in pursuit of elegance...

In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing

I often start out reading non fiction business books with a skeptical tilt.  I almost fell over when it became apparent that Gelernter's elegance = power + simplicity model was nowhere to be seen in the opening pages of this book...nor the notes and index! 

Despite that disadvantage Matthew May turned me around as he told a number of compelling and diverse stories that explained elegance and its sources in Symmetry, Seduction, Subtraction and Sustainability.  

It is a book about ideas, and some of the challenges we have producing good ones, as we are wired to follow patterns, automatically fill in blanks, and tend toward the satisfactory path, favoring implementation over incubation - what we should do versus what is possible, in Mays' words.

I liked that this book focused on the social and scientific humanity of creating elegance, versus roles of executive, manager, engineer, designer, etc.  Seeking "maximum effect from minimum effort" is a principle that all of these disciplines and perspectives can share. It is a more tangible and meaningful goal than power + simplicity.

If minimalism was captured by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's tenant that less is more - after reading this I prefer thinking of maximalism as more with less.

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