it doesn’t make sense.

The idea can be twisted too far. I felt that some readers would take the idea of concentrating on one literally.

I’m a fan of the 80/20 rule. Concentrate on the 20% of activities that brings 80% of rewards. That seems more balanced to me.

In the first section of the book, about the lies used to mislead us, I felt the author was setting up straw men, that is, false parodies of ideas to then debunk.

It seems ironic to me that’s a book about the one thing is quite long and talks about many things to live this way.

I think part of my problem is that I refuse to accept the concept of the one thing. I prefer the idea of the critical few. Focus is great and you should ask yourself a version of the question so you keep a clear priority and work to it.

The book encourages you to plan backwards (an excellent idea) by continually focusing on the one thing that is needed previously.

Let’s say but you decide the one thing you want to do is to be a great father. A very worthy objective.

And then you ask yourself what’s the one thing you can do to be a great father and decide it’s to prepare the children for a life of independence so they can stand on their own, if needs be.

And you decide the one thing to do that best is to make sure they have an excellent education and through it commit to a lifetime of learning.
The one thing to do that is to send them to an excellent private school so they have every advantage.

That means you need to earn a great deal of money, so either have to work extremely hard to become a successful employee who is regularly promoted or through your own business. And that means long hours away from home.

I feel this chain of logic makes sense until you recognise what it might cost you. It means missing out on your children growing up and all the pleasures and special memories that brings. It also probably means you’re divorced because your wife hasn’t been a priority. The sad result is that despite your best intentions, you’d look back on your life and realise that you hadn’t been a great father.

Rather than focusing on the one thing, if you focus on the critical few, you can get a better result because you’re able to find balance. True it never balances but you can see which bit is most out of kilter and focus on that one thing until something else comes the weakest link.

The book makes some excellent points but I also worry about where it can take you. I find I can’t give it a strong recommendation but my three stars means that it is worth reading.

There are many thousand of business books, you can see the full list of my reviews at Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister (Please click). I've also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs (Please click).

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