Knowledge Exchange


Review: Living the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch - Friday, December 05 2008


Why We Like This Book:
Living the 80/20 Way offers readers a shortcut to their personal destinations by pre-senting the questions that need to be asked along the way and providing a philosophy that can be applied to each step. By emphasizing focus and enjoyment while discussing work and success, Koch presents a road map that can help anyone get farther on his or her personal journey to success in business, life and relationships. Vivid stories about those who have embraced his lessons help to make them more actionable.

Work Less, Worry Less, Succeed More, Enjoy More

In Richard Koch’s previous book, The 80/20 Principle, he explained with numerous examples how 80 percent of results come from just 20 percent of causes or effort. For example, 80 percent of sales usually come from less than 20 percent of customers, fewer than 20 percent of drivers cause more than 80 percent of traffic accidents, and so on. In his latest book, Living the 80/20 Way, Koch examines the fundamentals of personal suc-cess and shows readers how they can apply his “less is more” and “more with less” ideas to their best 20 percent for better success with money, work, relationships and the good life.

Living the 80/20 Way does more than show readers how to do things differently: It also shows them how to “do less in total.” Koch explains that if we do more of the things that bring us joy, we can do fewer things in total and still transform our lives. Convinced that anyone can benefit by working less and fulfill-ing their passions more, Koch writes that rebal-ancing your life not only creates greater health and happiness, but it can also lead to far greater success.

Koch starts his book by explaining how the way most of us organize our personal and social lives is a mistake; we should live to work instead of working to live. His point is that if we have more self-confidence and the right philosophy, we can accomplish more than we do now, enjoy the work we do more, and spend less time working so we can spend more time with our families and friends. Koch writes that if we apply the 80/20 prin-ciple to our lives as individuals, “we could enjoy life much more, work less, and achieve more.”

A More Productive Way

According to the 80/20 principle, a small minority of causes leads to a vast majority of results. Koch writes that if we know what results we want, we can look for a more productive way to get those results. He explains that if readers apply the 80/20 principle to the way they organize their private and social lives, they can make more money, gain more status, get a more interesting job and make life more exciting.

Koch writes that getting more with less delivers on two promises:

  1. It is always possible to improve anything in our lives, not by a small amount, but by a large amount.
  2. The way to make the improvement is to ask, “What will give me a much better result for much less energy?”

Although expecting more with less might seem to be unreasonable, Koch writes that this is exactly the reason why improvement is possible. By deliberately cutting back on what we put into a task and yet asking for much more, we force ourselves to think hard and do something different. He explains that this is the root of progress.

Koch writes that the trick to getting more with less is picking activities offering a higher reward for less energy.

Blossoming Sidelines

Throughout Living the 80/20 Way, Koch asks many questions that force the reader to question the way he or she spends time. “Could you spend more time on the things you enjoy, even without quitting your day job? Could a hobby, interest or sideline in your life blossom into a new career?” Koch urges readers to find out by spending more time on the things they enjoy. By trying out new projects while you are still working at your normal job, he writes, you can experiment with different ideas until one clicks.

Time Revolution

Another idea found in Living the 80/20 Way is the dismissal of time management. We should manage those things that we are short of, such as money, he explains, and since we are not short of time, it is inappropriate to try to manage it. Instead of managing our time so that we can speed up, Koch writes that we should look to “time revolution” to slow us down and help us to do fewer things. Instead of writing a “to do list,” we should make a “not to do list.” Act less and think more, he writes. “Stop doing anything that isn’t valuable, that doesn’t make you happy.”

One of the primary points that Koch repeatedly returns to is the idea that the present moment is where we need to live. By confining ourselves to the present moment and enjoying it, he writes, we can be proud of our past and hope for our future. “The 80/20 view of time makes us more relaxed and ‘connected.’” Once we are connected, Koch shows us how we can focus on our best 20 percent and find the personal power, happiness and success that are waiting there to be sparked into life.

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