Questions for Essentialism
This is a list of discussion questions to help work through the content of the book “Essentialism” By Greg McKeown.
You can Essentialism Questions Ch. 6
It is easy to get lost in the raw details and miss the significance of the facts. We have to learn to find the “lead” in our lives the way journalists analyze a story.
- Nora Ephron’s experience in journalism class in finding the lead of the story.
- Eastern Airlines flight 401 crashing a sound airplane by getting focused on a broken warning light.
- Thomas Friedman filtering the conversation
- The d.school at Stanford and the development of the affordable incubator for premature babies, the “embrace nest.”
- The importance of clarifying the question you are trying to answer when solving problems.
Questions for Reflection
- On p. 73-75 Nora Ephron’s account about the epiphany in high school journalism class is told. What is the difference between the “facts” of a story and the meaning or significance of a story?
- According to Ephron a good jounrlist is one that can not only see, sort and analyze the facts, but also give a sense of why it matters. She says this works in life as well as journalism. Are there areas in your life where you are swamped with data but don’t know what it all means? How can you make sense of this?
- In discussing the crash of flight 401, the crew focused on the light. The malfunctioning light was important, but not important enough to distract the crew from flying the plane. What are the warning issues in your life right now?
- Write a list of the top 5 priorities in your life (limit it to 5). How might the warning light issues in your life distract you from these?
- What is the 1 single problem that leads you to consistently hyper focus your attention from the big picture? Explore the story of how this has been happening?
- McKeown recommends keeping a journal as a tool to see the lead in our lives and identify subtle patterns. Complete one of the following sentences:
- I don’t take time to journal because _________.
- I do keep a journal but struggle with this because __________.
- I do keep a journal but I need to do better in this way ____________.
- If you keep a journal, go back more than 3 months and read over at least 1 month worth of entries. What are the headlines? What is the meaning of what you read? What are the trends?
- McKeown tells the story of a design team attempting to create an affordable incubator (less than the $20K average cost) in order to save the lives of premature babies. The team was successful when they visited places like Nepal to see where children throughout the world are born. Name 3 challenges that you are facing right now and think about how you can step away, and get a longer perspective for clarity. Reflect on ways you can “get out into the field.”
- sometimes we face problems that are resistant to classical solutions. Think of the problems you listed in #8 and write down some of the unusual details. What are the ways in which your problems and context are unique?