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The Laws of Subtraction by Matt May

Just because we can pack more in doesn't mean that we should.
Nov | 21 | 2012

Nov | 21 | 2012

Laws of simplicityJust because we can pack more in doesn’t mean that we should.

So says Matthew May, author of The Laws of Subtraction (affiliate link). (Full disclosure: I received a copy from the author and I quoted him in The Age of the Platform.)

I am a big fan of May’s previous works. I’d put In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing (affiliate link) on my top-100 list. After dabbling in business fiction in his last book, May is back with a more conventional business text—and he doesn’t disappoint.

In an era of feature-creep and superfluous functionality, May shows how it’s often best to do nothing or remove things. May’s examples are fascinating, from the WSJ artist who creates those funky drawings to the design of streets and urban areas to Albert Einstein. Backed by solid research in neuroscience and psychology, May’s central premise hits home with me: less is more.

I just like the way the guy thinks and writes.

Over the last few years, I’ve become an Apple convert because PCs and many applications tend to include too many “features.” Something tells me that May would wholeheartedly agree.

Some of the 50 essays from thought leaders were more interesting than others. Truth be told, I would have preferred 50 additional pages of insights from the author himself. I just like the way the guy thinks and writes.

I highly recommend the book and look forward to more from May.


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