The remote control for my TV has no less than 49 buttons. The DVD controller adds another 44 – for a grand total of 93! All I want to do is watch a movie. Can John Maeda’s book, THE LAWS OF SIMPLICITY, help?
But what this M.I.T. professor/artist can do is lay out a usable framework that simplifies the complexities inherent in the evolving worlds of business, design, and technology. A key phrase from the book states “…the pursuit of simplicity is positioned as a strategic tool for businesses to confront their own intrinsic complexities. ”
Ten laws, such as reduce, organize, learn, trust, etc., create a toolbox with which individuals or corporations can hope to “uncomplicate the human experience.” And, while there is an abundance of real-world business and technology scenarios cited, these are used solely as metaphors to explain often-intangible concepts. Practical, direct applications are scarce, but this was never meant to be a typical self-improvement tome.
Acronyms abound. And abstract diagrams that bear a resemblance to either Lichtenstein prints or electronic Tomagocchi pets become icons that illustrate each of the laws.
And yet, this is not a geek’s handbook.
It is a series of relatable essays that can help one stay afloat and navigate the oceans of information, technology, and input that inundate society today. The value doesn’t lie in the number of pages, but rather the number of ideas per page. Practicing his first law of simplicity, Maeda has kept the book very brief. So this could be a very beneficial way to spend a lunch hour or short flight.
It simply shines.