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The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) Hardcover – 4 Aug 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press (4 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262134721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262134729
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"this is a must-read for all creative practitioners. The book is beautiful - complete with iconic graphics and perfect packaging - and unlike self-help tomes that simultaneously bore readers with fictitious `true life' tales while attempting to shame them into action, Maeda's gentle honesty about the difficulties he faces in dealing with the same issues as the rest of us is refreshing and approachable. .... While his previous books attempt to explain what he does, this book tells us how he thinks." -- Design Week, 26.4.07 (profile, mentioning book, by Liz Farrelly)

calling the book "a sublimely perfect tome, in the formal sense. Its dimensions, typography, paper stock, binding and eye-catching cover all demonstrate well-considered design decisions, guaranteeing appeal to the aesthetic sensibility in all creative people. Pick it up, because its lessons can and will help anyone making decisions and making things."
-- Crafts Magazine, May 2007 (review by Liz Farrelly)

About the Author

John Maeda is President of Rhode Island School of Design and former Associate Director of the MIT Media Lab. In 2008 Esquire magazine named Maeda one of the 75 most influential people of the twenty-first century. He is the author of The Laws of Simplicity (MIT Press, 2006) and other books.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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I watched the process whereby my daughters gleefully got their first email accounts. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nadia Al Hazmi on 21 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
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 By Can Burak Bizer on 24 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 By B. Simmonds on 8 Mar 2009
Format: Hardcover
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 By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 July 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 By yla on 29 Oct 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
Every designer and every one with an eye for a good design must read this.
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By May on 7 Feb 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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