MIT’s John Maeda on design and simplicity

The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)

Rating: 4 out of 5

Author: John Maeda

Year: 2006

Publisher: The MIT Press

ISBN: 0262134721

Here is an example of a short, little, book that benefits from the author’s decision to keep it focused. Maeda is a designer/computer scientist at MIT’s Media Lab and he consciously limits this book to just 100 pages of reflection on why and how you might seek simplicity in a technology-centric world.

While I easily read this book in an evening (while waiting for my 13-year old to finish hockey practice), it is a book and set of ideas I can expect to revisit multiple times. Although Maeda’s own background is primarily in product design, his insights are equally applicable to other design realms.

For a long time, I’ve maintained that if you are serious about improving knowledge work for yourself or others, then design has to become one of your core skills. This book should be on your shelf. Maeda also provides a website specifically for the book, laws of simplicity, and has a blog, Simplicity, he has been writing for the past two years. Both look to be excellent resources that I’ve added to my reading lists.