Pete Freitag Pete Freitag

8 Simple Quotes

Published on November 17, 2005
By Pete Freitag

Remember how technology was supposed to make our lives easier? In practice it actually tends to make our lives more complicated. This paradox has led many to embrace simplicity.

Here's a collection of quotes about simplicity, and keeping things simple.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler"

 Albert Einstein

"Simplicity means the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means."

- Dr. Koichi Kawana, Architect, designed the botanical gardens

"Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art."

- Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect, designed the Guggenheim.

"I don't think I've ever seen a piece of commercial software where the next version is simpler rather than more complex."

- Walter Bender, Executive Director of the MIT media lab.

"Simplicity hinges as much on cutting nonessential features as on adding helpful ones."

- Walter Bender

"The main purpose of science is simplicity and as we understand more things, everything is becoming simpler."

- Edward Teller, Scientist, father of the H Bomb.

"'Think simple' as my old master used to say  meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles."

- Frank Lloyd Wright

"Even for expert users things should be simple"

- Jason Fried, Web Developer at 37signals

If you have any other good quotes on simplicity please post them in the comments.

simplicity simple quotes einstein

8 Simple Quotes was first published on November 17, 2005.

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Julian Halliwell has an interesting collection on his company's site:
by Roger Lancefield on 11/17/2005 at 11:12:56 AM UTC
Nice quotes. In practice (for those who don't "just know") it's hard to notice and measure simplicity / usability. For example, if you were to put a lot of effort into making something idiot proof ... it might appear as though you didn't do anything at all.
by Scott Fitchet on 11/17/2005 at 11:39:46 AM UTC
Hmmm. Lest it sound like I was implying that Julian's collection is interesting in contrast to yours, I should point out that what I meant to imply is that his is *complementary* to yours!

(Phew, I can't see a spade without digging a hole for myself...)
by Roger Lancefield on 11/17/2005 at 11:52:49 AM UTC
Nice Quotes. Being a developer I always remind myself "Work smarter not harder".
by dan on 11/17/2005 at 12:19:26 PM UTC
Hi Peter,

How about one from The Master:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo DaVinci


"Complexity means distracted effort. Simplicity means focused effort." ~ Edward de Bono

but this is my favorite:

"I wouldn't give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity; I would give my right arm for the simplicity on the far side of complexity" ~ Attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841 -1935)

I think of striving for "simplicity on the FAR side of complexity" every time I have to endure someone talking about how simply something can be done before they have thought about the entire problem. It says to me simple solutions on the near side are made simple by removing some to the more troublesome requirements (those that don't fit the simple solution).

Simple solutions on the far side always tend to be much more elegant unifying solutions.
by djw on 11/17/2005 at 6:15:06 PM UTC
The interesting thing about the concept of simplicity is that it is a dynamic thing. Particularly when it comes to software and the internet. Starting my computer, launching my web browser and navigating to a web site is simple for me, and not even a conscious act. For my mother on the other hand it is a complex task that she has to concentrate on to accomplish.

The lesson there is that as web and application developers we have to know who our audience and customers are.
by Ray Buechler on 11/18/2005 at 8:37:45 AM UTC
"too many screws" - Henry Ford comment to the first design of new carburator for the model A
by lionel on 12/29/2005 at 6:51:54 PM UTC
"You know when you have achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away."

Antoine de St. Exupery
by Mark Rubenstein on 06/28/2006 at 2:55:13 PM UTC
Good afternoon. Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
I am from Vietnam and also now am reading in English, give true I wrote the following sentence: "Information on polish airports and domestic and international flights."

Thank ;) Darrius.
by Darrius on 04/05/2009 at 5:42:03 AM UTC