Laws of Simplicity

Simplicity is complexity well explained.
That's a statement I came up with back in 2000. I believe that was the start of my simplicity kick. I had recently graduated from college and found that I had way too much crap. Something needed to be done. I had to make a change or I'd be a pack rat forever.

I still have a lot of stuff, but now I have less :) The thing about stuff is that it isn't just physical stuff. You can end up with too much emotional stuff. Too much virtual stuff. Too much stuff.

Recently I heard about a book called The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda. I enjoyed the book quite a bit. It backed up many of the ideas I have formed around simplicity and offered up some fresh ones.

The book is worth a read for both professional and personal reasons. From programmers to politicians, I think any profession can learn a thing or two from this book.

I won't spoil the book for you, but I did pull a few keepers that I'd like to share with you. When you are done reading these, head over to the accompanying website [lawsofsimplicity.com] for more good stuff.

  • Reduce - The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction

  • Failure - Some things can never be made simple

  • Away - More appears like less by simply moving it far, far away

  • Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful

  • Simplicity is about the unexpected pleasure derived from what is likely to be insignificant and would otherwise go unnoticed

  • Anything that can make the medicine of complexity go down easier is a form of simplicity, even when it is an act of deceit

  • Hiding complexity allows the owner to manage the expectations himself

  • Consumers will only be drawn to the smaller, less functional product if they perceive it to be more valuable than a bigger version of the product with more features

  • Savings in time feel like simplicity

  • Giving up the option of choice, and letting a machine choose for you, is a radical approach to shrinking the time we might spend otherwise...

  • ..because technology will only continue to grow in complexity, there is a clear economic benefit to adopting a strategy of simplicity that will help set your product apart.

  • Complexity implies the feeling of being lost; simplicity implies the feeling of being found

  • There's always a return on failure when you try to simplify - which is to learn from your mistakes

1 comment:

Ben said...

So, what is your solution for your vinyl/CD/MP3 fetish you are currently harboring? Is there any means to simplification there? :) I always find myself looking for ways to reduce my life's clutter. Maybe this book will shed some light on new ideas. I personally was thinking of investing in a roll off dumpster. How cool would that be to have at your disposal?! (No pun intended)