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The Laws of Simplicity


If you are a designer, then this book is for you. I use the word ‘designer’ very loosely. It should include everyone who has something to with designing—from housewives who design the daily meals, gardeners who plan and create beautiful landscapes, teachers who design their courses, software engineers who design software applications, writers who creates books that all of us love to read, artists who write, act and produce movies, songs, dance sequences, and plays, computer professionals who design attractive and easy to use computers, architects who designs magnificent buildings—the list is endless. This is a small, simple, and easy to read book full of practical wisdom that should be read by everybody who has something to do design or appreciate something that is designed for you.

The book contains a prologue, 13 chapters (10 laws and 3 keys), an epilogue (Life), list of books that inspired the author, and an index. In the prologue—Simplicity = Sanity—the author explains his reasons for writing this book, its intended audience, how it is organized and how it should be used.

The first 10 chapters contains Maeda’s laws of simplicity—Reduce, Organize, Time, Learn, Difference, Context, Emotion, Trust, Failure, and One. Each chapter begins with an icon the author has created to represent the law he is discussing. The chapter opens with the simple statement of law and then goes on to explain it in sufficient detail with the help of diagram, real world examples, illustrations, etc.

The next 3 chapters offer the keys to achieving simplicity in the technology domain. The three keys to attaining simplicity are Away, Open, and Power. In the epilogue the author explains how technology and life become complex only if you let it be so.

I recommend this little book on design wisdom to all. It is easy-to-read and can be finished in one sitting. But the effect it will have on your outlook and life would be profound. The Laws of Simplicity is the one of the most compelling books on design that I have ever read.

The companion web site of the book contains the author’s blog where you can find his views and opinions on a variety of topics including design.

Book Details:

  • Author: John Maeda
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Year: 2006
  • ISBN: 0262134721
  • Cover & Page Count: Hardcover, 176 Pages

Amazon.comYou can order online at Amazon.