The Pareto Principle (80-20 rule) and Sturgeon's law are overlapping rules-of-thumb.

Sturgeon's law is a statement from Theodore Sturgeon that stated that 90% of all science fiction stories were crap. This has been extended to other fields. It basically says that a small percentage of any endeavor is exception while the rest is mediocre or poor.


The Pareto Principle basically says that the majority of states (80%) is associated with a minority (20%) of actors. Some examples:

(1) concentration of wealth

(2) problem workers in the workplace

(3) healthcare costs


There is overlap with a Gaussian distribution or Z-score.


The practical impact of these observational rules:

(1) applying a solution to all members of a set equally will not solve any problems

(2) focusing on the small percent of outliers is efficient

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