The 80/20 Principle (Book Review)


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

author: Richard Koch

what you’ll learn: how to get the most results through the least efforts

Why You Must Read It

You’ve seen people like these — people who’ve worked hard all their lives. They leave the house before dawn and get back after dusk. Every day, they come home tired, exhausted, and covered in sweat. They are the definition of “hard workers.”

And yet, they could never advance far in life. They make a little more than $7.50 an hour. They are dead-tired when they come back from work. They constantly worry about losing their jobs.

Now the question is … why? Why do people work so hard and yet receive so little in return? And why would anyone willingly endure through this “hell?”

The short answer is that these hard workers — the backbone of society — do not know any better. In effect they have not read The 80/20 Principle – The Secret to Achieving More with Less.

There is a secret to success, to getting rich, and to being happy. And as you can tell by the people who have worked hard all their lives, only to get nowhere … working hard is not the secret.

Rather … the secret is to work smart. Do the things that matter.

That may sound like common sense. You’ve probably heard of “work smart, not hard.” Do you know how to do just that? What does it mean to work smart?

The 80/20 Principle will teach you how to work smart, instead of how to work hard. It will show you that through 20% of your efforts, you can achieve 80% of the results.

The average, hard-working Joe got it backwards. He focuses on the 80% — the hard work — that only results in 20% of the reward. He does so much work for so little reward. And as a result, he has no money, no happiness, and no future.

Look … You can be the hardest-working man in the world. You can take a pickaxe and mine for 14 hours a day, without taking even a single break. But can you produce more ore than a guy with a mechanical drill, who is working only half the hours you are? No, you can’t.

Most people today are working their butt off with the pickaxe. A small minority wised up and have chosen to take the easy route with the mechanical drill. As a result, they have the money, the time, and the happiness. The book will teach you how to find and use your proverbial mechanical drill.

It won’t have any rah! rah! motivational fluff. (Gosh, I really hate fluff. I need hearty information — things that can nourish and grow my mind … not useless fluff.) Instead, it will contain priceless ideas that you can work with; it will show you a way of life that will guarantee increased results with decreased efforts.

These are the things you will learn from the book:

  • What is the 80/20 principle.
  • How your business could make more money by having less customers.
  • How your business could make more money by having less products.
  • How your business could make more money by having less employees.
  • How to apply the 80/20 principle to your personal life.
  • How you can have more time.
  • How you can have more money. (This is seriously a goldmine of ideas you can implement today!)
  • How you can have more happiness.
  • How to seem like you’re doing a whole lot, while doing almost absolutely nothing. (Basically, how to be lazy and not get caught.)
  • How the 80/20 principle can work in any part of society — and make the world a better place to live.

The 80/20 Principle is seriously one of the most useful book ever printed. It is one of the top business books and have radically changed my mindset. For example, I have implemented the principle on my website. And as a result, I have gone further and made more from my online endeavors with each year. The work I do pays handsome dividends down the road. My time and effort are no longer a waste.

If you are serious about improving yourself, making more money, having more time, and being more successful. Get this book now!

If you don’t, you are seriously doing yourself a huge disservice.

Remember, be the guy with the mechanical drill. Don’t be the hard worker who tires himself out with the pickaxe, and have nothing to show for it.

Table of Contents

Part One: Overture

  • 1. Welcome to the 80/20 Principle
  • 2. How to Think 80/20

Part Two: Corporate Success Needn’t Be a Mystery

  • 3. The Underground Cult
  • 4. Why Your Strategy Is Wrong
  • 5. Simple Is Beautiful
  • 6. Hooking the Right Customers
  • 7. The Top 10 Business Uses of the 80/20 Principle
  • 8. The Vital Few Give Success to You

Part Three: Work Less, Earn and Enjoy More

  • 9. Being Free
  • 10. Time Revolution
  • 11. You Can Always Get What You Want
  • 12. With a Little Help From Our Friends
  • 13. Intelligent and Lazy
  • 14. Money, Money, Money
  • 15. The Seven Habits of Happiness

Part Four: Crescendo

  • 16. Progress Regained

Choice Excerpt

Free yourself from obligations imposed by others

It is a fair bet that when 80 per cent of time yields 20 per cent of results, that 80 per cent is undertaken at the behest of others.

It is increasingly apparent that the whole idea of working directly for someone else, of having a job with security but limited discretion, has just been a transient phase (albeit one lasting two centuries) in the history of work. Even if you work for a large corporation, you should think of yourself as an independent business, working for yourself, despite being on Monolith Inc’s payroll.

The 80/20 Principle shows time and time again that the 20 per cent who achieve the most either work for themselves or behave as if they do.

The same idea applies outside work. It is very difficult to make good use of your time if you don’t control it. (It is actually quite difficult even if you do, since your mind is prisoner to guilt, convention and other externally imposed views of what you should do — but at least you stand a chance of cutting these down to size.)

It is impossible, and even undesirable, to take my advice too far. You will always have some obligations to others and these can be extremely useful from your perspective. Even the entrepreneur is not really a lone wolf, answerable to no one. He or she has partners, employees, alliances and a network of contacts, from whom nothing can be expected if nothing is given. The point is to choose your partners and obligations extremely selectively and with great care.

Be unconventional and eccentric in your use of time

You are unlikely to spend the most valuable 20 per cent of your time in being a good soldier, in doing what is expected of you, in attending the meetings that everyone assumes you will, in doing what most of your peers do or in otherwise observing the social conventions of your role. In fact, you should question whether any of these things is necessary.

You will not escape from the tyranny of 80/20 — the likelihood that 80 per cent of your time is spent on low-priority activities — by adopting conventional behaviour or solutions.

A good exercise is to work out the most unconventional or eccentric ways in which you could spend your time: how far you could deviate from the norm without being thrown out of your world. Not all eccentric ways of spending time will multiply your effectiveness, but some or at least one of them could. Draw up several scenarios and adopt the one that allows you the most time on high-value activities that you enjoy.

Who among your acquaintances is both effective and eccentric? Find out how they spend their time and how it deviates from the norm. You may want to copy some of the things they do and don’t do.

Get it now!

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  1. Alex,
    I can relate to working hard but i also know how to make people think I’m busy working all the time when I’m here commenting on this blog!!:)
    Work smart not hard is a great motto to follow!
    I remember when i was in the military i used to walk around with a broom all the time. I would find a corner and make believe i was sweeping while everyone else was being made to work on stuff they did not want to do. They even said to the other guys how come i always work and the rest of you are messing around! lol

    Rob’s Blog is the shizz bizz!!

    Great post Alex!!

  2. Great summary of a great book Alex!

    I try to live my life in accordance to the 80/20 principle. It’s something I think about in regards to every action I take.

    I think some people who read this book draw the wrong conclusion. It’s true that it’s about working smarter, not harder, but just as with Tim Ferriss’ 4 hour work week, some people misinterpret it to think that work ethic means nothing.

    • Hey Ludvig,

      You’re a very smart man, to live by the 80/20 principle. If you couple a good worth ethic with maximizing efficiency, you’ll get very far.

      I’ve taken a look at your site; your articles are detailed and well-written. Keep up the good work.


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