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Become an Essentialist*

Tone of the Book is Off-Putting

For a book with a subtitle that starts with “how to,” the bulk of this book talks about the author’s philosophy on essentialism—what it is, why you should do it, how it can make a difference, essential qualities—not the practicalities. The “how to” part takes up only a fraction of the book. When I saw this book on one of my favorite book review sites, I was intrigued by it because the blurb suggested that this book would give information about how to not run yourself ragged (as we tend to do in modern life) and instead focus on what’s important. The blurb itself is somewhat encouraging and inviting. However, I found the tone of the book itself was actually completely different. Throughout all of the book, the author seems to be blaming and shaming the reader for his or her past actions (and possible future ones) in the choices they’ve made in their lives if they don’t follow his concept of essentialism. Honestly, I don’t think people learn the best that way. People should be gently encouraged to try a new system if their old one isn’t working for them, not insulted and belittled as the author often does in this book. In places, too, the author uses some outrageous examples. One of his concepts is that we need to place more value on time so that we will be compelled to use it wisely. In one place, he says something along the lines of, why do something that only pays you $10 a minute if you could be paid $100 for that minute? Who among his readership would be getting paid $10 a minute anyway? It just was an absurd example that jumped out at me. I believe some concepts here are valuable, but I didn’t appreciate the authors strident and belittling tone.