Jingjing and Mark are having lunch together.
Jingjing: Mark, I'm glad we could meet again for lunch.
Mark: Me too. Are you busy these days?
Jingjing: Not too busy to eat. But my working hours are pretty full. How about you?
Mark: Well, there's a lot of work for me to do. But I don't have to spend every waking hour at work. I even have time for reading.
Jingjing: I saw you have a new book in your bag. What are you reading now?
Mark: Oh, this? It's called the 80/20 Principle. I've only read the first two chapters.
Jingjing: What's the premise?
Mark: You spend 80% of your time getting only 20% of your work done. With just 20% of your energy, you achieve 80% of your results.
Jingjing: What kind of results is the author talking about?
Mark: He was a business consultant and an investor. So, he's talking about 20% of a company's products driving 80% of sales, 20% of companies in any one industry controlling 80% of the market, even 20% of your stock portfolio earning 80% of your returns.
Jingjing: Hmm, I'm guessing the book is mostly about finding that valuable 20%, and prioritizing.
Mark: Yeah. I'm hoping the best advice from this book is in the 80% I haven't read yet.
Jingjing: Are you planning to read the book cover to cover?
Mark: I might not. The author points out that you needn't spend so much time reading one book. Just read the end first, then the beginning, and a few bits in the middle.
Jingjing: Yeah, that's what I often do when I read a book.
Mark: Well, at least there's an index on the last few pages of this one.
New words: 习语短语
every waking hour 每时每刻
every hour in a day, or a series of days, when you are not sleeping
the main idea, especially at the outset of writing something
stock portfolio 股票投资
all the stocks owned by one investor, not just in one company
treat something as more important/urgent
bits 碎片 部分
the next day 第二天
Jingjing: Hey, I've been thinking about that 80/20 principle. Is it true of people also?
Mark: Yes. One out of five people in a company adds the most value to it. Two members of a ten-person team do most of the work.
Jingjing: So, just 20% of the people in a company are valuable?
Mark: No, that's putting it too crudely. The writer of the 80/20 Principle says that it's not a matter of talent. Most people just haven't found suitable work for themselves.
Jingjing: Does that mean most people ought to change jobs?
Mark: Possibly. The author talks more about people getting caught up in work that they can't do effectively.
Jingjing: There's a difference between what looks valuable and what really adds value to a company. I remember reading about how Microsoft lost some of its passion.
Mark: They were such a cutting edge company when I was in college. According to what you read, what happened?
Jingjing: As the company got big, it became less nimble.
Mark: That's a typical story.
Jingjing: Worst of all, they had a policy called stack ranking. As a project got finished, the manager would make a report on the 10 team members—the two best, seven mediocre ones, and the very worst person on the team.
Mark: So, even if the manager picked the 10 most suitable people in the company for a project team, she would have to later report one of them as the worst?
Jingjing: Yes. Isn't that terrible? It's a good thing threw stack ranking out the window in 2012.
Mark: Too right! Perhaps now we can expect good news from Microsoft again.
New words: 习语短语
that's putting it (too) crudely 过于简单地归纳
describing something in a way that ignores important details
caught up in 被困于
stuck in, occupied by
cutting edge 先锋的 前沿的
newest, most advanced, needed by people
able to change quickly and respond to new needs
throw (something) out the window 去除
get rid of something (especially an idea or a practice)