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Book Review: The 80/20 Manager

by Richard Koch
by Richard Koch

As far as obvious statements go, Richard Koch penned one of the best in any business book when he wrote, “Work is overwhelming.” Fortunately, he sets the hook he baited for readers by following his statement with the news that work doesn’t have to be so taxing. In The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More, Koch takes Vilfredo Pareto’s principle that a small number of events create the majority of effects and applies it to the world of productivity. Koch’s book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Koch is renowned for bringing the connection between focused effort and results to the masses in the million-selling book The 80/20 Principle. Despite that book’s high sales figures, he recounts the basics of the principle for readers in The 80/20 Manager. Koch provides a business context when he explains why not all revenue should not automatically be labeled good for a company. This blind devotion to revenue, in Koch’s words, “drives the worst and most palpably absurd blunders in the business world.”

To keep managers from falling prey to this problem, Koch provides 10 ways to enable leaders to put the thrust of their efforts into the “20” to get the “80” in return. Executives should note that the 10 ways are not steps in a process. They are to be taken a la carte at the author’s direction. Koch writes, “Being brilliant at one of the 10 ways will take you an awful lot further than being competent at all 10.” Each of the ways Koch describes, whether it’s developing a questioning mind, becoming a “superconnector” or piercing your work through simplification, is well-crafted and can be quickly applied by readers.

The 80/20 Manager is a welcome companion to Koch’s previous work and will generate results for executives.

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