Customer Review

56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I beg to differ, May 24, 2009
This review is from: In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing (Hardcover)
I fail to see what is so great about this book. The idea of elegant solutions is nothing new. The author's definition of elegance is anything but elegant. Consider this definition of elegant instead - "simple, intuitive and powerful."

The book did a lot of rambling. It could be cut by at least a third without loss. I found many of the examples to be contrived, like the California fast food joint with the small menu and an additional secret menu. Does this strike you as elegant?

The one thing that I have praise for is the presentation of the concept of symmetry. The author showed how mathematicians came up with a definition for a term that many may initially feel is undefinable. The mathematical definition of symmetry is a good example of elegance. I disagree, however, with the insistence that elegant solutions must always be symmetric.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 17, 2009 5:15:13 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 24, 2012 9:40:36 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2009 7:14:47 PM PDT
greg haught says:
why would i want to buy a book from an author who denigrates customers in the review section?

thanks for making my decision easy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2009 7:47:38 AM PDT
Michael says:
Ad hominem arguments are very simple...but never elegant. As the author of this book, you should know better.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2009 7:48:30 PM PDT
Guy in Pants says:
What is surprising is that someone who aspires to elegance cannot even accept well meaning and accurate observations of the work at issue. Not finding elegance in this book is just paying attention. Those who claim to have found it should be admired for being so hungry for the idea that they can glean it even from this raw material.

Posted on Jan 4, 2010 11:06:40 AM PST
Earnest Mann says:
To support Cohen's comment, the Japanese idea of perfection in elegance is asymmetrical, "wabi-sabi".

Posted on Jun 5, 2012 7:38:26 PM PDT
ohhmyhead says:
i have to disagree with you about the fast food menu. have you been to an in-n-out? they do only a few things, and they do them very well, which is why there's such a cult following. you will never get lost in the drive-thru's menu. it's clear and concise and frankly refreshing after struggling to gather a car of four people's orders at, say, jack in the box - which seems to serve everything under the sun. i think it's a good example of elegance - especially to highlight those aspects that aren't immediately comparable to a simple, gorgeous dress on an actress at the oscars.

Posted on Aug 28, 2012 3:28:07 PM PDT
Hitch Hiker says:
I was about to buy tickets for the TEDx event where Matthew is a speaker. However reading his comment here has made me decide against this.

Also, I'm not ordering any of Mr. May's books - I can do without the kind of elegance he's displayed here!
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