The One Thing—Piecka—December 15, 2022

Author of Book: Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Date Read: December 15, 2022

Book Report

Name: The One Thing

Author: Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Genre: Non-Fiction

Why I Read This Book:

“If you chase 2 rabbits, you will not catch either one.” — Russian Proverb

That is a GREAT opening to “The One Thing”. Just like “Atomic Habits”, I read this book originally a couple years ago and saw it in the Prison Library and immediately re-read it.

In today’s society, our attention does seem to be divided in several directions between all the different social media apps, the “To Do” list on the refrigerator is so long it practically touches the floor, we have calls to make, reports to write, emails to read, texts to reply to, etc.

What if the greatest impacts (for today, this week, this month, this year) were made by focusing on just ONE thing? Obviously. it would need to be the most important thing but it is just 1 thing none-the-less.

Want to increase the value of your home? Just upgrade the kitchen. What about the landscaping, finishing the basement, new paint, taking down this wall and that wall??? Yes, they all would HELP, and yes there are 6 different things we need to fix within the kitchen to “upgrade” it but if you put all your time and energy into the kitchen, your home will instantly become more valuable to EVERYBODY.

What about your business? There are a MILLION things we need to do to max out our potential revenue. Pick One? What if you focused on hiring 1 really good sales manager? That 1 person could hire and train 10 people and your revenue could EXPLODE!

The authors advise you to always ask this ONE question–What’s the ONE thing I can do (time frame–today for example) such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

This book is divided into 3 parts:

1) The Lies–Basically, the lies we are told that hold us back from maximizing our potential.

2) The Truth–The “Why” focusing on ONE thing works.

3) Extraordinary Results–The “How” to live a ONE thing life.

If you feel overwhelmed or buried under a pile of little things, read this book ASAP to start getting extraordinary results from focusing on ONE thing.

What I Learned:

The 2 biggest lies, in my opinion,  about productivity are what I learned the most from “the ONE Thing”.

Lie #1 — Everything Matters Equally — In other words, equality is a lie. Most of us see everything on our “To Do” list as important. High achievers have the same amount of hours in a day as everyone else. The difference is they focus on priority more than anyone else. This idea of priority allowed for the 80/20 rule to be born. The 80/20 principle says a majority of the results are from a small amount of the causes. For example:

1) 80% of all cars travel on 20% of the freeways.

2) Therefore, 80% of all cars only see 20% of all billboards.

Want to maximize your marketing budget? Focus on ONE thing — Where will most people SEE your advertising?

At home, there is your “To Do” list and then there is the “Should Do” list. Identify the 20% of the “Should Do’s” and then narrow that list down by 20% and keep going until you have the ONE thing that NEEDS to get done today.

Own a business? 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your products. Make sure THESE are the items you promote, you have plenty of in stock, and your top customers have front and center on display.

Obviously the rates will not ALWAYS be 80/20. It may be 90/10 or even 75/15 (not always have to be 100%) but there is always ONE area of importance that can make the biggest impact.

Lie #2 — A Balanced Life — “I need more work/life balance”. A balanced life is a LIE. Especially if you want to be successful. Instead, what you need is counter-balance. Your time and energy is always going to lean off center toward work. Therefore, at work you need to focus HARD on what maters most and then COUNTERBALANCE by focusing on your personal life what what matters most there (vacation, time with the kids, etc.). Understand that time spent on each will never equal or balance perfectly but focus on the ONE thing that matters most in each. Dive into work when you are working and swing back to Life when you are done.

Why I Will Be Successful After Reading This Book:

I always believed the most successful people were that way because they always had 1,000 things to do each day and often had to do several things at one. I tried to do that during my days as a successful sales person and sales manager. I became very good at driving on the freeway while talking to a customer, replying to an email, and texting a co-worker. It turns out, I was always capping my success because I never believed ONE thing could make such a big difference. It was all or nothing. I went YEARS with out taking vacation days and I literally lived to work.

This book showed me all the lies and truths I needed to see, in writing with proven studies to back up their claims so I can live a more IMPACTFUL life, not just a “better” one.

While in Prison, your “To Do” list of what you you are going to do when you get out can be very LONG. How about focusing on ONE thing at a time RIGHT NOW that will make the most impact:


  –Reading and Writing Skills

  –Speaking Skills

  –Making contacts/networking

You don’t need to better yourself 1,000 ways before you leave Prison. Pick 1 and put all your effort into it until you master it and then pick another.

About Me:

My name is Jeff Piecka and I was sentenced to 34 months in a Federal Prison Camp in Oxford, WI after I plead guilty to a white collar crime that I committed several years ago. Before self-surrendering on June 6, 2022, I promised my wife and family that i WILL exit prison a better husband, son, brother, Christian, future employee, and overall better member of society because I am going to better myself in three ways:

1) Physically–Not just for vanity purposes but a better operating body equals a better operating mind.

2) Mentally–Reading non-fiction books, newspapers, stories, and magazines that educate and elevate my mind and expand my vocabulary.

3) Spiritually–For ME, this means learning more from the Bible but it can also mean whatever “Greater Good” you believe in.

Shortly after self surrendering and reading Michael Santos’s book “Earning Freedom–Conquering a 45 Year Prison Term”, it inspired me to want to help just 1 person who is possibly heading to prison so I started emailing my family Posts that my sister uses to post as a Blog on Reddit dot com called “Letters From Federal Prison”. I believe to date it has over 5,000 views and shares plus there are now SEVERAL comments from people advising that the Blog has really helped them. This has motivated me to keep writing (which I have NEVER done anything like this before) and I REALLY want to help more people when I return to society next year.