BSC Book Review… The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The One Thing

BSC’s Bookshelf
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
Hilary Ashmen, M.Ed., Adult Learning Consultant

Welcome to another installment of our leadership resource book review to facilitate your continued growth and move your ideas to action. This month we add Gary Keller and Jay Papason’s The ONE Thing to your professional reading list and provide reflection via Hilary’s interview with Becky S. Corbett, President & CEO of BSCorbett Consulting. Becky selected this book based on the recommendation of her dear friend, coach, and BSC England collaborator, Andy Hall. 

The ONE Thing is a valuable asset for those who are ready to maximize their performance both professionally and personally. The authors guide the reader through a three-part journey to reach extraordinary results. Part one dispels the myths and “The Lies” about success, including multitasking, balance, and discipline. In Part two, “The truth” highlights the importance of focus and the path to great answers. The book closes with “Extraordinary Results” to help you live by purpose, priority, and for productivity. The underlying purpose is to identify the ONE Thing in each aspect of life in order to bring clarity and simplicity to your aspirations and realize what truly matters to you.

One question about “focusing” raised in the book resonated with Becky. “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” The idea of repeatedly asking yourself this question keeps your short and long-term goals at the forefront of your daily planning and activities. “Focusing on ONE Thing has a guaranteed consequence: other things don’t get done,” Keller explains. Anything that you say yes to must be connected to your ONE Thing.

To assist readers in their journey toward extraordinary results, the author provides cautions that Becky found useful. The “four thieves of productivity” are the inability to say no, fear of chaos, poor health habits, and an environment that doesn’t support your goals. As a CEO, she has many demands. She is careful to avoid the thieves by sweeping for “mines” such as technology and interruptions that can steal away the 100% attention needed for the ONE Thing.

Goal setting for the now keeps your ONE Thing constantly in sight. Once you have identified your “someday” goal, determine things that can be done incrementally, from broad to specific. Then further drill down to the ONE Thing you can do right now to achieve your objectives. Practicing this makes success a habit and promotes accountability for your life. Becky connected with this concept related to her aspiration of becoming an author. This lofty goal was accomplished by keeping her vision in view while moving ahead with attainable tasks until the book was complete. She started simply by writing every day and soon was talking with editors, discussing book design, and determining distribution.

As you contemplate where you are and where you are headed in the New Year, The ONE Thing is a beneficial guide for focusing and planning your personal and professional endeavors. Own your ONE Thing and get on with the business of making your dreams a reality.

The book is recommended for…

  • Anyone ready to determine and achieve their goals with extraordinary results
  • Those needing a powerful tool to work at peak productivity

Share your thoughts about your ONE Thing, join the conversation below.


Keller, G. & Papasan, J. (2012). The one thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results. Austin, TX: Bard Press.