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Solid-state lasers have remained a vibrant area of research because several major innovations expanded their capability. Major innovations are presented with emphasis on the laser efficiency. A product of efficiencies approach is developed and applied to describe laser performance. Efficiency factors are presented in closed form where practical and energy transfer effects are included where needed. In turn, efficiency factors are used to estimate threshold and slope efficiency, allowing a facile estimate of performance. Spectroscopic, thermal, and mechanical data are provided for common solid state laser materials.