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Good Explination of Concept; Don't Read Cover-to-Cover
on December 1, 2002
In The 80/20 Principle, Koch proffers that 20 percent of what companies and individuals do generates over 80 percent of their positive results (a theory that he attributes to Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist around the turn of the 20th century). Koch proposes that by identifying the 20 percent of the activities that generate 80 percent of the results and increasing the effort put into those 20-percent activities you can dramatically improve results. To this end he provides an astute evaluation of the economic and social realities of business.
Koch goes further, though, and tries to extrapolate the 80/20 theory to success, happiness and life in general. While some of what he suggests makes sense, his examples seem to get progressively weaker as he moves away from the world of business.
The book's other main flaw results from its severe organizational problems. Koch seems to have a very limited number of examples - and because of their repeated re-use (and in many cases their limited pertinence to the topic at hand) the book seems to weave in and out of topics, making it somewhat difficult to follow for anything else than a linear read.
The principal, itself, is almost a truism, which as Koch points out, is not thought about nearly enough. The books main strength is that he explains the concept quite well. Unfortunately, the extrapolation to life in general and the organizational difficulties make 80 percent of the book just not worth reading. Read the first two chapters - they explain the principal - and the last chapter (which basically explains all of the extrapolation theories) then put the book down - you will have read the 20% of the book that contains over 80% of the value!