‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller

Book review by guest blogger Sally Anne Butters


Unsurprisingly, this book wants you to focus on one thing. It’s a simple premise to help you focus and achieve your ‘goals’. But hang on, ‘goals’ is more than one thing, right? The book gets you to think about your ONE big Thing that your other goals could be ultimately leading to and how that breaks down into ONE Thing for the year, the next 90 days, the month, the week, and today.

Throughout the book this phrase is repeated: “What is the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

My favourite bit

Chapters 4-9 (part one of the book) dispell some commonly held beliefs or phrases regularly used in life such as ‘big is bad’ and ‘a balanced life’. Gary takes them at face value and dissects them to their base form, so you realise they’re not so black and white. My favourite of these is ‘multitasking’. I’ve definitely crowed (a little tongue-in-cheek) at men in my team or life in general that “men can’t multitask”. But the fact is, if you really think about it, none of us can truly effectively multitask. To complete a task well, concentrating on ONE Thing at a time is really the only way to do so to the best of your ability. It sounds obvious. A realisation you would surely come to yourself if you just had the time or inclination to raise the question… but we don’t usually have the time as business owners and it’s certainly not a question I would plan on dedicating a ONE Thing to.

Rest of the book

There are three parts to the book. Part two looks at using the ONE Thing principle for productivity whilst part three takes this on further to results and unlocking your potential.

For those of you who learn through visual interpretations, there’s some handy diagrams in the mix as well as key statements underlined. Then for those of us who like to recap our learning, there’s a BIG IDEAS round-up at the end of each chapter.

What people said at BookCLUB

Different parts of the book struck a chord with us at BookCLUB.

Tim liked the idea of identifying things you have to do as your ONE Thing – but don’t like or are not good at – and attack it when you are most energised during your day. Then Helen let us know about another book called The Power of When where you can understand what time of day we might be most productive at certain tasks and why.

Rafael was keen on Gary’s suggestion of focusing on work and your series of ONE Things between diary blocking for holidays in rewarding destinations – sounds pretty darn good to me too!

A theme for success came up again for discussion through this book as Gary highlighted Dr. Gail Matthews’ research that “individuals with written goals were 39.5% more likely to succeed” and “individuals who wrote their goals and sent progress reports to friends were 76.7% more likely to achieve”. So, formally articulating your goals and putting them to paper is great, having an accountability partner like a mentor or coach is even better.

Pretty nice round off for a blog on a business coach website eh?!


About BookCLUB

BookCLUB is a monthly meeting of business owners who want to continually grow and develop themselves through reading. On the last Thursday of each month, the group meet to discuss a hand-picked book chosen by business growth specialist Kevin Riley. Learnings, views and opinions are shared in an open forum, followed by group business coaching and the opportunity to network. New members are welcomed every month with a free session. Visit our events page for full details and to sign up today.


    About Our Guest Blogger: Sally Anne Butters

Sally Anne Butters is co-founder of Rev PR, a public relations agency based in Bloxham, Oxfordshire. She is a lively member of the ActionCOACH Warwick BookCLUB, a book review columnist for Elite Business magazine and has been an advocate for ActionCOACH’s business coaching programmes across the UK for over a decade. Rev PR creates valuable content and powerful PR campaigns designed to get brands into the press and in front of prospects. You can find TeamRev on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and at www.revpr.co.uk.