The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch [Book Summary – Review]

Nowadays, in our frantically paced life, a lot of us should deal with unbearably lengthy to-do lists every day. We may go to our office with the determination to rapidly complete the first activity on the list just to see that new activities have shown up meanwhile.

Likewise, firms are suffocating under complications, struggling to operate in more than one market with an extensive vastness of distinct products, trying to juggle each similar to a clown.

In this hectic condition, knowing what is genuinely vital is more crucial than any time.

This is the reason it is very significant to grasp the beguilingly basic, but tremendously strong 80/20 Principle. This ubiquitous disequilibrium between effort and reward will assist you in making use of the time at work more productively.

Furthermore, there is evidence that firms attained success in counterintuitive ways: by performing less, not more.

At last, you can even implement the principle in your individual life to enhance your bliss and gratification in your relationships with people. You should just embrace the correct 80/20 mindset, as we will read in the following.

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Chapter 1 – Generally, the biggest portion of the outcomes (output) is generated by only a small portion of the work (input).

Did you ever recognize that the majority of the work of a project you finished was performed just before the deadline of the project? Probably in just a few days, when you were close to the deadline, you accomplished more than all the former weeks combined.

In reality, such disequilibria between effort and reward can be perceived in a lot of distinct scenes.

For instance, lots of firms discovered that 20 percent of their whole product assortment brings 80 percent of their profits.

Likewise, it is found out that 20 percent of drivers cause 80 percent of accidents. The majority of drivers drive cautiously but just a small portion is inattentive and is the source of most of the accidents.

This situation is named the 80/20 Principle: Around 80 percent of work outcomes – or output – are generated by 20 percent of work – or input.

What is the reason for this ratio not being more balanced? Since not all causes have the same effect on the results. In reality, we can separate causes into two classes: a minority that has a huge effect on outcomes and a majority that has just a little effect. So, there is an 80/20 split.

However, we should recognize that the 80/20 Principle is just to make it simpler, the ratio can be different, for instance, it can be 70/30 or 99.9/0.01.

Certainly, the figures might not always sum up to a hundred too. For instance, research from 1997 showed that of 300 movies, only four (1.3 percent) brought 80 percent of the ticket revenue.

As you may observe, appearances of the 80/20 Principle could be observed in different scenes and as you will discover, this is precious knowledge.

Chapter 2 – Since we await balance and equity, we cannot instinctively think in terms of the 80/20 Principle.

People are likely to suppose the world is balanced.

However, in reality, equilibrium is not the natural condition of the world – disequilibrium is.

For instance, think of linguistics: Sir Isaac Pitman found that approximately 700 widespread words constitute two-thirds of all talks. If we add their derivatives, this number increases to 80 percent: lower than one percent of the words in English constitute more than 80 percent of the things we tell.

So how can we explain these imbalances?

With feedback loops that augment and boost even little distinctions.

For instance, even though your goldfishes of nearly the same size swimming in the same water, some will be smaller and some will be larger.

The reason?

Since there are small differences between them, the bigger fishes have a little more benefit. In other words, larger fishes can seize more food and become larger at a higher pace than other fishes. In this way, their benefit goes up because this enables them to seize much more food. So, the loop grows with every cycle, finally creating major distinctions in largeness.

However, although such disequilibria are innate, a lot think of them as unjust. For example, think about the inequality in salary and wealth among people: It is named social injustice when 80 percent of the whole wealth is owned by 20 percent of all people.

This comprehended injustice comes from the truth that we suppose that effort and reward need to be of the same importance as a 1:1 ratio.

However, the 80/20 Principle brightly shows that efforts may generate different rewards.

Chapter 3 – You can boost your work procedure with the 80/20 Principle and achieve greater outcomes.

Possibly, now you think that until now everything is great, and ask yourself the ways to implement the 80/20 Principle for yourself and your life.

We can start with observing your professional life, as to how you work right now is probably far from productive. Let’s consider this: if you get 80 percent of the outcomes with only 20 percent of the struggle, you can understand that 80 percent of your struggle is shockingly unproductive.

Think about it: If there would be a way to get rid of the unproductive time and change it with the activities you perform in the productive 20 percent time, you could proliferate the results.

For instance, think as if you regenerate the productivity just before the deadline and maintain it from the beginning of the project to the end.

In reality, inventive utilization of the 80/20 Principle can assist you to boost your productivity since you will deviate your work away from activities that have little influence on your outcomes.

A starting point might be observing and investigating the work procedures and discovering the unproductive portions. You might discover that, for instance, in the prior stages of a project, you ruin time for thinking a lot and pondering about every potential fault. Recognize this and try intentionally to quit pondering about where you can potentially lack success.

No matter what the motives are, by recognizing them and changing your procedure to refrain from them, you can considerably boost your yield.

Chapter 4 – Utilize the 80/20 Principle to boost profits in your business.

Now that we learned about the way to implement the 80/20 Principle to our effectiveness, we are ready to learn the way to implement it in a business.

In reality, you can accomplish this in many ways, however, probably the most significant is optimizing the product assortments of your business.

To accomplish that, first, you need to observe which product assortments are the most profitable ones. Just give rankings to all the products and sales figures, possibly, you will observe that only 20 percent of the sales are occupied by the top products and bring 80 percent of the product.

For instance, the writer, with research at an electronics firm, discovered that the top three products corresponded to 19.9 percent of the total sales although they were generating 52.6 percent of total profits.

When you have found out the 80/20 partition in your firm, the second thing to do is to support and highlight the potential of the 20 percent. Give more importance to these products and concentrate on increasing the sales of them.

At the electronics firm, the author emphasized administration to increase the sales of their highest ranking goods by explaining to salespeople that their sole aim was to multiply the sales of the three goods by two, disregarding others.

Chapter 5 – Ease and decrease complications in your work to become successful.

As everybody realizes, big firms are generally too complicated. Regarding this, administrators should be skilled in dealing with complexity, and frequently they even like hardships and mental stimulation they bring.

However, is acknowledging or even calling in complications the best means to turn into an accomplished firm?

The majority of the people think that magnitude and a large assortment are beneficial for a firm since as the goods a firm sells increase, more profit is thought it would bring.

However, in reality, inner complications have great costs. A large assortment of products necessitates, among everything else, a more complex supply chain, more education for salespeople, and much more administrative effort than a smaller assortment. These elements raise the total cost to the firm – probably even more than what the introduced goods generate.

However, making the business simpler decreases costs. If you cut and concentrate your product assortment, everybody in the firm will be enabled to dedicate their full concentration to the small number of products marketed. This will make them grasp the small number of significant goods more deeply than when they are let to manage a lot of them. Accordingly, this eases managerial effort, furthermore provides economies of scale – advantages obtained from performing the same thing more – in the fields such as logistics and manufacturing.

The strength of these advantages is obvious. For instance, research with 39 medium-sized firms discovered that the least complicated firms were achieving the most. They decreased the number of products they sell to a smaller number of customers and worked with a smaller number of suppliers, which provided more profits.

Obviously, by making your business simple, you can decrease costs and therefore enhance the degree to which you generate profit.

Chapter 6 – You can implement the 80/20 Principle to any dimension of your business, from negotiations to targeted marketing.

We learned the ways to implement the 80/20 Principle to a smaller product assortment and raise profitability. However, how can we apply it to other parts of the business?

Fortunately, the 80/20 Principle is very well-rounded that we can utilize it in essentially any field or department of the business to raise the probability of success.

For instance, negotiations are very significant for all businesses, no matter if it is done with consumers, business partners, or suppliers.

Generally in a negotiation, the topics to be debated are well defined beforehand, however, there exists a lot of them. The 80/20 investigation would possibly demonstrate that just a small number of the topics are meaningful to your firm, therefore, you need to concentrate on winning them instead of objecting to all topics to become in the way you want.

A different example of utilizing the 80/20 Principle is in targeted marketing. If you discovered that 20 percent of your customers make 80 percent of your business, you need to focus on specifying them and persuading them to continue purchasing.

After you specified the customers, be sure that you are providing the perfect customer service to make them loyal customers. In developing new products, target only this 20 percent. This will enable you to raise your share in the market while making the same customers purchase.

For instance, look at Nicholas Barsan, a top real estate broker in the US, who makes more than $1 million from individual commissions annually. More than a third of this revenue is generated from continuous customers who resell their houses, thus obviously his concentration on making his top customers delighted is a profitable tactic.

It needs to be obvious from now on that the 80/20 Principle has near-global implementations in every business.

Chapter 7 – By transforming how you think, implement the 80/20 Principle to your daily life.

As we read in the business cases, the 80/20 Principle is usually applied by examining which 20 percent of efforts make 80 percent of outcomes. However, in your life, it is hard to examine it in this way.

So, we need something different: 80/20 thinking.

Traditional thinking follows a line and supposes that all reasons and inputs are significant equivalently. For instance, as kids, we are told that every friend of ours is evenly valuable to us.

In this case, 80/20 thinking would approve the reality that not all relationships are evenly valuable. Our friendships with some are more significant and our relationships with them are more valuable.

You may tell that 20 percent of your friendships bring 80 percent of the “value”, in other words, for instance, the enjoyment and companionship that you acquire as a part of these relationships.

The main distinction between an 80/20 examination and 80/20 thinking is that the examination would necessitate you to gather information and investigate it to discover the most significant 20 percent, on the other hand, the 80/20 thinking would necessitate you to predict them.

In this case, we cannot quantify the worth of our relationships, however, we can always question ourselves: “From every person in my life, who are the ones that I value the most? What is the amount of weekly quality time I have with them?”.

With this type of question, you can grasp your most significant relationships.

You can understand that, 80/20 thinking suggests you should aim for quality, not quantity, and concentrate on making profound the most valuable and significant 20 percent relationships.

This type of 80/20 thinking can be implemented in lots of places of life without the requirement of concrete information.

Chapter 8 – Concentrate on the most significant activities rather than wasting time thinking of time management.

Possibly you heard about the notion of time management, frequently told about in self-improvement publications. The main idea is to assist you to do more in the available time and there is evidence that this method works: it raises productivity approximately from 15 percent to 25 percent.

However, a better way to become productive is available.

The purpose of time management is to raise productivity by putting more activities into the available time slot. It targets executives who already have a hectic to-do list and at the beginning, sorting daily tasks by looking at significance is needed.

The issues begin here: the majority of people do not decide which of their activities are the most significant ones and end up identifying 60 or 70 percent of them as “high-priority”.

What happens at the end? They find themselves with crowded programs and working for longer times. It is easy to understand that pushing even more activities to an already hectic program would not work, as one can turn out to work longer hours with ease and the worst, end up with burnout.

As an option, managing your time with 80/20 “time revolution” assists you to determine your significant 20 percent activities that generate 80 percent of the success at the beginning, and afterward concentrate on those.

For instance, in his occupation at a consulting company, the author found out that his company was more accomplished than others without any additional work.

Generally, consultants work to handle a broad spectrum of issues for their customers, ending up with just a shallow job, with the customer left responsible for the application of any suggestions.

Instead, the author’s counterparts concentrated on the most significant 20 percent of customers’ problems and utilized the time they kept to provide the customers with assistance in applying suggestions. This way, they could pass other consulting companies and raise their customers’ profits.

This type of “time revolution” assists you to create free time without reducing the influence of your exertion.

Chapter 9 – Accomplish a generally higher quality of life by utilizing the 80/20 Principle widely.

The majority of the people identify the quality of life by their general happiness. Curiously, only a small number of people put effort to transform their lives to higher quality.

In reality, the majority of people do activities that lower their happiness. For instance, lots of people do not enjoy their jobs. Most white-collar employees sit in an office cubicle, do activities without thinking, and expecting the day or week to finish.

Is there a way out?

Simply, you need to determine the allocation of happiness and unhappiness in your days and find out the reasons before putting effort to have a transformation.

Answer the question, what is the 20 percent in your life that gives you 80 percent of your happiness and in the other way around? When you identify the 80 percent of your life that generates too small or no happiness, you need to put effort: just reduce the time you are giving to those activities.

For instance, if your occupation makes you miserable, you may work to discover means to transform that. You may search for other jobs, work to re-describe your current one, reduce working time, etc. No matter how you do it, you must not hand over yourself to work at an occupation that makes you miserable for your whole life.

When you have accomplished to reduce the things that make you unhappy, you will observe that you have more time and vigor to put on things that you feel happy about. For instance, if you have determined to give fewer hours to work, you will have more hours for your loved ones.

You only need to find out the 20 percent of activities that generate 80 percent of your happiness and search how to give more time to them. You can increase the quality of your life if you can do this.

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch Book Review

The 80/20 Principle explains that in virtually every field, 20 percent of your work (input) generates 80 percent of the outcome (output). In other words, approximately 80 percent of work is not productive, and when you reconcentrate these on the 20 percent that is generating the most outcomes, you will see a gigantic increase in productivity. This basic notion can be implemented in every field of life, from business to relationships and life quality.

Make your business better.

If you own a business, you can utilize the main notion explained in this book review to make your business better. You may, for instance, examine your current product assortments and concentrate all your work on the most lucrative 20 percent of your goods.

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Download Pdf

Download Epub


Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile:

Recent Posts