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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2007
This was a very informative read, especially for someone like me, who thinks no deeper than 'how cute' the ipod looks and 'how many tasks' my funky mobile phone can do! Yet, oblivious to the majority of us, a lot of thought and accuracy go into technology and technological gadgets. This book presents us with 10 laws to seeing, doing and thinking things simple. Most references are to devices we use everyday without too much thought. John Maeda writes very well and very clearly, he has the stamp of an MIT professor! Yet what I probably enjoyed the most was his sometimes abstract way of writing which made me feel like I was watching an abstract piece of art that gave some space to my personal interpretation. A good book I recomend to anyone who wants to explore something 'different'!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2009
A nice to read book from John Maeda - as he mentioned on a short flight. Simplified approach to simplicity is nice and well organized thoughtful approach. Consciseness is a plus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2009
John Maeda devoted 6 years of his research at MIT to the study of simplicity in technology and design, this book (along with his blog) organise his thoughts on the subject.

The Laws Of Simplicity is a gentle thoughful, elegantly designed book, undaunting (light?) at only 100 pages.

John offers insight into the thought processes behind product/interface design - particularly the i-pod wheel. More examples would have been nice here though. We also get a window into how John integrates the theme of simplicity into his own life (as he matures, he confesses to listening to less and less music, instead favouring the soundtrack of the world surrounding him).

Maeda encourages us to focus on some of the more humble yet powerful tools of simplification and organisation (organisation being one of the 'laws') for example, the power of the tab-key / the space bar / the return key within information organisation.

There is an attempt to find the 'one law to rule them all' which for me is unconvincing, unnecessary and frankly (I found) clumsily made, however this is an insightful book which throws in a nice mix of practice, theory, biography and philosophy on the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The poet William Wordsworth once wrote, "The world is too much with us." If this was true in the bucolic 18th and 19th centuries when Wordsworth lived, it is even more true today, when every gadget comes with an incomprehensible 100-page instruction manual. Thus, simplifying people's lives with your products and services is a surefire path to business success; it will endear you to your customers forever. In this aphoristic little book, graphic designer John Maeda has distilled all he knows about simplicity into 10 laws and three key ideas. He sprinkles mnemonics, icons and graphics throughout, which you may enjoy if you're a visual learner or find baffling if you're not. If you really like the icons, you can download them from the Web site Maeda put together to complement the book. getAbstract recommends this work particularly to marketing people, product designers and technical writers. Maybe some day your mother won't have to call you every time she wants to record Jeopardy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2007
this is such a beautifully presented little book - which is the only reason it got 3 stars - i will treasure it for its physical attributes for sure - BUT - it is extremely thin on content
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on 28 September 2011
This is a short and interesting read at around 100 pages. John Maeda has an easy to understand writing style, and does not clutter up the book with unnecessary examples, or dense analysis.

The book starts off well. I like law 2 (Organise), which describes how to make things simpler by organising things (using the acronym SLIP- sort, label, integrate, prioritise). Law 4 on learning and teaching I also found useful.

However, I felt the book did become a bit vague and philosophical after the first half, requiring you to think about the abstract concepts of some of the laws and their application. I am not sure that I agree that some of the concepts he has as laws of simplicity, such as emotion or trust, have anything to do with simplicity in itself, rather they are perhaps extra qualities that enhance and amplify simplicity.

I felt the second half of the book was a bit zen-like, where you have to give thought to the law being described and how you will apply it in practice e.g. I thought how do I add 'trust' and 'emotion' to a document I am designing.

Probably the book's best use is when in the process of designing something (e.g.a product or service).

To me, this book does also cover 'laws' that could be useful in my personal life and at work, regarding organising and learning, so I appreciate it for that reason.
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on 13 February 2012
This 100 pages book itself is meticulously designed, the ten laws of simplicity aptly presented, Maeda, an MIT professor, argues that the issue of simplicity versus complexity affects every realm of our life, especially with our encounter with technological tools. As a librarian, I would like to contextualise some of Madea's concepts for metadata, especially the 10th law of simplicity where he talks about "subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful" from which he identifies a key principle, i.e., "more appears like less by simply moving it far, far away". For me the notion of metadata simplicity in the library domain is so conflated that it seems as if having fewer metadata fields is construed as metadata simplicity.
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on 3 April 2013
As engineers, technologists have a habit of looking through the lense of the "function". Maeda encourages more than a sideways look through the lense of the "form" of an application/device/process. With simple examples and down to earth anecdotes drawn from relevant personal experience, this quick read is thought provoking and backed up by online content for those interested enough to go looking.
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on 7 February 2014
Maeda has intelligently and concisely formalised the rules for visual design, a must-read for designers as a reference for achieving great work or to recap on what you already know :)
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on 20 February 2015
It's the right book for every one who is creating the balance between business, technology and design!
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