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The Pyramid Principle

The Pyramid Principle

Logic in Writing and Thinking
3rd Edition

Barbara Minto

Nov 2008, Hardback, 192 pages
ISBN13: 9780273710516
ISBN10: 0273710516
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How many times have you written an email at work, read it back and found that it didn't make as much sense as you'd hoped? or worse, someone else has told you that they can't follow it. The Pyramid Principle will show you how to communicate your ideas clearly and succinctly.

Barbara Minto reveals that the mind automatically sorts information into distinctive pyramidal groupings. However, if any group of ideas are arranged into a pyramid structure in the first place, not only will it save valuable time and effort to write, it will take even less effort to read and comprehend it.

The Pyramid Principle explains how to: • think creatively, reason lucidly, and express ideas with clarity • define complex problems and establish the objectives of any document • assess your ideas and recognize their relative importance • structure your reasoning into a coherent and transparent argument • analyze your argument to confirm its effectiveness.

The clear communication of ideas, whether to clients, colleagues or the management board, is a key factor in determining personal success. Applying the Pyramid Principle will enable you to present your thinking so clearly that the ideas move off the page and into the reader’s mind with a minimum of effort and a maximum of effect.

Bring your ideas to life!


Intro to Part I - The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing


  • 1. Why a pyramid structure
  • 2. The substructures within the pyramid
  • 3. How to build a pyramid structure
  • 4. Fine points of introductions
  • 5. Deduction and induction: the difference
  • 6. How to highlight the structure

Intro to Part 2 - The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Thinking


  • 7. Questioning the order of a grouping
  • 8. Questioning the problem-solving process
  • 9. Questioning the summary statement
  • 10. Putting it into readable words

Appendix: Problem Solving in Structureless Situations

Barbara Minto developed The Pyramid Principle through her early years as a consultant at mckinsey & Company, Inc. She now runs her own consultancy, International, Inc., specialising in teaching the pyramid principle to people whose major training is in business or the professions. She has taught her course to most of the major consulting firms in the world's largest corporations and government organisations.