Create More with Less

Have you heard of the 80/20 principle? probably yes, but can you explain it and provide concrete examples? Ok, maybe not, at least for me. So I read this book – Living the 80/20 Way: Work Less, Worry Less, Succeed More, Enjoy More by Richard Koch

Here’s a teaser/ excerpts from the book which could get you excited. The book is full of examples. citing real-life stories to prove the principle of 80/20

Chapter 1: What’s the Big Idea?

Life today divides into the fast track or the slow track. Both are less agreeable than the broad track of yesteryear. For many the slow track means economic insecurity: low earnings, low social standing, anxiety about unemployment, and missing out on the increasing material delights enjoyed by those on the fast track. But the fast track is not without its hazards. For many it means a single-minded obsession with getting ahead, total commitment to the job at the expense of personal relationships, and a frenzied lifestyle where work takes precedence over everything else. The fast track, too, brings anxiety and poverty, though in this case it’s poverty of time and love rather than money.

If this analysis of the material advantages and personal disadvantages of modern life strikes a chord, I’ve great news. If we accept that modern life works at the material, scientific, and technological level, but often screws up our personal lives, I can announce that there’s a novel way out of this box.

I am referring to the 80/20 principle, the observation that roughly 80 percent of results stem from 20 percent or fewer of causes. Later in this chapter I’ll explain how the principle works and give many fresh examples. For the moment, let me just say that whereas the 80/20 principle has been used successfully in business and economics and has driven progress throughout the modern world, it has not yet been applied, on anything like the same scale, to the lives of individuals. If it were so applied, we could enjoy life much more, work less, and achieve more.

Chapter 2: Create More with Less

All human history, all progress in civilization, involves getting more with less.

Nearly 8,000 years ago, humans moved from hunting savage animals and gathering wild fruits to a system of agriculture, cultivating land, and domesticating animals. Our ancestors got much more and better food with much less struggle and danger.

Until 300 years ago, 98 percent of the working population labored on the land. Then a new agricultural revolution used machinery to transform productivity. Today in developed countries, agriculture employs only 2–3 percent of the workforce, yet produces vastly more food, which is also more varied and nutritious. That’s more with less.

The highway of economic progress in the past 400 years has also been more with less: identifying the few very productive forces and methods (the 20 percent) and multiplying them, so that more results can be obtained from fewer resources. Smaller and smaller amounts of land, capital, labor, management, materials, and time have been used to generate larger and better outputs: more steel for less iron ore, capital, and labor; more and better cars for less energy and cost; more consumer goods of every type, with more features and higher quality, at ever lower prices.

A century ago, computers didn’t exist. Just 40 years ago, a few massive, clunky computers were made with enormous effort and cost. The planet’s total computer power then was far less than that of the small laptop I’m using now. Computers keep getting cheaper, smaller, easier to use, and more powerful. They exemplify more with less.

Every material advance of humanity — in science, in technology, in living standards, in housing, in food, in health and long life, in leisure, in transport, in everything that makes modern life so much richer and more fun than before — gives more with less.

We can often get more with less simply by leaving something out. Algebra does this: it lets us compute more easily by leaving out the numbers, the basis for all computer programming breakthroughs. The World Wide Web operates by taking distance and location out of the equation. The Sony Walkman, a brilliant innovation, is really a cassette player minus the amplifier and speakers, yet it creates a fantastically versatile way of listening to music anywhere. A dry martini makes a great drink by cutting out the Martini. The whole fast-food industry is simply restaurants without the waiters.

It is scant exaggeration to say that more with less is the basic principle by which modern science, technology, and business advance living standards everywhere.

The 80/20 principle says that a small minority of causes lead to a large majority of results. If we know what results we want, therefore, we can look for a super-productive way to get those results. The 80/20 principle guarantees that there is always a way. Every time, more with less is possible, provided that we identify the golden 20 percent: the people, methods, and resources that are extremely creative and productive.

Companies and countries that devise ways to deliver more value for less effort, peoplepower, and money flourish; but they can never rest on their laurels, because there is always a way to deliver even more for even less and somebody will soon find it. Because of the 80/20 principle, economic progress cannot stop.

Yup, this book is interesting, so go grab one at amazon or your local bookstore, I’m sure they do have access to amazon if they dont have the book 🙂

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