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The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; Reprint edition (October 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385491743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385491747
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 3.1 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1897, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, in his study of the patterns of wealth and income, observed that the distribution of wealth was predictably unbalanced. He first discovered this pattern in 19th-century England and found it to be the same for every country and time period he studied. Over the years, Pareto's observation has become known as the 80/20 principle.

Now in 1998, Richard Koch takes a fresh look at the 80/20 principle and finds that the basic imbalance observed by Pareto 100 years ago can be found in almost every aspect of modern life. Whether you're investing in stocks, analyzing company sales, or looking at the performance of a Web site, you'll find that it's usually 20 percent that produces 80 percent of the total result. This means 80 percent of what you do may not count for much. Koch helps you to identify that 20 percent and shows you how you can get more out of your business, and life, for less. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The Pareto Principle--in Koch's words, "a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead [s] to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards" --is hardly new; Vilfredo Pareto discovered it in 1897. But London-based investor, entrepreneur, and author Koch traces Pareto's insight through the past century (George K. Zipf, Joseph M. Juran, IBM and other computer firms) and adds a bit of chaos theory to make the 80/20 principle a way of life. He spells out essential characteristics of "80/20 analysis" and "80/20 thinking," then explores application of this "Vital Few" approach, first in business, then in achieving personal success and happiness. Koch closes with a chapter on the social implications of the Pareto Principle, urging that this predictable imbalance between inputs and outputs is "not inherently right wing," and that steps such as spreading best practices in education to all students and giving those currently excluded from the market economy a stake in the game would generate less inequality as well as greater productivity. Mary Carroll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The book was educational and easy to read.
Brian M. Rowe
In the 80/20 Principle, Richard Koch has captured one of the most important secrets to success in business and individually.
Daniel P. Michel
My issue with this book is that the main point of this book is covered in 10 page.
Louis Stone-Collonge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

278 of 285 people found the following review helpful By J. Straub on December 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
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!
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279 of 287 people found the following review helpful By ConsultantsMind on January 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
The principle is simple, but counter-intuitive: Nature creates imbalances. This is true for money (20% of people have 80% of the wealth), crime (20% of criminals commit 80% of crimes), energy usage (15% of population uses 85% of energy), competition (20% of suppliers have 80% of market share)and even carpet (20% gets 80% wear and tear). . .
In a non-linear world:
1) Celebrate exceptional productivity . . .look for the short cut. . .be selective. . . only do what you do best. (pg 38)
2) Keep it simple. Size often creates complexity - which in turn creates inefficiency. Pour your effort into the 20% that makes a difference. Sometimes it is better to lose unprofitable customers to competitors (pg 93)
3) Hold on to your good customers and employees forever!
4) The key to 80/20 is not time-mangement. Don't try to do more. Just do more of the right things.
5) Do what you enjoy because enthusiasm and success is a complementary cycle.
6) Three great lists:
The top 10 low-value uses of time (pg 161)
The top 10 highest value uses of time (pg 161)
The ten golden rules for career success (pg 194)
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93 of 101 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
INTERESTING CONCEPT, TEDIOUSLY REPEATED.
I suggest readers borrow this book from a public library and take Richard Koch's Oxford tutor's advice (found on Page 25): "Read the conclusion, then the introduction, then the conclusion again, then dip lightly into any interesting bits.'
More than 80 per cent of the value of this book can be found in 20 per cent or fewer of its pages, and absorbed in less than 20 per cent of the time most people would take to read it through.
Thus re-confirming the 80/20 Principle.
QED
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful By J. Charles Hansen on December 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book about a year ago, and still regularly think of it and apply it's concepts in my life and business.
I have worked in sales for years, so I am very familiar with the 80/20 concept as relates to business. Simply stated in my field of real estate it's a proven fact that in different markets of the country and over time 20% of the agents make 80% of the income. This is true in other types of sales as well. Of course the flipside of this is that the large 80% of the agents only make 20% of the income. Basically a small number of people make most of the money. Why this is has been debated, but it seems to be a consistent rule that holds.
Koch points out how 80/20 is seen in other areas. For example 20% of taxpayers account for 80% of IRS revenue. What Koch does then is expand this rule to all aspects of life. He says that the 80/20 rule holds for all kinds of activities. He says that 20% of your work activity is responsible for 80% of your productivity on the job. And that 20% of your leisure time is responsible for 80% of your happiness. When I read this I just knew intuitively that it is true. So the next step is to figure out what the 20% activities are that are paying off the 80% returns in your work, or personal life, or anything. And then devote your energy into those activities and receive huge returns. He says that we're better off focusing on our strong suits where we're most effective rather than focusing our attention on the areas where we think "we need to improve". This idea alone is priceless.
This is practical, useful material that you can put to use today in your business and personal life.
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