Tuesday, March 09, 2010


I have often thought about the importance of elegance. I just came across this article and found some good points and quotes on the topic.

The goal of elegance is to maximize effect with minimum means. It’s an elusive target.

As Jim Collins wrote in 2003, “A great piece of art is composed not just of what is in the final piece, but equally what is not. It is the discipline to discard what does not fit—to cut out what might have already cost days or even years of effort—that distinguishes the truly exceptional artist and marks the ideal piece of work, be it a symphony, a novel, a painting, a company, or most important of all, a life.”

Symmetry: Simple rules create effective order.

Seduction: limiting information creates intrigue The power of suggestion is often stronger than that of full disclosure. Leaving something to the imagination, open to interpretation, creates an irresistible aura of mystery, and we are compelled to find answers. The seduction is in what we don’t know. What we don’t know far outweighs what we do, and we are naturally curious. What isn’t there drives us to resolve our curiosity, and we will fill in the information we deem missing in order to do so.

Subtraction: restraint and removal creates value When neuroscientists examine brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they notice that activities involving subtracting numbers light up an entirely different part of the brain than those involving addition. Subtraction is indeed a different way of thinking.


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