Book Review: The One Thing

This book is really deep. While the title is easily marketable I felt the insight was really profound and one of those books I’ll definitely need to reference throughout my journey.


  • 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
  • Not everything deserves equal time
  • Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority
  • Mulitasking is a lie and it does not work
  • Discipline and habit intersect
  • It takes 66 days to create a habit
  • Become a person of powerful habits
  • Willpower is limited
  • Success = Being appropriate in the moments of your 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 extra ordinary results, be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon (See Paul Graham’s article: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule)
  • Personal energy mismanagement is a silent thief of productivity
  • Your environment must support your goals


  • Create a success list as compared to a to-do list
  • Say “no” more
  • Be like a surgeon and avoid distractions; respect my work
  • Ask quality questions
  • Determine my “System”
  • After you have picked your one thing, your number one priority should be protecting the time you use to work with your ONE thing.
  • You should reserve four hours of non-interrupted time from your day only to work with your ONE thing.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Chinese proverb

So too must the journey toward extraordinary results. To determine that first step (and every step thereafter) we have to ask the right question. Keller calls it the Focusing Question:

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

Once you’re asking the right question, the key is to use it to narrow down all the things that you could do, to the ONE Thing that you SHOULD do. Then it goes like this:

The ONE Thing you should do today feeds into your ONE Thing this week, then this month… and so on. These small steps create the path to your ONE big goal.

“One thing” is in reference to an idea. Everyone should pick one thing and focus completely to the one thing only.

You can get your copy from here.

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