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2.9 out of 5 stars22
2.9 out of 5 stars
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on 26 March 2012
This book looks really good, and seems to aim at making us aware of the profound thinking behind everyday things around us, things that we might take for granted. All go back to great brilliant thinking. There's something poetic in this that I can appreciate. Still ever so often the examples in this book ends up something like this: think about the London underground. Somebody actually had the strange idea that traffic could go quicker passing "through solid rock." Isn't that brilliant.

Well, it sure is. It's just that this book, however good it looks, gets very repetitive with every example of human invention (traffic lights, credit card, barb wire fences). There's very little text (and there's a thin line between profound simplicity and shallowness) and a lot of white space used well for looks. If you like me come to this book as an advertising student hoping to pick up some tips and tricks, it's easy to find yourself dissatisfied. I suppose the idea is to read this slowly, almost like poetry. I just don't feel up for it.

If Dave Trott had used the examples in this books as starting points for his lovely essays (maybe he already has?), I'm sure he would have come up with a great book. I really recommend his book Creative Mischief and his great blogs instead of this book.
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on 9 August 2014
The title of this book is a bit misleading: much of the thought on display here is highly sophisticated. Not brutal or simple.

At one point, for example, the book asks the reasonable question "How do you make densely populated areas pleasant?"

The accompanying photograph is a lavvy pan. Ye ye but loads of very un-brutal and non-simple thought went into the technology of the modern toilet.

Essentially Brutal Simplicity of Thought: How It Changed the World is a simplicity primer. But it falls over (a lot) in assuming that the best problem solving is always simple. This is a toilet volume in many respects. One to pick up while you dump. Think about the porcelain under you and the waste trap and the sewerage system? Not so simple. Not an Edison moment.

I'd have awarded this book 5 stars, but the "First draft notes for Maurice Saatchi's speech" at the blah blah blah "on October 9th 2010" are rendered so small here that they're just tiny unreadable blobs. Since these are meant to serve as the book's intro as well as an example of concision, its a big fat fail. I am guessing these pages make some kind of sense in the book's original format.
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on 6 September 2013
The concept of Brutal Simplicity of Thought is a good one. Well done Saatchi and Saatchi for putting it at the heart of their own brand. However this book takes about 15 minutes to read and is full of ridiculously superficial examples of brutal simplicity. There is no story about how they came about. Totally lacking in insight, inspiration or entertainment. This feels like a project that was put together by interns. Not even sure I will leave in my loo.
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on 24 February 2012
Simplicity. Great. Something we should strive for. Most of us already know this. I was hoping the book would give some insights into how to achieve it. It doesn't. Looks nice, but there comes a point when acres of white space stops being beautiful and you realise there is hardly any content. Don't bother.
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on 17 October 2013
Too simple - what a waste of money! Bought it because some of the money went to a cancer research project, but honestly, what a rip off!
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on 15 November 2015
In my opinion, this is possibly the most vacuous book I have ever seen.
The vast bulk of it consists of a single sentence on one page (e.g. "How do you measure volume?" followed by a couple of lines of exposition - in this case the Archimedes 'Eureka" story) with a beautifully crafted image on the facing page (in this instance, a toy duck floating on a bath of water). That's what 99% of the book looks like. Personally, I hated it.
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on 15 May 2014
Sums up ad men for you. And I was one.
Live to this recipe and you'll be in trouble.
Over simplistic. Trite
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on 25 October 2013
Some of the most famous quotes are in here and some I had no knowledge of - great little book.
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on 21 June 2013
Having pioneered the art of branding at the Ministry of Public Enlightenment (Saatchi Co) for many years now, it seems Charles Saatchi has finally decided on how he can brand himself. It was a SIMPLE decision wasn't it Charles?
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on 12 December 2012
great book, i'm enjoying it so far to be honest. i haven't finished it yet but if it is of interest don't hesitate.
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