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The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less [Anglais] [Broché]

Richard Koch
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Introduction: Welcome to the 80/20 Principle

For a very long time, the Pareto law [the 80/20 Principle] has lumbered the economic scene like an erratic block on the landscape; an empirical law which nobody can explain.
--Josef Steindl

The 80/20 Principle can and should be used by every intelligent person in their daily life, by every organization, and by every social grouping and form of society.  It can help individuals and groups achieve much more, with much less effort.  The 80/20 Principle can raise personal effectiveness and happiness.  It can multiply the profitability of corporations and the effectiveness of any organization.  It even holds the key to raising the quality and quantity of public services while cutting their cost.  This book, the first ever on the 80/20 Principle, is written from a burning conviction, validated in personal and business experience, that this principle is one of the best ways of dealing with and transcending the pressures of modern life.

What is the 80/20 Principle?

The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards.  Taken literally, this means that, for example, 80 percent of what you achieve in your job comes from 20 percent of the time spent.  Thus for all practical purposes, four-fifths of the effort--a dominant part of it--is largely irrelevant.  This is contrary to what people normally expect.

So the 80/20 Principle states that there is an inbuilt imbalance between causes and results, inputs and outputs, and effort and reward.  A good benchmark for this imbalance is provided by the 80/20 relationship: a typical pattern will show that 80 percent of outputs result from 20 percent of inputs; that 80 percent of consequences flow from 20 percent of causes; or that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of effort.

In business, many examples of the 80/20 Principle have been validated.  Twenty percent of products usually account for about 80 percent of dollar sales value; so do 20 percent of customers.  Twenty percent of products or customers usually also account for about 80 percent of an organization's profits.

In society, 20 percent of criminals account for 80 percent of the value of all crime.  Twenty percent of motorists cause 80 percent of accidents.  Twenty percent of those who marry comprise 80 percent of the divorce statistics (those who consistently remarry and redivorce distort the statistics and give a lopsidedly pessimistic impression of the extent of marital fidelity).  Twenty percent of children attain 80 percent of educational qualifications available.

In the home, 20 percent of your carpets are likely to get 80 percent of the wear.  Twenty percent of your clothes will be worn 80 percent of the time.  And if you have an intruder alarm, 80 percent of the false alarms will be set off by 20 percent of the possible causes.

The internal combustion engine is a great tribute to the 80/20 Principle.  Eighty percent of the energy is wasted in combustion and only 20 percent gets to the wheels; this 20 percent of the input generates 100 percent of the output!

Pareto's discovery: systematic and predictable lack of balance

The pattern underlying the 80/20 Principle was discovered in 1897, about 100 years ago, by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923).  His discovery has since been called many names, including the Pareto Principle, the Pareto Law, the 80/20 Rule, the Principle of Least Effort, and the Principle of Imbalance; throughout this book we will call it the 80/20 Principle.  By a subterranean process of influence on many important achievers, especially business people, computer enthusiasts and quality engineers, the 80/20 Principle has helped to shape the modern world.  Yet it has remained one of the great secrets of our time--and even the select band of cognoscenti who know and use the 80/20 Principle only exploit a tiny proportion of its power.

So what did Vilfredo Pareto discover?  He happened to be looking at patterns of wealth and income in nineteenth-century England.  He found that most income and wealth went to a minority of the people in his samples.  Perhaps there was nothing very surprising in this.  But he also discovered two other facts that he thought highly significant.  One was that there was a consistent mathematical relationship between the proportion of people (as a percentage of the total relevant population) and the amount of income or wealth that this group enjoyed.  To simplify, if 20 percent of the population enjoyed 80 percent of the wealth, then you could reliably predict that 10 percent would have, say, 65 percent of the wealth, and 5 percent would have 50 percent.  The key point is not the percentages, but the fact that the distribution of wealth across the population was predictably unbalanced.

Pareto's other finding, one that really excited him, was that this pattern of imbalance was repeated consistently whenever he looked at data referring to different time periods or different countries.  Whether he looked at England in earlier times, or whatever data were available from other countries in his own time or earlier, he found the same pattern repeating itself, over and over again, with mathematical precision.

Was this a freak coincidence, or something that had great importance for economics and society?  Would it work if applied to sets of data relating to things other than wealth or income?  Pareto was a terrific innovator, because before him no one had looked at two related sets of data--in this case, the distribution of incomes or wealth, compared to the number of income earners or property owners--and compared percentages between the two sets of data.  (Nowadays this method is commonplace and has led to major breakthroughs in business and economics.)

Sadly, although Pareto realized the importance and wide range of his discovery, he was very bad at explaining it.  He moved on to a series of fascinating but rambling sociological theories, centering on the role of elites, which were hijacked at the end of his life by Mussolini's fascists.  The significance of the 80/20 Principle lay dormant for a generation.  While a few economists, especially in the US, realized its importance, it was not until after the Second World War that two parallel yet completely different pioneers began to make waves with the 80/20 Principle.

1949: Zipf's Principle of Least Effort

One of these pioneers was the Harvard professor of philology, George K. Zipf.  In 1949 Zipf discovered the "Principle of Least Effort," which was actually a rediscovery and elaboration of Pareto's principle.  Zipf's principle said that resources (people, goods, time, skills, or anything else that is productive) tended to arrange themselves so as to minimize work, so that approximately 20-30 per cent of any resource accounted for 70-80 per cent of the activity related to that resource.

Professor Zipf used population statistics, books, philology, and industrial behavior to show the consistent recurrence of this unbalanced pattern.  For example, he analyzed all the Philadelphia marriage licenses granted in 1931 in a 20-block area, demonstrating that 70 percent of the marriages occurred between people who lived within 30 percent of the distance.

Incidentally, Zipf also provided a scientific justification for the messy desk by justifying clutter with another law: frequency of use draws near to us things that are frequently used.  Intelligent secretaries have long known that files in frequent use should not be filed!

1951: Juran's Rule of the Vital Few and the rise of Japan

The other pioneer of the 80/20 Principle was the great quality guru, Romanian-born U.S. engineer Joseph Moses Juran (born 1904), the man behind the Quality Revolution of 1950-90.  He made what he alternately called the "Pareto Principle" and the "Rule of the Vital Few" virtually synonymous with the search for high product quality.

In 1924, Juran joined Western Electric, the manufacturing division of Bell Telephone System, starting as a corporate industrial engineer and later setting up as one of the world's first quality consultants.

His great idea was to use the 80/20 Principle, together with other statistical methods, to root out quality faults and improve the reliability and value of industrial and consumer goods.  Juran's path-breaking Quality Control Handbook was first published in 1951 and extolled the 80/20 Principle in very broad terms: The economist Pareto found that wealth was nonuniformly distributed in the same way [as Juran's observations about quality losses].  Many other instances can be found--the distribution of crime amongst criminals, the distribution of accidents among hazardous processes, etc.  Pareto's principle of unequal distribution applied to distribution of wealth and to distribution of quality losses.

No major U.S. industrialist was interested in Juran's theories.  In 1953 he was invited to Japan to lecture, and met a receptive audience.  He stayed on to work with several Japanese corporations, transforming the value and quality of their consumer goods.  It was only once the Japanese threat to U.S. industry had become apparent, after 1970, that Juran was taken seriously in the West.  He moved back to do for U.S. industry what he had done for the Japanese.  The 80/20 Principle was at the heart of this global quality revolution.  

From the 1960s to the 1990s: progress from using the 80/20 Principle<...

Revue de presse

From The 80/20 Principle:

"The 80/20 Principle can and should be used by every intelligent person in their daily life...It can multiply the profitability of corporations and the effectiveness of any organization. It even holds the key to raising the quality and quantity of public services while cutting their cost... The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards. Taken literally, for example, 80 percent of what you achieve in your job comes from 20 percent of the time spent. Thus for all practical purposes, four fifths of the effort--a dominant part of it--is largely irrelevant."

To learn how you can tap the hidden potential of the 80/20 principle in your life, read Richard Koch's exciting new book.

From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 288 pages
  • Editeur : Crown Business; Édition : Reprint (19 octobre 1999)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0385491743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385491747
  • Dimensions du produit: 20,4 x 13,2 x 1,6 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 15.360 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index
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3.0 étoiles sur 5
3.0 étoiles sur 5
Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Appliquez le principe immédiatement... 24 juin 2010
Par Rocher
... à la lecture de ce livre... lisez les 20% du livre qui en font 80% de sa valeur...

Le reste du livre est répétitif, long, ennuyeux... bref, 80% du livre ne sert à rien!
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2.0 étoiles sur 5 Livre trop ambitieux 8 octobre 2011
Ce livre fait partie de la liste de lecture recommandée par Josh KAUFMAN pour le Personal MBA.

L'idée de présenter la loi de Pareto ou règle des 20/80 est tout à fait louable, mais il n'y a pas suffisamment de matière pour y consacrer un livre entier. Le principe des 20/80 s'applique à de nombreuses informations. Richard KOCH donne de nombreux exemples et tableaux d'applications. On retiendra, qu'au delà de la simple règle de répartition, la loi de Pareto nous incite à nous consacrer à l'essentiel et à hiérarchiser les tâches. Cependant, la loi de Pareto doit être appliquée avec dicernement. Ainsi Richard KOCH fait abstraction du phénomène de longue traîne !

Le livre est intéressant mais très répétitif. Le lecteur y appliquera donc la loi de Pareto en ne le lisant que partiellement.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Important, mais repetitif 31 mai 2010
Par C. V. Aze
Le livre a une idée de base très importante, ainsi que des analyses intéressantes.
Par contre, il est beaucoup trop repetitif !
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  143 commentaires
285 internautes sur 292 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good Explination of Concept; Don't Read Cover-to-Cover 2 décembre 2002
Par J. Straub - Publié sur
In The 80/20 Principle, Koch proffers that 20 percent of what companies and individuals do generates over 80 percent of their positive results (a theory that he attributes to Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist around the turn of the 20th century). Koch proposes that by identifying the 20 percent of the activities that generate 80 percent of the results and increasing the effort put into those 20-percent activities you can dramatically improve results. To this end he provides an astute evaluation of the economic and social realities of business.
Koch goes further, though, and tries to extrapolate the 80/20 theory to success, happiness and life in general. While some of what he suggests makes sense, his examples seem to get progressively weaker as he moves away from the world of business.
The book's other main flaw results from its severe organizational problems. Koch seems to have a very limited number of examples - and because of their repeated re-use (and in many cases their limited pertinence to the topic at hand) the book seems to weave in and out of topics, making it somewhat difficult to follow for anything else than a linear read.
The principal, itself, is almost a truism, which as Koch points out, is not thought about nearly enough. The books main strength is that he explains the concept quite well. Unfortunately, the extrapolation to life in general and the organizational difficulties make 80 percent of the book just not worth reading. Read the first two chapters - they explain the principal - and the last chapter (which basically explains all of the extrapolation theories) then put the book down - you will have read the 20% of the book that contains over 80% of the value!
286 internautes sur 294 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 If you only read five books, this should be one: 80/20 23 janvier 2003
Par ConsultantsMind - Publié sur
The principle is simple, but counter-intuitive: Nature creates imbalances. This is true for money (20% of people have 80% of the wealth), crime (20% of criminals commit 80% of crimes), energy usage (15% of population uses 85% of energy), competition (20% of suppliers have 80% of market share)and even carpet (20% gets 80% wear and tear). . .
In a non-linear world:
1) Celebrate exceptional productivity . . .look for the short cut. . .be selective. . . only do what you do best. (pg 38)
2) Keep it simple. Size often creates complexity - which in turn creates inefficiency. Pour your effort into the 20% that makes a difference. Sometimes it is better to lose unprofitable customers to competitors (pg 93)
3) Hold on to your good customers and employees forever!
4) The key to 80/20 is not time-mangement. Don't try to do more. Just do more of the right things.
5) Do what you enjoy because enthusiasm and success is a complementary cycle.
6) Three great lists:
The top 10 low-value uses of time (pg 161)
The top 10 highest value uses of time (pg 161)
The ten golden rules for career success (pg 194)
95 internautes sur 103 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 NO WONDER ITS THE ONLY BOOK ON 80/20 EVER WRITTEN 11 novembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
I suggest readers borrow this book from a public library and take Richard Koch's Oxford tutor's advice (found on Page 25): "Read the conclusion, then the introduction, then the conclusion again, then dip lightly into any interesting bits.'
More than 80 per cent of the value of this book can be found in 20 per cent or fewer of its pages, and absorbed in less than 20 per cent of the time most people would take to read it through.
Thus re-confirming the 80/20 Principle.
51 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This Has Real Application for You Today. 6 décembre 2000
Par J. Charles Hansen - Publié sur
I read this book about a year ago, and still regularly think of it and apply it's concepts in my life and business.
I have worked in sales for years, so I am very familiar with the 80/20 concept as relates to business. Simply stated in my field of real estate it's a proven fact that in different markets of the country and over time 20% of the agents make 80% of the income. This is true in other types of sales as well. Of course the flipside of this is that the large 80% of the agents only make 20% of the income. Basically a small number of people make most of the money. Why this is has been debated, but it seems to be a consistent rule that holds.
Koch points out how 80/20 is seen in other areas. For example 20% of taxpayers account for 80% of IRS revenue. What Koch does then is expand this rule to all aspects of life. He says that the 80/20 rule holds for all kinds of activities. He says that 20% of your work activity is responsible for 80% of your productivity on the job. And that 20% of your leisure time is responsible for 80% of your happiness. When I read this I just knew intuitively that it is true. So the next step is to figure out what the 20% activities are that are paying off the 80% returns in your work, or personal life, or anything. And then devote your energy into those activities and receive huge returns. He says that we're better off focusing on our strong suits where we're most effective rather than focusing our attention on the areas where we think "we need to improve". This idea alone is priceless.
This is practical, useful material that you can put to use today in your business and personal life. Koch has some seemingly offbeat ideas about playing with time unconventionally, boosting happiness, productivity through being "intelligent and lazy", and more that I loved. It really opened my mind to a range of possibilities.
Koch is a successful businessman who says he researched and could find no other books written on this subject.
16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 If you only read one book this year, read this one. 14 décembre 2004
Par Max7777 - Publié sur
This is the only review I ever wrote for a book, but this is such an important book, that I had to do it. On the face of it the book is self evident in many ways, as the entire book is summarized in its title, the 80/20 Rule: 80% of the results comes from doing the 20% of the work that truly mattered. Yet this book helped me become successful far more than my 2 years MBA. I read about 30 books a year, and in the past 5 years I feel this has been the book that helped me the most in my work and in my life, as it opened my eyes: Do only the 20% that matters the most, and you will have achieved 80% of the results. He also gives other good advice, do what comes easy to you, and become a top expert in it, outsource everthing else. etc..I feel everybody should read this book, it will help them achieve so much more and at the same time, save so much time and effort. It is Priceless advice.
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