Greg McKeown Profile

Author of the bestseller Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown is one of today’s most distinguished voices in business thought leadership known for his techniques for leading a more meaningful and successful life. As founder of THIS Inc., he helps people and world-class organizations like Apple, Google, and Facebook learn how to focus more on the few important things in life and less on the many trivial matters that often take up too much of our time.

Shortly after his first daughter’s birth, McKeown had a revelation when an overbearing boss insisted that he leave the hospital to attend a critical meeting. He gave in to pressure and left his newborn and wife to attend, only to discover afterwards that the appointment wasn’t really that important at all and that he had betrayed himself and his family by letting someone else set his priorities. The painful but life altering lesson led him to develop his concept of essentialism, the pursuit of less, but better.

McKeown quit law school, pursued an MBA, and founded his Silicon Valley based think-tank THIS Inc. He is reputable researcher in the differences that set apart successful people from very successful people. His message about living a fulfilled life as oppose to a filled schedule has influenced some of the most prominent executives and companies in the world.

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    Greg McKeown has dedicated his career to discovering why some people break through to the next level—and others don’t.

    The definitive treatment of this issue is addressed in McKeown’s latest project: the instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. As well as frequently being the #1 Time Management book on Amazon, this book challenges core assumptions about achievement to get to the essence of what really drives success.

    McKeown is the CEO of THIS Inc, a company whose mission is to assist people and companies to spend 80 percent of their time on the vital few rather than the trivial many. Clients include Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, Pixar,, Symantec, Twitter, VMware and Yahoo!.

    His writing has appeared or been covered by Fast Company, Fortune, HuffPost, Politico, and Inc. magazine. He is among the most popular bloggers for the Harvard Business Review and LinkedIn’s Influencers group: averaging a million views a month.

    McKeown has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows including NPR’s All Things Considered and NBC’s Press: Here. Entrepreneur magazine voted his interview at Stanford University the #1 Must-See Video on Business, Creativity and Success.

    McKeown is an accomplished public speaker. He has spoken to hundreds of audiences around the world including in Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, England, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Singapore.

    Highlights in 2014 include speaking at SXSW, interviewing Al Gore at the Annual Conference of the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland and receiving a personal invitation from Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, to speak to his Annual Innovation Conference.

    McKeown challenges conventional wisdom in a unique and engaging style from the first moment to the last instant. As the event organizer at Greater Public said after McKeown addressed their 1,000-person conference, “I have been part of this event for 16 years and McKeown is the best speaker we have ever had!”

    McKeown is an active Social Innovator. Serving as a Board Member for Washington D.C. policy group Resolve, and as a mentor with 2 Seeds, a non-profit incubator for agricultural projects in Africa. He has also been a speaker at non-profit groups including The Kauffman Fellows, Net Impact and Stanford University: he recently gave back to Stanford University by co-creating a popular class called, Designing Life, Essentially.

    He serves as a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum. He recently moderated a session at the “Summer Davos” in China called, “Unpacking Social Innovation Models for Maximum Impact”, served as a panelist at the “Sharpening Your Creative Edge” working session at the Forum.

    Prior to this, McKeown collaborated in the research and writing of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter and worked for Heidrick & Struggles’ Global Leadership Practice assessing senior executives.

    Originally from London, England, McKeown now lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and their four children. He graduated with an MBA from Stanford University.

Greg McKeown Speaking Videos

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Greg McKeown's Speech Descriptions

Voted the #1 Must-see Video on Business, Creativity, and Success, Greg McKeown’s presentations are refreshing takes on how to whittle away the complications, confusion and smothering extras that get in the way of enjoying a meaningful life. Debunking the myth that success means someone who does it all and only sleeps four hours per night, he draws from research revealing that very successful people are actually highly particular, say “no” more than “yes,” and make play a priority. McKeown offers easy to follow steps on how individuals and organizations can simplify their agendas and do things better by doing less.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
This keynote speaks to anyone who has ever felt overworked and underutilized, always busy but never productive who are making a millimeter of progress in a million directions. Greg McKeown shares a system he used as part of the Stanford course he co-created called “Designing Life, Essentially.” It is a system for achieving more by doing less: a way for discerning what is essential, eliminating what is not, and removing obstacles in order to make the execution of what IS essential as easy and effortless as possible.

By applying tougher, more selective criteria, we can regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and efforts toward the goals and activities that truly matter.

Leadership Essentials
In this keynote, Greg McKeown demonstrates why leading as an essentialist is critical for taking teams to the next level and produce breakthroughs in results and innovation. He teaches five principles, providing examples on how teams and companies can be killed by their own success—and what to do instead. Using evocative stories, hard questions and thought-provoking exercises, this keynote is designed to be interactive and interesting from beginning to end.

What People are Saying about Seeing Greg Speak

Rating Entries

Essentialism is a powerful antidote to the current craziness that plagues our organizations and our lives. Read Greg Mckeown’s own words slowly, stop and think about how to apply them to your life – you will do less, do it better, and begin to feel the insanity start to slip away.
    Robert l. Sutton, Professor at Stanford University

“In this likeable and astute treatise on the art of doing less in order to do better…McKeown makes the content fresh and the solutions easy to implement. Following his lucid and smart directions will help readers find “the the way of the essentialist.”
    Success Magazine

“Great design takes us beyond the complex, the unnecessary and confusing, to the simple, clear and meaningful. This is as true for the design of a life as it is for the design of a product. With Essentialism, Greg gives us the invaluable guidebook for just such a project.
    Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

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Books by Greg McKeown:


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?

Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized?

Are you often busy but not productive?

Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.

The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.

By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy—instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.

Essentialism is not one more thing—it’s a whole new way of doing everything. A must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to learn who to do less, but better, in every area of their lives, Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.

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