Top positive review
THE most pivotal book I've read in my business career
Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2016
Some people have cynically commented that you only need to read 20% of this book, and the rest is all repetition.
Those people do not actually understand the fractal nature of the 80/20 principle - how pervasive it is, or the extent to which you really need to immerse yourself in these concepts. Their opinions are worthless.
I first read this book in 2003. I got to page 14 and Richard was explaining how 80/20 is closely related to chaos theory. I suddenly had an epiphany - making realizations that weren't even explicitly stated - and realized that inside every 80/20 is another 80/20, and another and another. 80/20 is fractal!
Suddenly I looked out the window and saw 80/20 EVERYWHERE - in the trees, in the street, in the carpet in my house, in nearly every column of every spreadsheet in my business. Before I'd barely seen it at all, and even then only in the rear view mirror. After, I saw it everywhere all around me.
At the time I was just starting to crack the code on Google AdWords, and I realized 80/20 is the key to pretty much everything in AdWords. And in marketing itself. 80/20 became my secret weapon. It was the backbone of AdWords and I included an 80/20 chapter in my very first ebook, "Definitive Guide to Google AdWords" which eventually became Entrepreneur Press's "Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords" which is the world's #1 book on internet advertising. It also inspired my book "80/20 Sales and Marketing."
Richard makes a key observation, which is the difference between 80/20 ANALYSIS and 80/20 THINKING. Analysis is backward-looking. 80/20 Thinking is forward looking. When you know, in advance, that whatever you do is going to be 80/20 and nothing you do can change that, you artificially stack the deck to favor early successes. You kill your runts faster. You search for patterns that most people miss, and shortcut months or years of failure.
Richard also delves into many subtleties of how 80/20 manifests in business, and how most businesses are losing money every time they sell 20% of their product line. This is a very big deal.
I'm now reading this book, 13 years later, AGAIN (not sure how many times I've cracked it) and it's still producing new jewels. Yes, you can read 20% of this book and it could still potentially change your life. But if you understand 80/20, you should read that kind of book 5 times and you can be nearly certain that you'll get 10X your time investment back every single time.
When Richard starts getting philosophical near the end about this applying to relationships and whatnot, don't give in to the temptation to think he's over-reaching. He's not. 80/20 is a fundamental axiom of cause and effect, one of the great secret laws of the universe.
I've read a LOT of great books but this one tops the list. It's been worth many millions of dollars to me in my career.