Richard Koch – Entrepreneur, Business Consultant, and author of several international bestselling books including The 80/20 Principle shares the books that have played the most influential role in his life.
Question: What book or books have you found most thought provoking and influential in your life?
I find it hard to answer your question. The books that really stick in my mind are those I’ve written! I think I have learned as much as anyone from researching them and writing them. The two that really stick out for me are indeed The 80/20 Principle and my latest book Superconnect , written with Greg Lockwood, which took me deep into network science that I had only a superficial knowledge of before I wrote the book!
Of course I have been influenced by other books, but there are so many to choose from and memory will tend to favour the ones I’ve read most recently. If I restrict myself to books not ready recently I would say Honest to God by J A T Robinson (about 1966), Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and A J P Taylor’s Origins of The First World War , which really got me interested in history. I must also mention Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and I’m OK–You’re OK by Thomas Harris, and also M Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled . The last two books really take opposite positions on personal psychology but I found them both really good. I think only the 80/20 can (perhaps) reconcile their positions – Harris says life is easy if we accept ourselves, Peck says life is difficult and we should be very demanding of ourselves. I really do think they are both right. The 80/20 Principle really sides with Harris. Perhaps I should write an alternative version siding with Peck! Life is subtle and complex and so are we, so both perspectives are necessary.
I think Frankl’s book would win top prize for me.
Finally let me mention The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels (1848). I am an anti-Marxist but this is a wonderful little book with fabulous insight into the industrial revolution. Even today it puts globalization into context.
Best wishes from misty Cape Town,