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Simplicity by Edward de Bono | Notes

To get simplicity you have to put a high value on simplicity.

Simplicity not just happen, it needs to be designed. To get it, you have to want it badly.

Not everything that is there really needs to be there.

You need to understand the matter. Be clear about what you are trying to do and about its values.

You cannot design something well and simple right away. You need to think, design alternatives and possibilities, think more then choose between them.

Everything needs to justify its continued existence.

If you cannot modify, start over fresh.

Human mind simplifies the world by using concepts. Concepts provide the first stage of thinking in setting the general direction and purpose. Concept should be general, vague and blurry.

Break things down to smaller units. Decentralization and modular design are all approaches to simplicity. (So long the unity of the overall purpose is not lost.)

To gain simplicity you must trade it off with other values, such as comprehensiveness and perfection.

Determine for whose sake is the simplicity being designed. (shift of complexity: easier for the customer to use, harder to design.) For whose convenience are they designed...

Complexity harms everyone. Making things more simple is good for you an good for society. It is as important as ecology and should be a permanent fashion.

Dealing with complexity is an inefficient and unnecessary waste of time, attention and mental energy. From complexity come stress, anxiety and frustration.

There is no justification for things being complex when they could be simple.

Complexity means distracted effort. Simplicity means focused effort.

Human brain tries its hardest to simplify life by setting up routine patterns of perception and of action. Once yu identify the pattern you flow along it without further effort.

The real purpose of thinking is to abolish thinking. As a self-organising information system, the human brain allows incoming information to organize itself into routine patterns.

There is always the possibility that there is a simpler way to do something. But, finding a simpler way is usually neither simple nor easy.

Routines have a value in simplifying life.

It may be better to simplify a process rather than train people to cope with the complexity.

The major use for thinking is not in problem solving but in improving what we are doing and finding new things to do (value creation). However we mostly use thinking for problem solving and putting right defects. Thinking, reviewing and re-examining procedures, processes and matters can result in simplification. And simplification is a value.

Thinking is a complex process because we have never made any attempt to make it a simpler process.

Simple systems are easier to set up, to operate, to monitor and easier to repair.

There is an aesthetic appeal to simplicity. It is elegant.

There is no limit to the complexity of description. The aim of science was to move from unfettered imaginative description to the seeking out of the simple underlying mechanisms.

Outside of the field aesthetics, complexity for the sake of complexity has no value what so ever. There are those who value simple life-style and there are others who enjoy variety and richness - but they would still like to avoid hassle, complications and frustrations.

Simplicity is a unification round a purpose.

Sophistication depends on getting difficulty through simplicity. Chess is not a very sophisticated game because it achieves difficulty through complexity. There are many pieces and different moves.


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