The one-sentence summary

Don’t wait to do your best work – aim to unleash it every day.


  • You need to embrace the importance of now and refuse to allow the lull of comfort, fear, familiarity or ego from stopping you taking action on your ambitions.
  • The cost of inaction is vast. Don’t go to your grave with your best work inside of you. Choose to die empty.
  • Despite a lot of frantic activity, many people finish their working day wondering whether the work they did really matters.
  • Time is finite, so here is how you can make a unique contribution:
  • Define your battles: counter aimlessness by defining goals wisely and building your life around achieving them.
  • Be fiercely curious: prevent boredom from dulling your senses.
  • Step out of your comfort zone: get uncomfortable and embrace lifelong growth and skill development.
  • There are three kinds of work:

Mapping: planning, plotting objectives, and setting priorities.

Making: actually doing the work.

Meshing: “work between work” (unpaid, but it grows you).

  • Someone who does all three is a developer.
  • If you don’t mesh, you’re (just) a driver.
  • If you don’t map, you’re a drifter.
  • If you don’t make, you’re a dreamer.
  • The EMPTY method is to focus on: Ethics; Mission; People; Tasks; You


  • Purpose paralysis is fear of getting it wrong, but your body of work should reflect what’s important to you.
  • Pointless efficiency doesn’t get you anywhere as an individual. Far too many people are busily bored.
  • The seven deadly sins of mediocrity are: aimlessness, boredom, comfort, delusion, ego, fear, and guardedness.
  • All passion is not equal – you need productive passion.
  • Those who add unexpected value at work offer a GIFT: Generosity, Initiative, Forward momentum, Transparency.
  • Shadow pursuits are activities that capture our attention and give us a sense of accomplishment, but serve as a substitute for the real work that we know we should be doing.
  • Cover bands don’t change the world: do something original.


  • The author uses the word traction rather too much.