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The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) Hardcover – August 21, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 313 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this breezy treatise, graphic designer and computer scientist Maeda proposes ten laws for simplifying complex systems in business and life-but mostly in product design. Maeda's upbeat explanations usefully break down the power of less-fewer features, fewer buttons and fewer distractions-while providing practical strategies for harnessing that power, such as SHE: "Shrink, Hide, and Embody." The first three laws, based on principles of reduction, organization and efficiency, form the foundation for increasingly complex and self-referential concepts like the importance of context and the potential for failure in simplification (by the end of the book, Maeda is chiding himself for using too many acronyms). Combined with trust and emotional engagement (laws 7 and 8), Maeda demonstrates how complex systems can become downright lovable: Maeda recalls "the Tamagocchi craze of the late 1990s... showed that anyone could fall in love with a small electronic keychain," drawing a corollary to the almighty iPod (an iconic example referred to throughout). Emphasizing the delicate balance-work involved in simplifying the complex, Maeda admits the process isn't easy, and that his ten laws don't necessarily provide all the answers-in numerous places, he directs readers to the web site where his theories continue to develop. Despite that, this slim book feels complete in itself; not only will it stimulate ideas, it will keep readers thumbing back for a second and third look at Maeda's deceptively simple advice.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Abstract recommends this book particularly to marketing people, product designers and technical writers.

GetAbstract

FINALLY, a book about simplicity that is not too academic to read.... At the book's heart is the Shinto belief in animism, the spirit in all objects. Nicholas Negroponte, one of Maeda's mentors, once told him to become a lightbulb, not a laser beam. This he has done; all this and more.

Susan Salter Reynolds, The LA Times

John Maeda's new book, The Laws of Simplicity, is simply terrific. It's exactly 100 pages, the illustrations are brilliant and the 10 Laws of Simplicity (plus Three Keys) are a canon to design one's entire life, much less specific products, services or business models. The subtitle is: Design, Technology, Business, Life.

Bruce Nussbaum, BusinessWeek's blog "NussbaumOnDesign"

Keep it simple, Stupid' is an old piece of advice, so much so that it's often abbreviated as the 'KISS principle.' But it's advice that's often ignored, and MIT Professor John Maeda aims to change that.... Designers and marketers will find Maeda's book both interesting and useful....

New York Post

Maeda's Laws and Keys have an obvious practical application in everyday running of a busy life (and desktop); they also have the potential to translate into a productive methodology for any craft or design practice.... A very humble, enlightened and caring human, John's written a little bible.

Liz Farrelly, Crafts Magazine

Maeda's upbeat explanations usefully break down the power of less-fewer features, fewer buttons and fewer distractions-while providing practical strategies for harnessing that power.... Emphasizing the delicate balance-work involved in simplifying the complex, Maeda admits the process isn't easy, and that his ten laws don't necessarily provide all the answers-in numerous places, he directs readers to the web site where his theories continue to develop. Despite that, this slim book feels complete in itself; not only will it stimulate ideas, it will keep readers thumbing back for a second and third look at Maeda's deceptively simple advice.

Publishers Weekly

Technology and life seem to be getting more complicated, yet two great success stories, Google and the iPod, both provide the antidote of simplicity. In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda uses humble prose to provide an accessible guide, business and life, observing the principle: 'Simplicity equals sanity.'

David Smith, The Observer

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ The MIT Press; Later prt. edition (August 21, 2006)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 128 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0262134721
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0262134729
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.38 x 0.56 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 313 ratings

About the author

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American technologist and product experience leader that bridges business, engineering, design via working inclusively.

MIT-trained computer scientist, both risk manager (MBA effect) and risk taker (learner effect), and seasoned for-profit/non-profit growth executive. Author of five books including the new How To Speak Machine and the bestselling Laws of Simplicity. Recently EVP/CXO of IT consultancy Publicis Sapient serving digital transformation needs globally across industries plus FED/SLED with the LEAD (Light, Ethical, Accessible, Dataful) system. Board of Directors at Sonos and the Smithsonian Design Museum, former President/CEO of Rhode Island School of Design and Partner at Kleiner Perkins venture capital in Silicon Valley. During his early career, Dr. Maeda was an MIT research professor in computational design represented in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and recipient of the White House’s National Design Award. He has appeared as a speaker all over the world, from Davos to Beijing to São Paulo to New York, and his talks for TED have received millions of views.

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
313 global ratings

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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking for all technologists
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars Subtly fascinating!
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