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Tuesday, May 05, 2009


In Pursuit Of Elegance by Matthew E. May - Book review

In Pursuit of Elegance

Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing

By: Matthew E. May

Published: May 19, 2009
ISBN: 9780385526494
Format: Hardcover, 224pp
Publisher: Broadway Business

"The full power of elegance is achieved when the maximum impact is exacted with the minimum input", writes innovative thinker Matthew May in his thought provoking book In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing. The author takes the reader on a journey toward simplicity and elegance in unexpected places, that changes the way a person looks at the world.

Matthew May, a long time consultant with innovation leading Toyota, brings a holistic and Eastern tinged philosophy, to his quest for elegance. Instead of examining problems in isolation, the author considers the entire environment as a whole. By placing the problem in a larger context, unessential elements within the problem can be removed and simplified. The resulting elegant solution may require no further action be taken, or perhaps, even more subtraction may be necessary to achieve a more elegant result.

Matthew May (photo left) understands that Western values and business theory include the powerful dictum that doing something is always better than doing nothing. The author takes a different approach to problem solving. Very often, the best solution is to take no action, or if action is taken, to subtract any unessential components to the problem. Reducing a problem to its very essence instills a powerful and deeply felt human need to fill in the details in a very personal way. Very often, the pursuit of elegance uncovers certain symmetries and balances within the solution, that are pleasing to the human eye and brain as well.

For me, the power of the book is its own internal simplicity of message, that is at the same time complex and worldview changing. We often hear people say that less is more or that the best way of doing things is also the easiest technique. All too often, that approach to life and especially to business problem solving is lost. Instead of developing products that are easier to use, and processes that are easier to understand, the opposite is often the result. Products get more unneeded and difficult to use features, processes become more complicated and fill multi-volume manuals, and the end results are lower sales and decreased productivity. This book turns that thinking around, and presents a powerful alternative mode of thought.

I highly recommend the brilliant and important book In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing by Matthew May to anyone seeking more simple and human level solutions to problems. The real world examples, described in detail in the book, provide evidence that the journey toward elegance and simplicity is not only effective, but profitable as well.

Read and discover the holistic approach found in the book In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing by Matthew May, and find yourself seeking symmetry, simplicity, and elegance in all of your problem solving sessions. Learn how subtraction really means addition, but involving the observer to fill in the crucial details, and find their own personal satisfaction in its completion.

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