The One Thing

Gary Keller 2012
Read: 2013

First and foremost, any book that contains a reference to any of my amazing family is a great book for me to to read. Mr. Keller praises my artist brother Pat Matthews, and his focus and ability to paint one painting each and every day. Way to go Pat!


As you can see from this section of my website, I love reading of leadership books. Some of my guiding thinkers include Steven Covey, Daniel Pink, Chip & Dan Heath, David Allen and Jim Collins. I read Keller’s book shortly after visiting and speaking with brain scientists from The Center for Brain Health in Dallas, Texas then reading Make Your Brain Smarter, by Dr. Sandra Chapman. Both books hit hard campaigning against the idea of multi-tasking. Both say there is no such thing. Both hit on the idea of spending sustained time on one complex task. Dr. Chapman says to do it to make your brain smarter, while Gary Keller says to do it to be more successful in everything you do.

Some of the main points of Keller’s book:

  • “Don’t fear big. Fear mediocrity.”
  • What is the one thing I can do such by doing it that everything else will become easier or unnecessary. See chart below. 
  • Step one is often to find out what others have learned. 
  • Priority matters. Priorities don’t. 
  • Productivity is not about working hard. It’s about priorities, planning and fiercely protecting your time.  – Margarita Tartakovsky
  • Block four hours of time early in your day. Or as much as you can
  • I love the chart on the limits of intelligence without a clear sense of purpose. Only purposeful work allows for great breakthroughs. See chart below. 
  • Take care of your body with diet and exercise. If nothing else, get 10,000 steps a day. 
  • “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the sail winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  Mark Twain



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