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The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  13,139 Ratings  ·  1,162 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) (first published 2012)
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Lyn Mettler Very worthy! Life changing if you ask me. A simplified version of the 80/20 rule.
Www.Booksofsuccess.Com Hi Patrick,

Yes, in fact the author recommends it. He devotes almost all of chapter 11 to exactly that. The categories he uses are: spiritual life,…more
Hi Patrick,

Yes, in fact the author recommends it. He devotes almost all of chapter 11 to exactly that. The categories he uses are: spiritual life, physical health, personal life, key relationships, job, business, and finances, in that order.

If you haven't read the book yet come check out a full chapter by chapter summary at

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Patrick Hayslett
Jul 02, 2013 Patrick Hayslett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: productivity
Over 2,600 books have been written about time management. Why? Because they're not working! There's something everyone is missing...

We have books, blogs, apps, pep talks and lots of personal effort. The deck should be stacked in our favor. So how does time end up managing us more than we manage it?

"The One Thing" is the first resource I've come across with an answer that works.

It helps you move forward with purpose instead of being reactive to stay afloat.

The book teaches you to build a big visi
André Bueno
Feb 20, 2015 André Bueno 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
W. Whalin
Jan 01, 2014 W. Whalin 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
Nov 25, 2014 Perry 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.

Jun 04, 2013 Jacob 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
Dark Matter
Jan 12, 2014 Dark Matter 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
Jorge Fonseca
Jan 27, 2015 Jorge Fonseca 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
Sep 13, 2015 Amir 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.
Loy Machedo
Dec 26, 2013 Loy Machedo 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’.

Apr 06, 2015 Zoubir rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
أهم معلومتين في الكتاب هما:
1- للتمكن من إنجاز أي مشروع سواء كان مهنيا أو شخصيا, يوجد دائما شيء واحد في فترة معينة من عمر المشروع يمكنك التركيز عليه بحيث إذا أُنجِز, كل شيء آخر يصبح من السهل التعامل معه. و لإنجاز هذا الشيء الوحيد يجب التخصيص له ساعات يوميا على الأقل من غير أي مقاطعة.
2 - لكي يمكن إكتساب أي عادة إيجابية أو التخلّص من عادة سلبية يلم في المعدل 66 يوما متواصلا من غير انقطاع, و لكي يرفع الشخص من مردوديته من الأفضل له أن يواضب على الأعمال المفيدة باستمرار لكي تصبح عادات, مع التأكيد على
Ahmad hosseini
Jul 14, 2016 Ahmad hosseini rated it it was amazing
Shelves: management
کتابی با موضوع تغییر سبک زندگی و حرکت به سمت موفقیت. کتاب خیلی خوبی بود. کتاب عوامل تاثیرگذار بر روی موفقیت و همچنین موانع موفقیت معرفی می کنه و برای رد شدن از این موانع راه حل هایی رو ارائه می کنه. کتاب نکته های خیلی خوبی برای قدم گذاشتن در مسیر موفقیت معرفی می کنه. نکته های ظریفی که خیلی از ما به راحتی و هر روز از کنار اونها رد میشیم. متن خیلی خوب آدم به فکر فرو می بره. باعث میشه به خیلی از کارها و عادت هایی که داریم فکر کنیم.
در جایی از کتاب نویسنده زندگی رو به دومینو تشبیه می کنه یعنی هر کار
Taylor Pearson
Oct 24, 2014 Taylor Pearson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Almost unnecessary, the Title pretty much sums it up. It’s about figuring out your One Thing and devoting everything to it. The Book is summed up in the question “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?


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
Aug 28, 2013 Trever 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 18, 2014 Ties 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.
Mario Tomic
Feb 22, 2014 Mario Tomic 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.
Jary Welker
Oct 07, 2013 Jary Welker 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
Marcus Solberg
Apr 15, 2015 Marcus Solberg 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
تأخرت في إنهاءه لأنه يتحدث عن أهمية التركيز على الشيء الوحيد وشيئي الوحيد لم يكن القراءة

بأحد المواضيع تكلم عن سلوكيات الناجحين وسهولة تنفيذها لأنها أصبحت عادات ومن المجهد تركهم لها، ولإكتساب العادات نحتاج العمل عليها لمدة ٦٦ يوم تقريبًا بدلا من ٢١ كما هو مشهور، وهذا الفصل حفزني على بدء ٦٦ يوم مختلفة بحياتي اليوم اكملت
١٨ يوم (أخفقت ببعض الالتزامات وأهمها شيئي الوحيد لكني سعيدة بإنجاز القليل منها مثل استبدال تويتر بموقع رواق التعليمي، والحرص على تناول الفاكهة صباحًا،…)

أتمنى أعيد قراءته مع آخرين
Aug 05, 2013 Tyler rated it liked it
This was a decent read on how you can distill your life into "That One Thing" that will get you where you want to go. I thought overall it was a bit lacking in detail and did a lot of hand waving over the finer points of how to improve. A decent read, but there are better books on the topic out there.
Wendy Papasan
Feb 03, 2013 Wendy Papasan 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.
Jan 13, 2015 Rrrrrron 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
Oct 17, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-book-list
Great book on focus and the myth of the benefit of multi-tasking.

Some take-aways:

"When you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them."
"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." Willam James

The highly productive person's daily energy plan:
Meditate and pray for spiritual energy.
Eat right. Exercise and sleep sufficiently.

Big lives ride the powerful wave of chain reactions and are built sequentially.

Jerry Seinfeld: The secret to comedy is writing one joke per day.
R. Alirhayim
Oct 01, 2016 R. Alirhayim rated it really liked it
I decided to read this book because at the time I was feeling quite de-motivated about the course my life was taking. I wasn't so happy with some of the decisions I made and finally took the initiative to do something about it.

Having said that, I felt that this book helped me understand better what makes our life so full of clutter. The fact that we are pulled in so many directions being the main reason. And if that applies to anyone, it certainly is me. I mean I am always about trying new thin
Jun 30, 2016 Heba rated it liked it

The book is well written but it is all about creating a monster who pushes everything and everyone to the back burner in order to achieve his success goal.
Indeed if anyone takes this selfish attitude, he'll no doubt reach a high level of recognition in his work or whatever field he chooses, however, I don't believe this is what most people are looking for in their lives or when they choose a business and or time management book. Most people look for a book that helps them create a well balanced
Apr 20, 2013 Bethwoodhall 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
Mohammed H
Sep 22, 2015 Mohammed H rated it it was amazing
This is the best book i have read all year hands down. It really is the one thing that will make you focus and put in front of you the most important one thing. This is one of the books that you keep nearby at all times.
Dec 27, 2016 Saeed rated it it was ok
I agree with
Perry: (a goodread's user)

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.

حالم بد شد
دیگه از این کتاب ها نمی خونم
Shatha Al-Jamhoor
Jan 29, 2017 Shatha Al-Jamhoor rated it really liked it
Block an hour each week to review your annual and monthly goals.
First, ask what needs to happen that month for you to be on target for your annual goals. Then ask what must happen that week to be on course for your monthly goals.
You’re essentially asking, “ Based on where I am right now, what’s the ONE Thing I need to do this week to stay on track for my monthly goal and for my monthly goal to be on track for my annual goal?”


Plan it with purpose , focus and aim at it ...
Your one thing,
Jun 14, 2013 Book rated it really liked it
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

“The ONE Thing" is a very sound book on how to be more productive. Mr. Keller of Keller Williams Realty fame provides the public with a very accessible pragmatic book on how make better use of your time and hence more productive. This useful 240-page is broken out into three main parts: 1. The Lies: They Mislead and Derail Us, 2. The Truth: The Simple Path to Productivity, and 3. Extraordinary Results: Unlock
Mark Mortensen
Feb 27, 2017 Mark Mortensen rated it it was amazing
As a licensed agent with Keller Williams Realty I'm always seeking to become more savvy in business as well as life and this self-improvement book written by the company's top guru is a must. Keller's mindset transcends real estate to all business industry segments. His proven approach to success derives from an interesting perspective and to comprehend the unique strategy I encourage others to read the book.
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Nook books: August 5, 2016 1 2 Aug 05, 2016 08:14PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Title issue 3 13 Jun 24, 2016 12:30PM  
Business-Related ...: * Book # 7 The One Thing 3 23 Apr 11, 2015 04:26PM  
12 Books - Author...: The ONE Thing - October 2013 27 71 Nov 04, 2013 08:50AM  
  • The (7L) The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals
  • Hold: How to Find, Buy, and Keep Real Estate Properties to Grow Wealth
  • The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
  • Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success
  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
  • Primary Greatness: The 12 Levers of Success
  • Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm
  • The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive
  • Life in Half a Second: How to Achieve Success Before It's Too Late
  • Smart Trust: How People, Companies, and Countries Are Prospering from High Trust in a Low Trust World
  • The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential
  • No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide to Time Productivity and Sanity
  • Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success
  • The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field
  • The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime!
  • The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work
  • Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In
  • The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?
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
More about Gary Keller...

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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.” 42 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.”
More quotes…