The Laws of Simplicity

  • by John Maeda
  • Narrated by Nick Podehl
  • 2 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Finally, we are learning that simplicity equals sanity. We’re rebelling against technology that’s too complicated, DVD players with too many menus, and software accompanied by 75-megabyte “read me” manuals. The iPod’s clean gadgetry has made simplicity hip. But sometimes we find ourselves caught up in the simplicity paradox: we want something that’s simple and easy to use, but also does all the complex things we might ever want it to do. In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design - guidelines for needing less and actually getting more. Maeda - a professor in MIT’s Media Lab and a world-renowned graphic designer - explores the question of how we can redefine the notion of “improved” so that it doesn’t always mean something more, something added on. Maeda’s first law of simplicity is reduce. It’s not necessarily beneficial to add technology features just because we can. And the features that we do have must be organized (Law 2) in a sensible hierarchy so users aren’t distracted by features and functions they don’t need. But simplicity is not less just for the sake of less. Skip ahead to Law 9: “failure: Some things can never be made simple.” Maeda’s concise guide to simplicity in the digital age shows us how this idea can be a cornerstone of organizations and their products - how it can drive both business and technology. We can learn to simplify without sacrificing comfort and meaning, and we can achieve the balance described in Law 10. This law, which Maeda calls “the one,” tells us: “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.”


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

You may want to lower your expectations

I tried this book in Korean-translarted version first (yes, I'm Korean). Finishing this book within very short amount of time got me curious about the original version: there are some contexts that made me doubtful whether the translation was perfect especially for those acronyms that Maeda uses quite often in this book.
The translation might have been slightly rough to convey certain meanings, contexts well but after listening to this audiobook, but I was wrong to blame the translation as main reason I found this book was too 'simple.' for me.
I'm a designer but somehow I didn't pick up this book to feed my design perspective. Rather, I wanted to learn about the 'laws' in general or mundane things such as mindset we can apply to (for example,) declutter/unstuff our livings, environment.
Back to the point that i'm trying to make here as I titled this review - lower your expectation, the book is worthwhile? yes. was I able to find some concrete answers around the word 'simplicity'? no. Maybe my expectation towards simplicity was too high.
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- Aram "Try to be an avid listener, but I know my limit now. Would love to view any recommendation for relatively short audiobooks."

Many Insights

many of the rules are going to be one that I revisit over and over. the ending on insecurities is also profound.
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- Xihong Liu

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-10-2012
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio