The Minto Pyramid Principle [Book Summary]

The Minto Pyramid Principle Cover

Today we’re reviewing The Minto Pyramid Principle. A book by Barbara Minto of McKinsey who pioneered the SCQA (Situation, Complication, Question and Answer) framework. This is now the heart of the structured analysis that the top strategy consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG and Bain (the MBBs) use to solve client problems.

So let’s get to the meat.


Why This Book is Awesome

This is one of the best guides to structured and logical thinking and problem solving out there. It lays out how to solve problems effectively and present them using a method called Pyramid Logic pioneered by the author.


Summary Diagram


The Minto Pyramid Principle


Key Highlights

– The Situation -> Complication -> Question -> Answer framework that is used at management and strategy consulting firms across the world

– How to use decision trees, PERT analysis and other diagnostic tools to break down, solve and communicate complex problems

– Inductive vs Deductive reasoning and their uses (inductive logic being similar points leading to conclusion and deductive logic being causal points leading to conclusion)

– This is the book that introduced MECE (Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive) thinking to the world

– Many case studies of real life consulting problems and their solutions



I would go so far as to say that this should be required reading for anyone who aspires to be a management or strategy consultant, business analyst, project manager or someone who is even remotely required to think and solve problems on a daily basis (which is most of us) Highly, highly recommended as a handbook of effective thinking to come back to time and time again.


Further Reading

– Link to the Book: The Minto Pyramid Principle

– Awesome Medium article on the book

– Another book on strategy consulting frameworks that builds on this one and walks the reader through how to pass case interview assessments in the top strategy consulting firms: Case Interview Secrets

Mohammad Kashif Choudhury

Kashif is a Business Analyst and Strategy Consultant trained in the art and science of breaking down problems, structuring solutions and implementing them. He works at the intersection of data and strategy across health, education and finance, striving to find ways to synergize technology and human effort to solve the biggest problems.

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