I cannot recommend a book more than this one.
I was introduced to it at work as a book that would help me be a better leader/manager. I’ve got a long way to go, but it has had a huge impact on my approach to people at work. In addition, there have been several times where my wife and I have relied on its concepts in how we see, relate to, discipline, and love our 5 children. But that’s for another entry 🙂
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Business-management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; he developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.
So, what does this have to do with the book?
I don’t know if the ratio is really 80:20, but I’ve observed in my career and in dozens of others that how we see and treat others has more to do with our personal success than the oft-lauded ‘harder’ skill sets that are taught in MBA programs. You look at the typical coursework of an MBA and north of 80% of it focuses on business knowledge (finance, accounting, strategy, operations, statistics, etc.) Let’s put the 20% in the PEOPLE MANAGING, SELF-MANAGEMENT, LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT, HR categories. Based on my experience (in healthcare management) for general managers, healthcare administrators, you spend your time and your success is determined by those weakly taught soft/people skills.
L&SD teaches, powerfully, why and how we so easily ruin important relationships. Buy it. Read it. Then, like me, read it again. Every time I do I see my warts, imperfections, and I can better repair damaged relationships that not only allow me to be more effective but also allows the other person to advance.