Today two business books are being released. One will already get a lot of coverage, but in my opinion the other is far more important and dare I say interesting.
Lean colleague and friend Matthew May's latest book, In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing is now available.
I've long been a fan of simplicity and elegance, and the value those concepts can create. There are obvious – or perhaps not – consequences for the manufacturing and business world, but also at home. My wife and I have been actively getting rid of the nonessentials to lead a simpler and less chaotic life. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of the book for review and can highly recommend it to anyone interested in creating simplicity and elegance in their work and personal worlds.
From some of the initial reviews:
Why is Sudoku so addictive and the iPhone so irresistible?
What do Jackson Pollock and Lance Armstrong have in common with theoretical physicists
and Buddhist monks?
In this thought-provoking exploration of why certain events, products, and people
capture our attention and imagination, Matthew E. May examines the elusive element
behind so many innovative breakthroughs in fields ranging from physics and marketing
to design and popular culture. Combining unusual simplicity and surprising power,
elegance is characterized by four key elements: symmetry, seduction, subtraction,
and sustainability. In a compelling story-driven narrative that sheds light on the
need for elegance in design, engineering, art, urban planning, sports, and work,
May offers surprising evidence that what's "not there" often trumps what is.
In the bestselling tradition of The Tipping Point, Made to Stick, and The Black
Swan, IN PURSUIT OF ELEGANCE will change the way you think about the world.
Advance Praise for In Pursuit of Elegance
"In Pursuit of Elegance is a fascinating intellectual romp that will change the
way you look at your surroundings. As he takes readers from Jackson Pollock paintings
to Dutch intersections to the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger, Matt May reveals the
hidden elements beneath genuine innovation. This book is surprising, compelling,
and, yes, extremely elegant."
Daniel H. Pink
author of A WHOLE NEW MIND and THE ADVENTURES OF JOHNNY BUNKO
“Elegantly written as it is provocative, In Pursuit of Elegance makes a convincing—nay,
worldview-shifting—argument that less is best.”
co-author of Sway
“Enlightening. Makes a compelling case for doing more with less, by optimizing the
expenditure of one’s assets and resources. That’s something anyone can and should
put into practice.”
President, Toyota Design Network
“What a masterpiece! The definitive guide to the ‘less is more’ mindset. I meant
to only take a quick glance at In Pursuit of Elegance, but once I started reading
it, I couldn’t stop. In a world where everything keeps getting more complicated
and overwhelming, Matthew May shows us that if we start looking for things to take
out, things to stop doing, and intelligent short-cuts, we will all be happier, do
superior work, and live in a better world.”
Professor, Stanford University, author of The No Asshole Rule
“One of the more unique business titles in recent months…In Pursuit of Elegance
is very entertaining when it comes to May's presentation of his thesis. His narrative
grabs the reader's attention from the outset and, regardless of the complexity of
his examples, he manages to hold one's attention by delivering astute observations
Soundview Executive Summaries
Elegance is hard. It takes time to learn and learn how to apply simple yet powerful concepts. For example, in software development, hacking out a VB program is easy, but learning how to use closures takes a developer with experience and skill (but the result is software that is much simpler and more maintainable than anything possible in VB).
So this comes back to respect for people, developing employees, and not treating people as interchangeable commodities.