What is Your ONE Thing? A Book Review


A Book Review of The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

By Jocelin Higgins

Do you ever feel like your life is out of balance? That you are swimming upstream against the racing current and watching the salmon pass you by? Do you ever wonder what your one thing could be that would turn it all around? Perhaps you have found your one thing, but just don’t know how to focus on it consistently, so that you can become an expert at it.

book review

Maybe you found your one thing and it involved a career that had a prime time (a professional athlete, model, musician, etc.) and you are discouraged now, because you are older and just really want to excel at something and make a difference in the world and leave a legacy, as they say.

Well, I’m here to tell you not to give up. It’s never too late to find and carry out your one thing–to live passionately and be more fulfilled. It’s not too late for more creativity or to have more financial security or to strive for greatness. This book review aims to help you!

What is Your ONE Thing?

I found some real life, direct and very useful information and strategies in this book that I read and enjoyed called THE ONE THING:The Suprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. I must first say, that it isn’t a book that helps you DETERMINE your best possible career, calling or ideal job per say, but it does guide you to ask yourself questions in all areas of your life and then directs you once you have found them. It helps you to get laser focused on the clearest path toward your goals, so that you KNOW what you are reaching for in all of the areas of your life and how to get there the most effectively.

What are the Six Lies Between You and Success

  1.  With Your Time, Everything Matters Equally
  2.  Multitasking is Effective
  3.  A Disciplined Life is How You Succeed
  4.  Willpower is Always On Will-Call
  5.  A Balanced Life is Possible
  6.  Big is Bad

Gary and Jay really speak about thinking BIG, but they describe the way to get there in simple, applicable steps. Just like most self-help books though, you need to make the time for the important aspects of your life. This is what can be the most difficult. So, they have formulated what they call the focusing question: What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? Then, you apply this question to whatever area of your life you want to improve. This book review will explain more.

Dreams Need Systems

It is easy to conjure up goals and dreams and put them out there, but you really need to put a system in place to get there. Not to mention, taking the necessary risks. Many people are afraid of taking risks because of the money factor. Do I take out debt to get a degree? Do I take out a loan to start a business? These are stressful things to think about. Four years ago, I had ten grand in credit card debt and now, It’s down to only two and will be paid off this year. This I feel I’ve made some progress on because the interest was high and I was just kicking myself that I was paying all this extra money on it. So, I set up a system that automatically took out a payment of a certain amount each month and I could easily pay extra when I could afford it and now my credit score is in the 800’s.

Unfortunately, I still have some student loan debt that I’m widdling away on from 2003 because I hadn’t asked my formative question: What is the one thing that I can do right now to pay off my student loan? The answer of course begins with: make bigger payments, which leads to find a way to increase my income and not spend as much, which leads to creating tangible things to sell or finding higher paying work…ect. Do you see how this works?

The Three Main Commitments to Make

The writers recommend you commit to three main things:

1) Follow your Path to Mastery. In order to excel at something, you need to practice it often. Studies show 10,000 hours working on a skill, leads to mastery of it. But, as my college swim coach would say, “perfect practice leads to perfect swimming in events.”

2) Move from E to P (Entrepreneurial to Purposeful) in your actions which means to push through on projects and goals and be more purposeful with them instead of jumping from one idea to the next. In our ADD society, here is an extremely vital tactic to carry out.

3) To Live the Accountability Cycle, hold yourself accountable to your commitments. Ask others to hold you accountable. Since there is a link between what you do and what you get, take complete ownership of your outcomes by not blaming others or by playing the victim. On page 184 they state, “Accountable people absorb setbacks and keep going. Accountable people persevere through problems and keep pushing forward.”

The Four Thieves of Productivity

The authors stress that you know what The Four Thieves of Productivity are and how to avoid them as you are focusing and answering your formulating question.

  1. Inability to Say “no”
  2. Fear of Chaos
  3. Poor Health Habits
  4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals
Now, if all of this confuses you due to the fact that it’s an abbreviated version in this book review and you don’t know how to apply it to your life, the last chapter gives you some sample questions in these areas of your life: Your Personal Life, Your Family, Your Job, and Your Work Team to help you get started.

My Book Review: What I Didn’t Like About the Book

There were a couple of things that moved me the wrong way in this book. From a women’s perspective, I felt the success quote from Bill Cosby was difficult to read, considering recent allegations against him. Also, there is a story of how Sam Walton of Walmart avoided paying $11 to $13 million in estate taxes that I found to be in poor taste as corporations such as Walmart really should be paying their fair share of taxes to support public services where everyone benefits.

But, overall the productivity teachings in this book are well worth the read. Just close your eyes when you come to the above examples so you don’t cringe.

So, hey, I want to give a copy of this book away to “pay it forward” because I won this book by commenting on a blog post on Smart Passive Income. It only seems fair after all since I was given this gift. I took me a bit of time to get to this book review, but I hope you enjoyed it!

The ONE Thing Website

 Additionally, If you are a tactile learner, the book has a website, www.the1thing.com with a plethora of tools and worksheets to work through to really get your personal goals set using the formulating question in all areas of your life as well as describing how to time block your four hours a day to focus on your ONE Thing.

Win A Copy of This eBook By Commenting Below!

What is your ONE Thing for today?

Also, what did you think of this book review? Was it helpful? Did it makes sense? Let me know! I will be writing more book reviews in the upcoming months and would love to know what you specifically like to read and appreciate hearing about!

I’ll choose a lucky winner with a creative post comment and send you this e-book for free!



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Works Cited
Keller, Gary, and Jay Papasan. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth behind Extraordinary Results. Austin, TX: Bard, 2012. Print.
Unknown. “Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Allegations.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
Unknown. “Criticism of Walmart.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.