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Article Review Example: The 1 Percent Rule

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The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards by James Clear


James Clear is a writer, photographer, and habit formation expert. He studies human society, lifestyle, and behavior. James Clear is a regular author of Entrepreneur Magazine; his works and personality have attracted the attention of CBS and Forbes. On his website, Jamesclear.com, he places various articles that explain the complex concepts of psychology, sociology, philosophy, and neuroscience naturally and understandably. He is also the author of two science-based books “Transform Your Habits” and “Mastering Creativity.”

Storytelling line

The article “The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards” is a great example of James Clear’s writing style and ideas. Following his usual strategy, the author has chosen an interesting scientific concept and shared it with his readers in a clear and concise language.

The article begins with a story about a man named Vilfredo Pareto. Storytelling is a perfect way to start an article. My attention was drawn instantly. The story about pea pods and the genius economist of the 19th century is an excellent start for further presentation of the main idea. If the writer had started from a detailed biography of the Italian scientist Vilfredo Pareto, that would have been an unforgivable mistake. Anyway, the first part of the article 100% met my expectations.

Interpretation of Pareto’s ideas

The story about pea pods is followed by an intriguing question: “What if this unequal distribution was present in other areas of life as well?” The next section is dedicated to the process of development of the Pareto Principle. Here, James Clear refers to the well-known works of the Italian economist: “Cours d’économie politique” and “Manual of Political Economy.” The citing of the primary sources of information left no doubt about the credibility of the article.

The next part is about the interpretation of Pareto’s idea today. In my opinion, this section is the only weak spot of Clear’s writing. The language is still simple and easy to understand, but the provided examples are too specific. The writer tells about the distribution of the rewards in the world of basketball and soccer. The examples are relevant, yet still can’t be as interesting for all readers like the one about the Amazon rainforest.

Simple examples of complex ideas 

As mentioned above, the example from nature is far more appropriate for the general public. The author explains how the slightest advantage leads to hyperdominance. He refers to the reputable source Science Magazine. In a soothing and clear way, he introduces one more scientific concept – the effect named “accumulative advantage.”

From the Amazon rainforest, the article moves on to human society: “Like plants in the rainforest, humans are often competing for the same resources.” The real-life examples taken from different realms of social life (politics, art, sport, business, and media) allow the readers to understand how people compete for a better life in society the same way as it happens in the natural environment.

“Winner-Take-All” and “Winner-Take-Most” effects

Next, James Clear focuses on two interesting effects named “Winner-Take-All” and “Winner-Take-Most.” There is a tight connection between a one-time significant success and further outsized rewards. Along with the regular life-based examples, the writer cites the Bible to define the Matthew Effect: “For all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” That is one more great illustration of the 80/20 Rule (another name for the Pareto Principle).

Finally, the conclusive paragraphs go back to the title. James Clear synthesizes all the effects mentioned above and calls this concept “The 1 Percent Rule.” The author doesn’t miss an opportunity to mention the importance of good habits: “You only need to be slightly better than your competition, but if you are able to maintain a slight edge today and tomorrow and the day after that, then you can repeat the process of winning by just a little bit over and over again.” Anyway, habits are his passion so that the readers may forgive this somewhat inappropriate mention.


The idea of the article “The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards” is utterly simple: you should accumulate the smallest advantages in order to get the biggest rewards. James Clear doesn’t overuse the terms and complex words, and that makes his article accessible to the majority of the potential readers. I highly recommend reading this article to those who want to learn more about how the world works without too much effort.


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