Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review: The 80/20 Principle

The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

The 80/20 Principle tells us that in any population, some things are likely to be much more important than others. Or, the universe is predictably unbalanced. Few things really matter, and  some other few, never.  
The book then introduces the 80/20 principle as a stipulation that a minority of causes, inputs or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs or rewards. It then goen on to its invention by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, and goes on to examine the resons behind the 80/20 principle. Next chapter discuss how the 80/20 Principle works in practice and what it can do. How it can meet the needs of both fuzzy thinking and accurate analysis.  
The next many parts of the book is about corporate success, where successful application of this principle in areas like statistical quality control is discussed. Also, the role of such principles in information processing related fields, inventory control, and other facets of an industry. The book then examine the role of time, while discussing certain snappy issues, like: a) 80 per cent of achievement is attained in 20 per cent of the time taken; conversely, 80 per cent of time spent leads to only 20 per cent of output value. and b)80 per cent of happiness is experienced in 20 per cent of life; and 80 per cent of time contributes only 20 per cent of happiness. It then introduce a quite different and, to those suffering from the conventional view, startlingly liberating, idea of time. "The 80/20 Principle says that we should act less. Action drives out thought. It is because we have so much time that we squander it. The most productive time on a project is usually the last 20 per cent, simply because the work has to be completed before a deadline. Productivity on most projects could be doubled simply by halving the amount of time for their 
completion. This is not evidence that time is in short supply." And to bring the benefits of these principles into our life, there is no need to wait for everyone else, the book says. "You can identify the mass of irrelevant and low-value activity and begin to shed this worthless skin. You can isolate the parts of your character, workstyle, lifestyle and relationships that, measured against the time or energy involved, give you value many times greater than the daily grind; and, having isolated them, you can, with no little courage and determination, multiply them. You can become a better, more useful and happier human being. And you can help others to do the same.
This book has discussed a modern management tool in a rather wide ambit. Though I could not find any explicit mention of the practical aspects of implementing it, it gives me new ideas, about how to assess or control, efficiency at workplace.