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The 80 20 Principle Summary

Here’s The 80 20 Principle summary. Learn how to boost your effectiveness by focusing on what really matters. Apply the Pareto principle so you get more done.


The 80/20 Principle author Richard Koch explains how a minority of causes and inputs lead to majority of the results. With that insight, you can save time and get more done.

It works this way. 80 percent of what you’ve accomplished came only from 20 percent of your activities. If you know that, you will focus more on that few that drive most of the results.

About the Author

Richard Koch is a former management consultant and entrepreneur. He has authored around 20 books about ideas, business, and personal success. Some of his other works are The Power Laws and Superconnect.

He also achieved massive success in entrepreneurship and investing. He has started and expanded several ventures. He was able to retire at the early age of 40.

Main takeaways: The 80 20 Principle Summary

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from his book:

  1. Focus on the critical few.
  2. Be intelligent and lazy.
  3. Apply Pareto principle to your personal life.

Focus on the critical few

Let’s face it. Not everything matters. There are only a few that makes an impact. Most of what we do won’t matter in the long run.

That’s why we should know what are the few things that produce the most results. For example, maybe just 10 of your customers make up 90% of your sales.

You should focus more on those customers. Instead of chasing the other 50 that consume your time and cause you stress, just focus on the few that sustain your business.

80% of results come from 20% of activities. Those numbers can be different. It can be 90/10, 75/25, or 95/5. The key lesson is that there are only a few things that matter.

Today list all your business or work activities. Figure out which of them consumes the most time. Also figure out which ones produce the most results.

Then prune out those that yield less than satisfactory results. Or put more time to those things that matter.

Be intelligent and lazy

More effort doesn’t always equal to more rewards. It just means you put more effort and time in something.

What counts is the results you’re bringing on the table. If there’s a faster and easier way to accomplish something, go ahead with that.

For example in business. Your customers don’t actually care how long it took you to make your product. What they care about is if your product satisfies their needs and wants.

Focus on what your customers want. Then deliver it in the most efficient way possible. They don’t care much about what you do in the background. The important thing is you provide what they expect.

Being intelligent and lazy helps you focus. You will be selective in what you do. Then laziness will kick in so you only focus on those few things. You avoid overwhelm and you have more energy for necessary tasks.

Apply Pareto Principle to your personal life

Aside from business, the 80/20 principle is also useful for our personal lives. We can apply the Pareto principle to our belongings and relationships.

It’s likely that we only wear a few of our clothes. Most of them are just stuck in the cabinet. Maybe we should donate or sell some of them. This way we will have more space in our closet.

When it comes to relationships, the Pareto principle can also be at work. Instead of spending time on shallow friendships, why not focus on deep ones? These close friends will cause much more happiness than the mere acquaintances.

You can also choose the activities that make you happy. Maybe you’re fond of writing and reading. Why not devote most of your leisure time on that? Instead of using social media, use your free time to read and write. You’ll derive more satisfaction from doing what you love.

Aside from focusing on the critical few, being intelligent and lazy, and applying Pareto principle to your personal life, you will also learn the following from The 80/20 principle:

  • How to make more money the easy way
  • Learn the productivity practices from the masters
  • Keeping it simple
  • The winner-takes-it-all phenomenon
  • How to be more effective with less effort

My personal takeaways

I’ve realized that not everything matters. I should give up most of the things I do. This way I will have more time to do things that I love. I’ll also derive more happiness with that setup.

I don’t need to do everything. Maybe I should perform some tests to know what works. But the key is to focus on the critical few. Those will help me save time, get more results, and give me peace of mind.

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