The Minto Pyramid Principle

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Logic in Writing, Thinking and Problem Solving

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we'll unlock the book The Minto Pyramid Principle, subtitled Logic in Writing, Thinking, and Problem Solving.

Before going any further, let's imagine a life scenario like this:

You are about to leave your house to shop, and your wife, who is watching television, says:

"Since you need to go out, please buy something on your way back. I am craving grapes from watching all those ads on TV."

You take your coat from the closet.

She then says, "We also need some milk."

You put on your coat.

She says again, "It seems that our potatoes are running low, don't forget to get some. By the way, we’re also out of eggs."

You walk towards the door.

Your wife goes on, "Please get some carrots, and maybe some oranges."

You press the elevator button.

She calls out again," And butter please."

You walk into the elevator.

Finally, she says, "Some apples and sour cream."

Now, can you remember everything your wife wanted you to buy? You would probably forget everything except for the first item, grapes, and the last item, sour cream. Forgetting is perfectly normal. In fact, it would be difficult to recall anything when your mind is flooded by information on 9 different objects, which also appear to be disorganized.

However, if we use the Minto Pyramid Principle, we would be able to recall information much quicker. First, have a look at the product categories; we need to buy fruits, dairy products, and vegetables. We have grapes, oranges, and apples for the fruit category; milk, eggs, butter and sour cream for the dairy category; then potatoes and carrots for the vegetable category. This simple categorization enables us to instantly remember the things we need to buy. Such a categorization method is the essence of the Minto Pyramid Principle. It makes everything clear and organized.

The Minto Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto, a consultant of the well-known consultant management firm McKinsey & Company. She graduated from Harvard University and was the first female consultant at McKinsey. During her consulting career, seeing that her written reports were always concise and self-explanatory, the company noted her abilities in writing and communication and allowed her to assist other consultants. In the process, she discovered that some articles only required a glance for their message to be understood. Such articles had a common characteristic: a clear pyramidal structure. This discovery led her to develop a thinking structure as a tool to craft coherent articles. These methods were described in detail in her work, The Minto Pyramid Principle.

Since the introduction of the Minto Pyramid Principle, Barbara Minto has been invited to teach courses at big companies and management consultancy firms across the globe. She has also lectured at Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, and London business schools and the State University of New York. The goal was to guide people from all works of life including, for example, individuals who needed to create complex reports, research articles, or presentation slides.

The Minto Pyramid Principle has made a profound impact. Today, the Pyramid Principle has become the standard for McKinsey & Company. It has actually also become the standard of the consulting sector. Many schools and companies adopt it as training material to teach critical thinking and communication skills to students or employees.

Next, we will unlock this book in three parts:

Part One: What is the Minto Pyramid Principle?

Part Two: How to build a pyramidal structure?

Part Three: How to use the Minto Pyramid Principle to solve problems?

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