The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan is about focus, eliminating the crap, and commit to be the best, and be accountable to make it happen!


1:19 – The path of mastery

2:33 – Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

4:08 – If you own a business, you need to market. To market, you need a plan. Plan for that one thing.


Hi. I’m Roger Bryan. Today, I’m going to be reviewing the book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, number 1 New York Times best seller. The overall summary of this book is about focusing in on that one thing, eliminating the crap and committing to be the absolute best and having a plan for accountability. In this book, I’m going to break this own into four parts, the entrepreneurial part, the personal part, the sales, and then the marketing philosophy that I got out of this book. The first thing is is that there’s a saying that they have in the book. “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one. Extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.”

This is a great book. I wish that I would have read this book a couple years ago. It really takes me back to like April 2014 where I was still trying to fumble around after selling my last company and what I was going to do and was working on, I think, 17 projects and when I really started to narrow it down to that absolute one which I’ve now spent two years working on, the success has been exponential compared to not doing that. There are three primary rules that this book outlines that help you to find, focus, and keep on that one thing. The first one is the path of mastery. I was reminded by a friend Mike Vega recently that we’re training new sales reps in our organization and he said, “Remember the 10,000 hour rule,” and I really sat down and thought about it and from a data science perspective which is what we’re doing now, I’ve only put 7,600 hours into that over the last two years so I’m not at that point of mastery yet but I continue to work on it.

The next one is entrepreneurial versus purposeful. This is a great one because too often people say that I’m doing my best. That’s not good enough. There are a lot of people doing their best. It’s not good enough for any of them. If you’re going to do something, do it the best that it can be done, not the best that you can do it, but the absolute best that it can be done. That’s living with purpose. That’s focusing in on the one thing. The next thing is live the accountability cycle. You have to have an accountability cycle where there’s an undeniable commitment between you and what you want to get. When you outline that and you stick to that goal, there’s nothing in this world that can stop you and this book will help guide you through that process.

The next one is the application that I saw to sales and this is something that I just saw inside myself and inside my organization is that things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. That’s actually a quote from Van Gogh which I really like. Equality in business is a lie. I’m not talking about from an HR or equal opportunity perspective but I’m talking about from a task management perspective. If your business needs money, the number one thing you need to be working on is sales. You need to forget everything else. Stop developing your products, stop trying to come up with a snazzy hook. You need to go out and you need to generate sales. You need to beg, borrow, and steal that money from any customer that will give it to you so that you can build a successful business and do all of those other things that you want to do. Concentrating on that one thing that you need to do most is vital. More importantly, you have to know what that one thing is.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” Alan Lakein.Tweet This! 

The last thing was from a marketing perspective and I can relate to this from some times in the past. “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” Alan Lakein. Having a plan is okay. It’s a good start. What drives me nuts is like when I’ve had students in the past that create these beautiful vision boards of all these things that they want and they put on there, “I’m going to have that in one year.” I’m like, “Great. How are you going to get there? What are you going to do today? What are you going to do this week? What are you going to do this month, this quarter, this year? How are you going to get there?” Most people have no plan. This book, The One Thing, will help you to define that plan. It will help you to build those stepping stones and those segments in perfect analytical, chronological, and strategic order.

If you own a business, you need to market. To market, you need a plan. Plan for that one thing. That was my marketing lesson. This book, I can see why it’s a number 1 best seller. I listened to it as an audio book. I liked it so much that I then bought it as a hard copy as well so I could reread it. You can see my little notepad so that I can make sure that I give you guys the right information. Check this book out, The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. If you’re struggling with focus in life, if you’re struggling with an understanding of what you want to be doing for the next week, month, year, five years, pick up The One Thing, read it, live it. You will be successful. I’m Roger Bryan and this was a book review The One Thing. Thank you.

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Roger Bryan
Roger is the Founder at Enfusen. He was #40 on Entrepreneur Magazines Most Influential Digital Marketers in 2016. His past companies have made INC Magazines Fastest Growing Companies in 2011, 2012, & 2013.