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Koch, Richard, The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less, 1998.

A common statement of the 80/20 Rule is that 20% of products, customers or employees are responsible for about 80% of profits. While the figures 80 and 20 are just rough approximations, the basic idea is that most of your productivity comes from a small percentage of the time or energy you spend at work.

Discussions of the 80/20 Rule pop up under varied labels and in numerous contexts, from business texts to explorations of the Universe. Management consultant Richard Koch wrote the best overview I have found.

This book briefly describes the evolution of the Rule, from Pareto’s early attempts to describe why the rich get richer. It also suggests ways that 80/20 thinking can help you to change and enrich your life. The book’s strength, however, is a broad overview of how to apply the Rule in business, from decision-making and analysis to project management and negotiation.

Koch writes that a “few things are always much more important than most things.” The problem is that “most things always appear more important than the few things that are actually more important.” He advises you to “keep the ‘vital few’ in the forefront of your brain. And keep reviewing whether you are spending more time and effort on the vital few rather than the trivial many

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