A mark of greatness that couldn’t be simpler

Simplification — It’s what makes the great minds of the world so great.    Einstein, Da Vinci, Edison (I could go on, but I want to keep this as simple as possible).  These guys were masters at the art of simplification.

Einstein condensed the complexities of time and space into an elegant formula.  If I had come up with that, I would have likely stopped at this and said it was close enough:


And the light bulb?  What a simple design that turned out to be when it was all said and done.  Simple is not easy.  When we consider the great minds of history that seem most complex, they considered themselves “simplifiers”.  They got it.

As a software developer in a global company, I consider my job as making other people’s job easier.  Sometimes, the solution is complex.  But if I’ve done my job well, all of the complexities are hidden behind an intuitive interface that the user finds incredibly simple.

Strive for simplicity in all that you do.  It’s a mark of greatness.

Some really smart guys have stated it much simpler than I could, so I’ve compiled a list of my favorite quotes regarding simplicity, (shown in reverse order for dramatic effect).

7) “Simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication.”

— This quote is often credited to Da Vinci, but that is disputed and likely originated from a novelist named Gaddis. The quote was the slogan of Apple back in the day. Steve Jobs? Yeah, he was a simplifier.

Da Vinci   Gaddis   Jobs

6) “Simple transforms ordinary into amazing.”

Scott Adams (the Dilbert cartoonist) often writes about simplicity and considers himself a professional simplifier.
(He also reads things people write about him on the Internet.  Isn’t that right, Scott?)


5) “Out of clutter, find simplicity.  From discord, find harmony.  In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity.”

4) “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

3) “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

— Albert Einstein may be the ultimate simplifier.

2) “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”

— This quote is often credited to Pascal (and Twain, and George Bernard Shaw)
Pascal   Twain   Shaw

But my favorite is by a blogger named “Glimy” that believes ideas should be “open-source”.   Because of his open-source philosophy I don’t think he’ll mind me quoting him.  (That and I’m comparing him with some of the greatest minds that have ever lived.)


Similar verbiage can be traced to Henry David Thoreau.  But it was “Glimy” that made these words speak.  He took it a step further by doing one thing:  He simplified it.
Thoreau   Glimy

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