The 80/20 Principle Book Summary - The 80/20 Principle Book explained in key points
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The 80/20 Principle summary

Richard Koch

The Secret to Achieving More with Less

4.3 (1600 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

"The 80/20 Principle" by Richard Koch introduces a powerful paradigm that suggests 80% of our outcomes result from just 20% of our efforts. Harnessing this concept leads to better decision making, more efficient use of time, and ultimately more success.

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    The 80/20 Principle
    Summary of 9 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 9

    Usually, the largest share of the results (output) is produced by just a small part of the work (input).

    Have you ever looked back on a project you worked on and found that most of your work was done right before the final deadline? Perhaps in the few days when you were almost out of time you achieved more than in all the previous weeks put together.

    In fact, similar imbalances between effort and reward can be observed in a variety of different settings.

    For example, many businesses have found that 20 percent of their product range actually accounts for 80 percent of their profits.

    Similarly, 20 percent of motorists cause 80 percent of accidents. Most motorists drive carefully, while a small minority is careless and causes the majority of accidents.

    This phenomenon is better known as the 80/20 principle: roughly 80 percent of work results – or output – are produced by 20 percent of the work effort, or input.

    Why is this ratio not more balanced? Because not every cause has the same impact on results. In fact, causes can be roughly divided into two categories: a minority that has a great impact on results and a majority that has only a small impact. This results in an 80/20 split.

    It should be noted, however, that the 80/20 principle is a simplification, and in reality the ratio tends to differ – for example, it could be 70/30 or 99.9/0.01.

    Of course, the numbers may not always add up to a hundred either. For example, a 1997 study demonstrated that of 300 movies, just four (1.3 percent) generated 80 percent of ticket sales.

    As you can see, manifestations of the 80/20 principle can be found in a variety of settings and as you will find out, this is valuable knowledge.

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    What is The 80/20 Principle about?

    The 80/20 Principle (1997) was named one of GQ's Top 25 Business Books of the Twentieth Century. It's about the 80/20 principle, which says that 80 percent of results are generated by just 20 percent of effort. This phenomenon has huge implications for every area of life, as it helps single out the most important factors in any situation.

    The 80/20 Principle Review

    The 80/20 Principle (1997) explores the power of the Pareto Principle and its impact on productivity and success. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It uncovers the hidden patterns that govern our lives and reveals how a small number of inputs can generate a disproportionate amount of outputs.
    • Through in-depth case studies and practical examples, the book shows how we can leverage the 80/20 rule to maximize our effectiveness in both personal and professional endeavors.
    • With its pragmatic approach and thought-provoking insights, the book challenges conventional wisdom and offers a fresh perspective on achieving greater efficiency and fulfillment.

    Who should read The 80/20 Principle?

    • Anyone who wants to get better results without expending more time
    • Anyone who wants to free up more of their time and lead a happier life
    • Anyone who wants to increase the profitability of their business

    About the Author

    Richard Koch is a former management consultant who retired in order to write in 1990. He has authored 18 books, including the The Power Laws, Living the 80/20 Way and Superconnect. He successfully applies the 80/20 principle to his own life.

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    The 80/20 Principle FAQs 

    What is the main message of The 80/20 Principle?

    The main message of The 80/20 Principle is that 20% of our efforts lead to 80% of our results.

    How long does it take to read The 80/20 Principle?

    The reading time for The 80/20 Principle varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The 80/20 Principle a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The 80/20 Principle is worth reading because it reveals a powerful concept that can significantly improve efficiency and results.

    Who is the author of The 80/20 Principle?

    The author of The 80/20 Principle is Richard Koch.

    How many chapters are in The 80/20 Principle?

    The 80/20 Principle has 11 chapters. They are: Introduction, The Uncommon Pursuit: Paradoxes of Profits, Power, and Price, Disenchanting the Numbers, Goodbye to Pareto, The Principle Defined, The Secret Ingredient: Little Things That Mean a Lot, The Discovered Art of Living, Business Lessons from the Lost Empires, The Decline and Fall of the Committee, How to Control Everything at Once, Powerful Simplicity, Conclusion.

    How many pages are in The 80/20 Principle?

    The 80/20 Principle contains 313 pages.

    When was The 80/20 Principle published?

    The 80/20 Principle was published in 1997.

    What to read after The 80/20 Principle?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The 80/20 Principle, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Living the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch
    • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
    • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
    • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
    • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
    • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
    • A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
    • The High 5 Habit by Mel Robbins
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson