Maeda, John. Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2006.
Pp. 129. Hardcover, $21.00.
“Simplicity = Sanity.” The first four, out of ten, laws are: Reduce, Organize, [Decrease] Time, Learn. The rest of the laws are more subtle—“Simplicity and complexity need each other;” how much of each though? Or “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” The learner needs help in discerning the obvious and selecting the meaningful. Three keys presented are: “Away”—reduce complexity by moving it away, as in cloud computing; “Open”—be open to others, where open source coding is the example; “Power”—using less is better. Maeda enjoys word play and clever graphics, engaging the reader. It is hard to argue against simplicity or against being stimulated to take it seriously. One finds here much to think about but not many strategies—an approach consistent with the theme. The web site http://lawsofsimplicity.com/ seems to capture most of the text with annotations.