Full Review - The 80/20 Principle, Richard Koch

Discover how to do more with less thanks to the 80/20 principle, explained by Richard Koch in order to maximize efficiency in all areas

“The 80/20 principle” is a book that explores one of the most powerful and least understood laws in the universe: the Pareto principle. Also known as the 80/20 law, this principle states that in most areas, around 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Written by Richard Koch, an expert in strategy and management, this book shows how to apply this principle to maximize efficiency and success in business and in life.

The central themes covered include:

  1. The history and foundations of the 80/20 principle : from its origins with the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto to its modern applications.
  2. The application of 80/20 in business : how to identify and focus on the 20% of customers, products or activities that generate 80% of the results.
  3. Using 80/20 for personal productivity : how to prioritize your tasks and activities to maximize your impact.
  4. 80/20 in society and the economy : the implications of the principle in terms of inequality, wealth creation, and progress.

Critical analysis

“The 80/20 Principle” is one of those rare books that offer a completely new paradigm for seeing the world. It's an eye-opening read that has the potential to radically transform the way we approach business, productivity, and life in general.

The highlights of the book:

  • The clear and convincing explanation of the 80/20 principle : Koch succeeds in making this abstract statistical concept concrete and applicable to a multitude of fields.
  • Varied examples and case studies : from business to economics to science and history, the illustrations of 80/20 in action are fascinating and persuasive.
  • Practical advice for applying 80/20 : Koch is not content with theory, he provides concrete strategies for using 80/20 in management, marketing, time management, etc.
  • Reflecting on the wider implications of 80/20 : the book encourages people to think about social issues such as inequality, value creation and progress.

A potential downside is that some of the examples and statistics may seem a bit dated, as the book was originally published in 1997. However, the basic principles remain very relevant and applicable today.

In addition, While the book highlights the importance of focusing on the most important 20%, it may not go deep enough into the strategies for identifying and prioritizing these key elements. Some readers may be left wanting more in terms of practical methodology.

Despite these slight reservations, “The 80/20 principle” remains a powerful and transformative work. It is a highly intellectually stimulating read that has the merit of challenging our assumptions about efficiency, productivity, and value creation.

Key Points to Remember

  1. The 80/20 principle is found everywhere: 80% of the results often come from 20% of the causes. It is a model of imbalance and not of balance.
  2. In business, identifying and focusing on the 20% of customers, products or activities that generate 80% of revenue or profits is the key to profitable growth.
  3. To maximize personal productivity, you must prioritize the 20% of tasks and activities that contribute to 80% of your impact and added value.
  4. 80/20 is not a rigid formula but a framework for thinking. The exact percentages may vary, the main thing is the idea of an imbalance between cause and effect.
  5. Understanding and applying 80/20 is a key skill for succeeding in a world of complexity and an overabundance of information and options.

Similar books

  • “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown
  • “The One Thing” by Gary Keller

Author profile

Richard Koch is a successful entrepreneur, investor, and author, recognized as one of the world's experts on the 80/20 principle.

Koch successfully applied the 80/20 principle in his own career as a businessman:

  • He started his career as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group before becoming an entrepreneur.
  • He co-founded and managed several successful businesses, including LEK Consulting, a strategy consulting firm.
  • As an investor, he has achieved exceptional returns on investment by focusing on a few key investments.

Passionate about the 80/20 principle, Koch has written several best sellers on the subject:

  • “The 80/20 Principle”, published in 1997, was an international success and is considered to be the reference work on the subject.
  • He then went on to deepen the application of the principle in specific areas with “The 80/20 Manager”, “The 80/20 Individual” and others.
  • His books have been translated into over 40 languages and have sold millions of copies.

Koch is a sought-after speaker and consultant to numerous leading businesses, helping leaders apply the 80/20 principle to improve their performance.

With “The 80/20 Principle”, Richard Koch popularized and made accessible one of the most powerful concepts of efficiency and performance.

His book is much more than a simple explanation of a statistical principle. It is a philosophy of life and work, a call to focus on what matters most and to maximize your impact.

Koch's message is both simple and profound: by identifying and focusing on the top 20% in any area, you can get 80% of the results you want with much less effort.

With this book, Richard Koch has established himself as the main evangelist of the 80/20 principle. “The 80/20 Principle” isn't just a book, it's a powerful thought tool for navigating the complexity of the modern world and achieving more with less.


Do you have to be good at math or statistics to understand and apply the 80/20 principle?

No, although the principle has a statistical basis, the book explains the concept in a very accessible and practical way, without complex mathematical formulas. The key is to understand the idea of imbalance between cause and effect.

Does the 80/20 principle only apply to the business world?

Not at all. One of the strengths of the book is to show the universality of the principle, which is found in fields as varied as economics, science, sport, history, etc. The lessons are applicable to professional as well as personal life.

Some criticize 80/20 as promoting inequality and the “law of the fittest.” What does the book respond to that?

Koch addresses these questions and shows that although 80/20 can explain some inequalities, it is also a driver of progress and value creation. The aim is not to accentuate disparities but to use the principle in an ethical and responsible manner.

How to avoid focusing on the key 20% from leading to completely neglecting the rest?

It is indeed a risk to be managed. Koch insists that focusing on the most important 20% does not mean completely ignoring the rest, but allocating your time and resources proportionately. You have to find the right balance.


In conclusion, “The 80/20 Principle” by Richard Koch is a powerful book that offers a new paradigm for addressing efficiency, productivity, and value creation. With its clear explanations, varied examples, and practical advice, it's a roadmap for achieving more with less in a complex and overloaded world.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, student or simply curious to make the most of your potential, “The 80/20 Principle” will give you the keys to identify and focus on what really matters, in your professional and personal life.

A stimulating and transformative book that encourages people to question their habits and priorities. A book worth reading and rereading to fully integrate the powerful 80/20 philosophy. Indispensable for anyone who wants to maximize their impact with minimum effort.