Monday, November 26, 2012

The Laws of Subtraction

I am just off US Thanksgiving, Black Friday and now Cyber Monday.  Much of it is about consumerism.  So my answer - reading a book by Matthew E. May called The Laws of Subtraction - 6 Simple Ways for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything.

I like to think I like simple but I do not live simple in many ways.  The recent hurricane showed me my dependence on little things like power, internet and hot water.

The Laws of Subtraction is mostly about design - art and music.  I apply much of it to life though.

May starts with a simplified version of John Maeda's (The Laws of Simplicity) tenth law:

What isn't there can often trump what is. 
The simplest rules create the most effective experience
Limiting information engages the imagination
Creativity thrives under intelligent constraints
Break is the most important part of breakthrough
Doing something isn't always better than doing nothing.

These become the 6 laws and 6 chapters of the book.

At the end of each chapter is a series of one page articles written by "guest authors" giving their view of the topic.  I found these to be some of the best part of the book.  Each author has their own gems of wisdom.  By distilling them to one page, we get the best from each author.

Less is more in design.  It can be more in life too.

I think it might be better in blog entries too.


At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Justin Park said...

Also reminds me of creating unnecessary work just to fulfill one's desire to "be busy."


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