Back Page Notes – Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Every month I try and read 2-3 books with a focus on leadership, professional development, and philosophy. The problem is five or six months down the line I’d often forget what book I read and also forget the main points from the book. Writing notes in the margin worked for a while but it was quite a pain to go through all my books and look for notes. Writing notes on the back page of the book worked great but if I gave the book away I lost the notes. I finally started writing all my notes in a moleskin journal, snapping a picture or typing them on a 1-page PDF to share on DODReads.

This process morphed into the creation of professional Executive Summaries which I’m happy to share below. If you would like to join me and share your own executive summary please follow the guidance here.

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To Discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, and discipline to apply selective criteria to our choices.



Essentialism: – The disciplined pursuit of less

TO CHOOSE less but Better

TO ASK Am I investing in the right activities?

To PRIORITIZE your life so others do not

Pareto Principle:

20% of our efforts produce 80% of our results

“you cannot overestimate the unimportance of nearly everything”

If you answer is not a definite YES! Then it should be a NO

To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play and discipline to apply selective criteria to our choices.

To be beaten = The other team was better than you

To Lose= (Internal) you lost focus

Essential -Commanders- Intent: The one decision that settles 1000 later questions


If you are a reader or author and would like to publish a high quality executive summary from your personal reading list or military reading list that you would like published on DODReads.com please use this template. I will be happy to include your notes, a short bio, picture, and links to your website or socials.

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