My friend Matt May has just published his latest book, The Laws of Subtraction. It's a terrific read. Matt argues that decisions become exponentially easier and simpler when you focus on what to ignore, what to leave out, what to "don’t." More importantly, the results are exponentially more impactful. He goes on to explain that the key is to remove anything obviously excessive, confusing, wasteful, unnatural, hazardous, hard to use, or ugly -- or even better, avoid adding them in the first place.
Matt covers some of the ground that he explored in his earlier books, but for me, this is a more concise and powerful exploration of his recurring theme that less is more. His stories about Toyota’s youth brand Scion, the urban design that transformed London’s Exhibition Road, the power of white space in comics, and the secrets of Lockheed’s Skunk Works are compelling.
But that's not why to buy this book.
The real reason you need to buy the book is on page 64. That's the page that tells my story about how subtraction led to a far better outcome for me and my team. (I'd argue that my story is the highlight of the book, but Matt might get mad at me.)
Truth is, there are 53 individual stories of real people -- not captains of industry, not global business titans -- ordinary people doing wonderful work by subtraction. In some respects, these stories are the real joy of The Laws of Subtraction, because they're so ordinary and so easy to relate to, that you can immediately see how you can adopt Matt's six principles.
Read the book. In this case at least, more (learning) is better.