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The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  51,944 ratings  ·  3,652 reviews
The One Thing explains the success habit to overcome the six lies that block our success, beat the seven thieves that steal time, and leverage the laws of purpose, priority, and productivity.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Bard Press (TX)
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Lyn Mettler Very worthy! Life changing if you ask me. A simplified version of the 80/20 rule.
Elwood Bergman I listen to a lot of audiobooks. I don't highlight things. I loved this book. BUT I found it hard to get through in audio. It consists of many quotabl…moreI listen to a lot of audiobooks. I don't highlight things. I loved this book. BUT I found it hard to get through in audio. It consists of many quotable phrases which would work well in print, but don't flow well in audio. Whatever way you have to do it, do read this book!(less)

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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  51,944 ratings  ·  3,652 reviews

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BuenoBomb aka Andre Bueno
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This book is really deep. While the title is easily marketable I felt the insight was really profound and one of those books I'll definitely need to reference throughout my journey.

- Extraordinary results are determined by how narrow you can make your focus
- Do fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects
- Small dominos can topple much larger dominos; stack them right
- Success is built sequentially
- Not everything deserves equal time
- Achievers always w
Nov 25, 2014 rated it did not like it

The book's big secret: concentrate on ONE thing at a time.

How does it take 140 pages to get ONE Firm Grasp of ONE concept?

State it ONE Hundred different ways.

Manoj Arora
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My learnings from the book
(1) If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either
(2) Go narrow and deep. Ignore all the things that you could do, and do only the things that you should do
(3) Not all things matter equally. Find those that matter the most.
(4) You only have so much time and energy. When you spread yourself out, you end up being thin.
(5) No one is self made. No one succeeds alone. No one. There are many people, wishes and hundreds of situations that must fall in place for you to suc
W. Whalin
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
I read THE ONE THING and it is a well-crafted book. I didn’t need to use my yellow highlighter on it because the authors (or some graphic artist) underlined passages throughout on the text—as though the reader did it. The text is well-executed with summary bullet points at the end of each chapter and graphically pleasing with pull quotations.

Here’s my reason for giving this book two stars. The authors get commended for their execution but not their content. The contents are little but worn phras
Dark Matter
Jan 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
This and more reviews, interviews etc on Dark Matter Zine, an online magazine. This review was written by James Kennedy for Dark Matter Zine.

Self-help is fantasy for some people and both genres serve similar purposes for the reader. Both genres stimulate our imaginations and allow us to step into the shoes of someone much more powerful than ourselves. Both genres stimulate creativity and encourage lateral thinking, and both genres are capable of conjuring up idylli
Taylor Pearson
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I hated to love this book. But, love it I did.

Another 250 page business book about a concept that can be summed up in 1 sentence? Yes. Another one.

About 70% into the book I made a note that, “this book just drills. It’s attacking one point in space from every possible angle. the one thing of the books is it to teach people the ONE Thing.”

Similar to Work the System, the book is short on actionable advice. Why? You don’t need it. All you need to do is figure out your One Big Thing and HA
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I recently finishing reading the book, “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. As part of my book group I hosted a live call with Jay Papasan and members of the group last week. This book was very insightful. I judge books in this genre based on asking myself, “How much, if at all, will this book change my daily behavior?” Based on that criteria I would have to rank this book very high as it will change my behavior.

The premise of The ONE Thing is that at any given point in time, there is
Amir Tesla
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: productivity
It was a really nice book, very well-written and scientifically backed

Gary Keller argues that you must always focus on one and only one thing, regarding the goal you have that by accomplishing it, next steps towards the same goal becomes easier.

I think this book has a tremendous potential to increase one's productivity and effectiveness if the given pieces of advice are applied.

I really liked the book and would definitely recommend it to those who seek success.
Krishna Chaitanya
Focusing question: What is The ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything becomes easier or unnecessary?

The book resonates to answer the above question in different ways so as to make you become the most productive self. It focuses on deriving the One thing among the many tasks you daily surround with and completing that task will achieve roughly 80% of the results (Pareto principle).

The introduction was off-putting but soon you'll forget about it the moment to you move to the first c
Jorge Fonseca
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
I disliked the book, it's a meshed up version other self help books, like "How to win friends and influence people" from Dale Carnegie; "Think and grow rich" from Napoleon Hill and others alike.
It's a boring read, you get the message 20 pages into the book, and the rest of the book is repetitive.

The reason I give it 2 starts is that at least the main message is interesting, focus in accomplish one thing at a time, forget everything else. That's it, I just gave you the whole book and saved you so
Mario Tomic
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very powerful book on the topic of productivity and setting yourself up for big goals. My favorite part of "The One Thing" was goal setting, the way Gary Keller is breaking down big goals into small chunks is just genius. This books is a must read for anyone who feels overwhelmed by too many things to do on their daily schedule. ...more
David Huff
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Often, motivational books take a few key points, which could be summarized on an index card, and with varying degrees of agony stretch them to fill a book. "The One Thing" could've fallen into this trap with a significant thud, since it basically is about ... well ... one thing. In a word: Focus.

That said, let me give Gary Keller some credit for taking one simple concept, and doing a consistently good job elaborating on it and keeping his book relevant and interesting all the way through. The co
Loy Machedo
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loy Machedo’s Book Review – The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

I like thought provoking books especially those which are easy to read and light in its content. Gary Keller & Jay Papasan’s ‘The One Thing’ fits in beautifully within that framework of being engaging, interesting and substantive.

The Book starts off with a beautiful Russian Quote – If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one. And then the content moves on to revolve around one single theme ‘The One Thing’.

The Fi
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You know those rare and special times when you pick up a book that changes your life?

This is one of those books. What a fantastic book! I wish I had this book entering University or my first job.

I highly recommend it to everyone. I'd give it more stars if I could. 10/5 stars!
Oleksandr Golovatyi
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book on time management and productivity. The main purpose of the book is to tell that people can not effectively perform several things at the same time. By nature, people are not multitasking. They can only quickly switch from one task to another, while consuming a lot of time and effort to refocus. Although outwardly it looks like multitasking, it's just a false idea. If you want to achieve really high results, focus only on one task, in the most important case, spending 20% ​​of your ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Shayan Kh
Shelves: philosophy
This book was amazing!
Though it's language is the language of cheap self-help books, but the content is of best qualities. Those who know me, know how skeptical I am. But this book satisfied my skepticism. The author has done his research. And has done it well. He used major psychology studies and used them just right. His conclusion of these studies has been perfectly right. Even better than some psychology professors at major universities!
He offers really great minimalistic tools and methods f
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
One of the authors, Gary Keller, was in my hometown of Orlando, Florida on April 22nd. I also had the privilege of having a quick overview back in February, with both authors, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. I began the book after the first preview in February. Great read - fun with stories to drive home the data. Liked the quick chapters, as with business focused books, too much at a time simply overwhelms my ability to process the good stuff. I visited the website,, and many of the ...more
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it
I find it hard on how to rate this book. I go back and forth on if I should rate it 2 or 4 stars, so I settled in the middle with 3.

It could be worth 4 stars, because it is a great anthology of what motivates us and keeps going towards our ONE thing.

It could be worth 2 stars, because it is really redundant and doesn't really show any great resources or research behind each figure.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The key message is work hard by focusing on one thing. That one thing should inspire and get you out of bed in the morning. As self help books go it was not bad with some insightful strategies and examples.
Jan 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mid-to
Bad writing. Don't waste your time.

The author takes a superficial (deluded, even) take in his case studies to make his point about the "One Thing". He uses Apple, Microsoft and Google for companies that do one thing and does it very well. For anyone who knows the history of these companies knows this is simplistic or outright misleading. There is repeated use of case studies in which the author is obviously ignorant of the industry and the relevant market and technological forces at play These
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not a reader of self-help books. I came across a recommendation by a columnist in a business magazine, so I thought I'll give it a go.
I liked the book. It brought together many well-known ideas: 80/20 principle, the marshmallow test (which has recently been debunked), the stretching of willpower (which I know very well from Dan Ariely), the importance of sleep and physical health in general, the huge drawbacks of multitasking and the power of focus, etc.
I give this book 4 stars instead of 5
Jary Welker
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan have hit a home run for me. I have read enough books on success and growth to know that in order to make a book stand out and be read there may need to be a premise or principle so different to entice a read to pick it up an finish it. Their's is the number "One."

While I have read many books on goal setting and picking priorities, this one some how stood out as I flipped through the chapters and saw the section "The Lies: They Mislead And Derail Us." Why that struck m
Wendy Papasan
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Even though I read many iterations of this book, the final edition was a powerful read. If you are like me and lack focus in this chaotic world and long for a break from the distractions at work and home, this book is a lifesaver.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t really find anything new or enlightening in this book. It restates information from other books, so if you’re widely read, you’ll not likely find it very interesting either.

Every time I started reading my hard copy, I’d become frustrated at the lack of new info. At about one third through, I ended up listening to the rest on Audible, so I could listen at 1.5 or 2x speed, just to get through it quickly and move on. It was kind of a drag.

It isn’t necessarily a bad book but perhaps better
Ashley  Jacobson
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was life changing. The message is to do as little as possible and achieve as much as possible. That doesn't mean be lazy. It means figure out the most powerful things you can do. Things that will make everything else easier or unnecessary. It's like a domino effect. You push the first small domino, and it starts a chain reaction with huge results. I can't even begin to describe this book because there are so many important stories and details that you just have to read to appreciate. Y ...more
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Quite often the writer repeats others and doesn't own up to it. His repetition of the books title quickly grows annoying and I feel a lack of 'density' throughout the book. Even though the writing is rather boring and he presents nothing new, the book inspired me think about priorities and choices in my own life. This made me award an extra star. ...more
Sanjay Gautam
Insightful. Full of enthusiasm. And was quite satisfying.
Goktug Yilmaz
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
3 Keys:
- What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
- Learning to say no can and will liberate you.
- If you chase two rabbits you will not catch either one. - Russian Proverb

- No one knows their ultimate ceiling for achievement, so worrying about it is a waste of time.
- Each one is a foundation for the next: spiritual life > physical health > personal life > key relationships > job > business > financial.
- Mastery is a path you go do
Marcus Solberg
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Quite interesting book about how we need to set aside time to focus on the one most important thing for our success: "The One Thing".

The author challenges the following six "myths" about work.

1. Everything Matters Equally
2. Multitasking is Good
3. Success Requires a Disciplined Life
4. Willpower is Always on Will-Call
5. A Balanced Life is Required
6. Big is Bad

The book is ok, but I found that a lot of it's content is rehashed material from other books on similar topics. The books is also heavy on
Anyta Sunday
I am re-reading. Actually listening over Audible.
For me, this feels like good advice for tackling the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Let's see.
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Professionally, Gary’s ONE Thing is teaching. He excelled as a real estate salesperson by teaching clients how to make great buying and selling decisions. As a real estate sales manager, he recruited agents through training and helped them build careers the same way. As co-founder and chairman of the board, he built Keller Williams Realty International from a single office in Austin, Texas, to one ...more

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If you've got an overflowing Want to Read shelf of books that you keep meaning to get to (one day!), you're in good company. Our company, that...
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“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls-- family, health, friends, integrity-- are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.” 83 likes
“Success demands singleness of purpose.

You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects.

It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world.

Passion for something leads to disproportionate time practicing or working at it. That time spent eventually translates to skill, and when skill improves, results improve. Better results generally lead to more enjoyment, and more passion and more time is invested. It can be a virtuous cycle all the way to extraordinary results.

The ONE Thing shows up time and again in the lives of the successful because it’s a fundamental truth.

More than anything else, expertise tracks with hours invested.

The pursuit of mastery bears gifts.

When people look back on their lives, it is the things they have not done that generate the greatest regret...People’s actions may be troublesome initially; it is their inactions that plague them most with long-term feelings of regret.

Make sure every day you do what matters most. When you know what matters most, everything makes sense. When you don’t know what matters most, anything makes sense.”
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