The One Thing (Bard Press, 2013)

The votes are in! Our first book will be The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papason.

Keller is the founder and CEO of Keller Williams Real Estate. Keller Williams is one of the largest real estate agencies in the world, and this book is a super easy read on the topic of personal leadership and reaching your full potential. This is the book I am currently going through and it’s fantastic.

The reading schedule is listed below. Feel free to go faster if you like, this is simply a guide and will help everyone know what topics will be discussed each Tuesday night. We originally talked about a pace of 10 pages per day. A few are 10 or less, but more are a few more. This schedule averages just over 12 pages per day and has us reading only on Monday thru Friday. If we discover it is too fast or too slow, we will adjust accordingly.

(Best viewed landscape if on mobile)


Sept Session Pages Count Chapter
2 1 6-11 6 1
3 2 12-24 13 2 & 3
3 Weekly Call 8:30pm
4 3 28-42 15 Lies & 4
5 4 43-53 11 5
6 5 54-71 18 6 & 7
9 6 72-83 12 8
10 7 84-94 11 9
10 Weekly Call 8:30pm
11 8 98-111 14 Truth & 10
12 9 112-118 7 11
13 10 119-128 10 12
16 11 132-145 14 Results & 13
17 12 146-155 10 14
17 Weekly Call 8:30pm
18 13 156-174 19 15
19 14 175-189 15 16
20 15 190-207 18 17
23 16 208-126 9 18
24 17 218-225 8 Conclusion
24 Weekly Call 8:30pm

To get on the conference call on Tuesday evenings at 8:30pm, use the following…

Join Meeting at

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+16699006833,,2142361055# US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 214 236 1055

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8 thoughts on “The One Thing

  1. Somewhat going along with Deanna’s comments about Keystone Habits, a guy named F. Matthias Alexander said “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.”

    I love and very much appreciate the fact that each of you has decided to go through this with me. I had many of the same thoughts during the first few chapters as the ones you shared tonight. The idea that Keller is trying to get me to become someone who has only one interest or focuses on just “one thing”. I’m learning, though, that it’s so much more than that. It’s about Priority, Focus, Commitment, Clarity, and Strategy.

  2. I spent some time this morning thinking about the comments made regarding future careers or figuring out what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. It is a very common conversation in my professional life as I work with college-aged students.

    Marcus Buckingham is one of my favorite authors and scholars. Buckingham’s book, conveniently titled, “The One Thing You Need to Know..” touches on passion, calling, management, and leadership from a really blunt perspective. Similarly to Keller, Buckingham argues that there is a distinct attribute and vision that great managers or great leaders (we can argue later about how the two can be the same and totally different at the same time) for the work they do in their lives.

    Buckingham and Keller (eventually will) discuss the importance of clarity in response to a fear stimuli. The fear of the future often drives us to seek clarity. An example of this would be a freshman in college going to the career center to take aptitude tests in order to pick a pick a major that would lead them to a career path they should statistically perform well in. We know from biological and psychological data that as humans we fundamentally crave order and stability. We want to know that there is security in our lives. Clarity of purpose is one of the ways we try to create a sense of safety and security.

    Keller wants us to find one thing to focus in one. Buckingham would argue that to get to the point where we can figure out the “one thing” we need to simplify our lives and seek clarity. Buckingham claims that there are four main ways to achieve clarity: ask yourself who do you serve, determine your core strength, discover how you will measure your success (core score), and determine what actions you take today.

    Buckingham’s main argument for people trying to determine how to achieve individual success is very simple:

    “Discover what you don’t like doing and stop doing it, (Buckingham, 2005, p. 257).” (MILLENNIALS REJOICE!!).

    In other words, Buckingham’s research has indicated that individuals are more successful when they choose to grow in areas of strength where they feel happiest and a sense of strength-confidence already.

    I’m not saying that I completely agree with Buckingham’s approach to positive psychology/strengths development, but the dude has done enough peer-reviewed research that it’s difficult to ignore the possibility that he has something really important to say about the process of figuring out what its going to take to be individually successful in a vocational area. I think his thoughts are an interesting companion to what Keller will be revealing over time.

  3. My notes from Sep 10 call…


    — Beware of “truthiness”

    * Everything Matters Equally
    * The quote at the front of this chapter, “things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least”… is quite familiar but maybe not as powerful as the Bob Hawke quote: “the things which are most important don’t always scream the loudest”
    * Also, greatness from Thoreau: “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
    * Say No and the Checkoff Game (two Big Ideas that can be implemented right now)
    * So, how?
    * Say No more often
    * Delegate
    * Minimum Effective Effort (for unimportant things)
    * Pareto (80/20)
    * Multitasking
    * Really just “task switching”
    * Loss of focus
    * Brain Channels (foreground vs background)
    * Listening to music while working is a great example. Listen to extremely familiar songs, it becomes background or white noise. Listen to a new album, work focus suffers.
    * A Disciplined Life
    * “We don’t determine our destiny. We determine our habits, and our habits determine our destiny.”
    * Build ONE habit at a time
    * 66 Days
    * Willpower Is Always On-Call
    * Finite amount of willpower per day
    * Default Settings – what are yours?
    * Willpower is stronger early in the day
    * We can talk ourselves into almost anything (we’ve “earned” it)
    * Find ways to take willpower out of the equation
    * A Balanced Life
    * It’s a myth that “sounds” good.
    * Saying it can’t happen doesn’t mean we should do only one thing, it means that the one thing, or important things will get a disproportionate share.
    * Magic happens at the extremes/edges
    * Replace the word “balance” with “counterbalance”
    * When choosing a focus, some things are going to get less attention. Decide the order of importance of those to determine where to put your counter-balancing energy
    * Big Is Bad
    * Aim High, if fall short, you’ll likely still have achieved quite a lot
    * Think 10X, you’ll think differently
    * “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the only ones who do.”

  4. September 24 Conf Call

    * Live With Purpose
    * A Christmas Carol
    * Beggars Bowl
    * Pick A Direction – “Sometimes it’s great just to hear the gun go off”

    * Live By Priority
    * There can be only One
    * Goal Setting to the Now
    * Put Pen to Paper

    * Live For Productivity
    * Time Blocking
    * Your Time Off
    * Your One Thing
    * Your Planning Time
    * Protect Your Time Block

    * The 3 Commitments
    * Follow the Path to Mastery
    * Move from E to P
    * Live the Accountability Cycle
    * Be Your Best
    * Best you can do vs Best that can be done
    * Find a Coach

    * The Four Thieves
    * Inability to say No
    * Fear of Chaos
    * Poor Health Habits
    * Environment Does Not Support Your Goals

    * The Journey
    * Success is an Inside Job

    * Putting the One Thing To Work
    * What things from this book can you build into your life?
    * What stops you from building all of this into your life?

    * Think Big
    * Identify the Dominoes
    * Start Knocking Them Down