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The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less [Hardcover]

Richard Koch
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 May 1997
The 80/20 rule has been validated by economists, mathematicians and business analysts, yet it remains strangely unnoticed. It cuts across and confounds conventional wisdom and is pregnant with paradox. It undermines most mental models: the rational, Cartesian view of the world. It explains why effort and reward are so poorly correlated. It shows how the universe is wonky. Properly understood and used, it helps people control their world better, and provides the secret of success. Understanding the law and acting on that insight can even make one happier. Exactly 100 years ago, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto published his discovery that led to the "80/20 rule" - 80 per cent of the money went to just 20 per cent of the earners. Since then, 80/20 has emerged as an amazing but prevalent law of nature - about 80 per cent of the results flow from 20 per cent of the causes. If the important 20 per cent can be isolated, more can be achieved with less effort. 80/20 has been used since 1950 to achieve a tremendous amount. It has been the guiding principle behind the quality revolution that launched the Japanese industrial miracle and has transformed the value of modern consumer goods such as cars and videos. 80/20 has been deployed by the computer hardware and software producers to change work habits and enrich home entertainment. And the use of 80/20 in business strategy has multiplied profits for many firms, by leading them to focus on the few products and customers where they make the most money. 80/20 is a law of the universe, not just of business. It claims dominion over people's lives; it does not clock off when people do. It relates to personal effectiveness, success and happiness. Every single person who has taken 80/20 seriously has emerged with useful, and in some cases life-changing insights. This book makes 80/20 accessible and usable to everyone to make them more effective and centred on the things that make them happy. Richard Koch is the co-author (with Ian Godden) of "Managing Without Management".

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (6 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857881672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857881677
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The 80/20 principle is the cornerstone of results-based living. Read this book and use it. --Timothy Ferriss, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The 80/20 Principle can provide a key to control our lives
The 80/20 Principle - that 80% of results come from 20% of the causes - has greatly influenced today's world: but this is the first book showing readers how to use it in a practical and systematic way. The pattern of predictable imbalance which was noted a century ago by Pareto crops up throughout life, and in The 80/20 Principle Richard Koch opens our eyes to the way the world really works. He reinforces the principle with many examples of it in operation - 20% of products account for 80% of profits, as do 20% of customers; 20% of motorists account for 80% of accidents...

Most things we do have trivial results, and only a little of what we do really matters. So if we focus on the latter, we can control events instead of being controlled by them - and achieve several times the results. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The 80/20 Principle can and should be used by every intelligent person in their daily life, by every organization, and by every social grouping and form of society. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I have always found the 80/20 principle to be a valuable starting point in finding ways to improve performance. What I liked about this book was that it drew out more of the implications of that principle than I had previously thought about. If you are not familiar with the principle, this will be a good introduction. If you are familiar, you should probably stick to the implications. The review of what you know may feel a trifle repetitive. Another suggestion is that if you keep repeating your focus on the top 20% in each situation, you will make your results geometrically better (more like 1 percent providing 95 percent). If you know people who are not familiar with the principle who are a bit, perhaps, disorganized, this book would be a good gift. Teach this to your children, and you will increase the likelihood that they will move out when they are grown, because they will be able to afford to.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars de ja vu 13 Nov 2010
This book is very good, and in depth, but im sure 80% of the words in this book are saying 20% of the information. IT is so repetitive it is untrue. I'd read about 30 pages and ive already heard the same thing 4 times! I'll keep reading but it's making my eyes go funny seeing 80/20 written so much.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Long and Boring 27 Oct 2009
It is all explained in the title. In life, 80% of what you want is usually produced by 20% of effort put in. He mentions in the book that there is really nothing else published like this.

There is a reason for that; it doesn't take hundreds and hundreds of pages to explain one simple principle. The diagrams are pointless, the examples are repetitive and it just goes on and on and on. I bought this because it was a recommended book after reading "The 4 Hour Work Week". The 80-20 priciple was explained perfectly in THAT book, but "The 80-20 Principle" does the opposite of what it preaches; what could have been done in 20% of the pages has been done in over 80%.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Potentially life changing - in a repetitive way 24 July 2001
By A Customer
I gave this book 5 stars not because it's brilliantly written but because it has the potential to change your life. It really has. The book itself proves the 80:20 rule - because it's very repetitive and could have been written in 20% of the space. But it has something very important to say in that 20%. I liked Koch's attempt to relate the 80:20 rule to your personal life - I'm certainly going to change some aspects of my personal life as a result. But be warned - in the wrong hands this book could be dangerous. You need a certain level of self-awareness before reading it or the advice that he provides could be seriously mis-used. So an important, potentially life altering book - that I highly recommend if your IQ can stand it!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inspired call to achieve more by doing less 1 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Eighty percent of the books I buy I fail to read.
This is one of the twenty percent of books that I own that will have a positive effect on my life and those around me. Richard Koch gives a great analysis of the simple rule, espoused by management consultants for years, that a small part of your effort causes a dissproportianate amount of effect.
The 80/20 principle is a great read for those of us who dont like to work too much, as it gives us the reason why we can still be so sucessfull. It will also be a gem for the overworked because it will show you why those around you who achieve without stress are managing to do it.
The 80/20 rule is nothing new to many of us. This book, however, opens the possibilities of its usage to the limits. It also provides a great link to Chaos theory and how the two philosophies are interdependent. It is a fantastic opportunity for anyone to embrace the idea that planning to succeed may not always involve maximising effort.
As a 80/20 practitioner for some while it has been a pleasure to see these ideas carefully scripted in an inspiring book.
Buy it now and do less and achieve more.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars repetitive but thats the genius of it 12 Feb 2010
I picked up this book as a whim because I had some book tokens going spare and at first I struggled with it. The problem I had was that there were no practical examples in the book, instead he would make a point, repeat the point and maybe give some contrived numbers to illustrate it. Its lucky that I didn't lend it from the library otherwise I would have sent it back straight away.

So why am I giving this 5 stars? Its because his approach (albeit inadvertently) was genius. Often with self help books the author will offer examples, which you will imagine and relate to and then you will carry on reading, much as you would with any good book. As Richard Koch left so much to the imagination however, I couldn't help but think of my own circumstances and how I could apply it to me. And as I had no example to lead me, my mind went and applied 80/20 to the whole of my life, the implications were mind blowing.

I am still working to get to my full 80/20 state because doing so is sometimes an uncomfortable process, however I have found that I am more successful, feel less guilt, commit more time to things I enjoy, am more organised and as one other review said, I walk around thinking that I have a secret that not many other people know.

I would warn that this is an eccentric concept to get your head around and if you apply it to every aspect of your life then your mates may label you as a bit mad or lazy or lucky or a genius, however it will turn your life on its head and may just be the best book you'll ever buy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A lot of waffling
I was familiar with the 80/20 principle before purchasing the book and there was absolutely Nothing new in it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amy
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! And simple
The use of this basic principle can completely change ones life for [much] better! Teach it to your children please!
Published 8 months ago by Marco
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book!
A real educational tool with practical methods on how to implement and execute the concepts. A must have for entrepreneurs.
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesing idea but constantly repeated
I picked this up on the daily kindle special. I'm glad I didn't pay full price for it. The book states how you can use the principal to any part of your life. Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. Lock
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant introduction to a golden principle
Having read it quite a number of years ago, I remember liking quite a bit, yet I can't seem to remember too many specifics about it. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Anton Klink
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but the author keeps repeating himself
There are some interesting points in the book that set you on thinking however half of this book is pretty boring. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dorothy2578
4.0 out of 5 stars The 80/20 Principle
Endorses what one thinks, i.e. that very little of what we all do really maztters! The trick is to firmly establish that 20% of one's effort which will count towards something... Read more
Published 17 months ago by P. Penn-Low
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new and not always accurate.
I'm afraid I found this book a waste of money. The author gets what he wants to say said in the first sections and then rehashes it for the slow learner, over and over and... Read more
Published 19 months ago by W. Reilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Item well made. Exactly as described. Well packed. Reasonable price. Rapid delivery. Excellent seller. Excellent buyer too, come to that!
Published 20 months ago by MP
5.0 out of 5 stars FEW THINGS REALLY MATTER
The author says few things really matter, but they matter a great deal. This is true for business and life in general. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Clinton
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