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Simplicity Quotes

Simplicity Quotes

“Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.” — Oscar Wilde

Simplicity is sometimes elusive, but almost always present.  Sometimes you just need to know where to look for it, or how to look for it.  Luckily, the sages of the ages have shared lots of thoughts on simplicity in the form of quotes that we can borrow and build on.

When i think of simplicity, a few things always come to mind:

  • Occam’s Razor or Ockham’s Razor — "Plurality should not be assumed without necessity." (William of Ockham)
  • The KISS principle — Keep It Simple Stupid
  • "Less is more." — Mies van der Rohe
  • "Less is a bore." — Robert Venturi
  • Mark Twain’s famous quote — “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
  • Einstein’s famous quote — “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Together, these ideas help me follow a path of simplicity.

My Thoughts on Simplicity

I’m a fan of simple and simplicity. When I tackle a topic, I don’t think I’m done until I’ve found the simplest way to look at it.  I think of simplicity as a process.  You can’t always start there, but you can find it or create more of it as you go.  I also think of simplicity as a by-product.  It happens when I find the elegant path or the simple truth.  Sometimes I see simplicity as a means to an end — where the end is a simpler understanding or a simpler result or a simpler way to share. Sometimes I have to look backward to find simplicity — I can’t always find simple up front, but sometimes when I look back, it was there all along, either hidden among the chaos, or I just didn’t have the right lens.

The most important thing I’ve learned about simplicity is that simplicity wins in the long run.  Simple is stickier than complexity, and it survives.  I think nature teaches us that, and we learn it time and again in work and in life.

Top 3 Quotes on Simplicity

Here are my top three favorite quotes on simplicity:

  1. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci
  2. “For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong.” — Henry Louis Mencken
  3. “Nature is pleased with simplicity.” — Isaac Newton

Simplicity Quotes (A-Z)

Here is my longer set of simplicity quotes that I draw from:

  1. "A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think." — Eleanor Roosevelt
  2. "A man must be able to cut a knot, for everything cannot be untied; he must know how to disengage what is essential from the detail in which it is enwrapped, for everything cannot be equally considered; in a word, he must be able to simplify his duties, his business and his life." — Henri Frederic Amiel
  3. “And yes, there’s a simplicity to writing books because you’re not a member of a team, so you make all the decisions yourself instead of deferring to a committee. “ — Bernard Cornwell
  4. "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction." — E. F. Schumacker
  5. “A vocabulary of truth and simplicity will be of service throughout your life." – Winston Churchill
  6. "A taste for simplicity cannot last for long." — Eugene Delacroix
  7. Anything simple always interests me.” — David Hockney
  8. “As beautiful as simplicity is, it can become a tradition that stands in the way of exploration. “ – Laura Nyro
  9. “As I grew older, I realized that it was much better to insist on the genuine forms of nature, for simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.” — Albrecht Durer
  10. “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” — Henry David Thoreau
  11. “Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.” – Plato
  12. "Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information." — Edward Tuft
  13. “Don’t make the process harder than it is.“ — Jack Welch
  14. "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." — Robert Brault
  15. “Enjoy the simple, the natural and the plain. Along with that comes the ability to do things spontaneously and have them work.” — Benjamin Hoff
  16. “Everything is both simpler than we can imagine, and more complicated that we can conceive.” – Goethe
  17. "Everything is complex and everything is simple. The rose has no why attached to it, it blooms because it blooms, how no thought of itself, or desire to be seen. What could be more complicated than a rose for someone who wants to understand it? What could be simpler for someone who wants nothing? The complexity of thinking, the simplicity of beholding." — Andre Comte-Sponville
  18. "Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong." — H. L. Mencken
  19. “Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” — Herbert Hoover
  20. “From native simplicity we arrive at more profound simplicity.” — Albert Schweitzer
  21. "For the more limited, if adequate, is always preferable." – Aristotle
  22. “Grandeur and beauty are so very opposite, that you often diminish the one as you increase the other. Variety is most akin to the latter, simplicity to the former. “ — William Shenstone
  23. “Guided only by their feeling for symmetry, simplicity, and generality, and an indefinable sense of the fitness of things, creative mathematicians now, as in the past, are inspired by the art of mathematics rather than by any prospect of ultimate usefulness.” — E. T. Bell
  24. "How many things are there which I do not want." – Socrates
  25. "I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all. “ — Laura Ingalls Wilder
  26. “I believe that the Apple Shuffle is an excellent compromise among the conflicting requirements of simplicity, elegance, size, battery life, and function.” — Donald Norman
  27. "I believe we would be happier to have a personal revolution in our individual lives and go back to simpler living and more direct thinking. It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature." — Laura Ingalls Wilder
  28. “I despise simplicity. It is the negation of all that is beautiful.” — Norman Hartnell
  29. “I don’t need a lot of money. Simplicity is the answer for me.” — Linda McCartney
  30. “I have a simple philosophy. Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. And scratch where it itches.” — Alice Roosevelt Longworth
  31. “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” — Lao Tzu
  32. "I have learned by some experience, by many examples, and by the writings of countless others before me, also occupied in the search, that certain environments, certain modes of life, certain rules of conduct are more conducive to inner and outer harmony than others. There are, in fact, certain roads that one may follow. Simplification of life is one of them." — Ann Morrow Lindbergh
  33. "I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated." — Paul Anderson
  34. “I just like simplicity. I like simple songs, I like simple chords, simple vocals, simple lead guitar. I just like simplicity. That’s just the way I like it. “ — Jeremy Spencer
  35. “I take a simple view of living. It is, keep your eyes open and get on with it.” — Sir Laurence Olivier
  36. “I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.” — Yves Saint Laurent
  37. “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes
  38. "If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life." — Wu-Men
  39. “In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” — Henry Wadsworth
  40. “Is it not in the most absolute simplicity that real genius plies its pinions the most wonderfully?” — E. T. A. Hoffmann
  41. "It is not how much space there is, but rather how it is used. It is not how much information there is, but rather how effectively it is organized." — Edward Tufte
  42. “It is simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences.” – Aristotle
  43. "Let us learn to live simply, so that others may simply live." — Mahatma Gandhi
  44. "Life is beautiful in its simplicity." — Thomas Matthiessen
  45. "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." – Confucius
  46. "Live simply so that others may simply live." — Mahatma Gandhi
  47. "Live simply that others might simply live." — Elizabeth Seaton
  48. "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity." — Charles Mingus
  49. “Man is an over-complicated organism. If he is doomed to extinction he will die out for want of simplicity.” — Ezra Pound
  50. “Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.” — Lao Tzu
  51. Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.” — Albert Einstein
  52. "Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have even lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor." — Henry David Thoreau
  53. “My philosophy? Simplicity plus variety.” — Hank Stram
  54. “Nature is what we know – Yet have not art to say – So impotent our wisdom is To her simplicity” — Emily Dickinson
  55. "Never again will I make the simple into the complex. Something of true value does not become more valuable because it becomes complicated. Experience and conditions come and go; complications arise and fall away, but the simple action of God is eternal in the universe." — Donald Curtis
  56. “Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition.” — Riccardo Muti
  57. “No simplicity of mind, no obscurity of station, can escape the universal duty of questioning all that we believe.” — William Kingdon Clifford
  58. "Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  59. "Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be." — Jim Horning
  60. Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  61. “Nothing is true, but that which is simple.” — Johann Wolfgang
  62. “Of manners gentle, of affections mild; In wit a man, simplicity a child." — Alexander Pope
  63. Organic architecture seeks superior sense of use and a finer sense of comfort, expressed in organic simplicity.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
  64. "Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify." — Henry Thoreau
  65. "Part of the problem today is that we have a surplus of simple answers and a shortage of simple problems." — Syracuse Herald
  66. Plain question and plain answer make the shortest road out of most perplexities.” – Mark Twain
  67. Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.” — Thor Heyerdahl
  68. Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature.” — Thomas Kempis
  69. "Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves." — Edwin Way Teale
  70. Seek simplicity but distrust it." — Alfred North Whitehead
  71. “Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.“ — Oscar Wilde
  72. “Simple truths are a relief from grand speculations.” – Vauvenargues
  73. Simplicity and naturalness are the truest marks of distinction.” — W. Somerset Maugham
  74. “Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
  75. "Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy." — Richard Halloway
  76. "Simplicity does not mean want or poverty. It does not mean the absence of any decor, or absolute nudity. It only means that the decor should belong intimately to the design proper, and that anything foreign to it should be taken away." — Paul Jacques Grillo
  77. “Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it. “ — Alan Perlis
  78. “Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity. “ — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  79. "Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual. You will find people living simply in large cities, rural areas and everything in between." — Linda Breen Pierce
  80. Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. “ – Edsger Dijkstra
  81. Simplicity is a state of mind.” — Charles Wagner
  82. Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.” — Charles Dudley Warner
  83. “Simplicity is not an objective in art, but one achieves simplicity despite one’s self by entering into the real sense of things.” — Constantin Brancusi
  84. “Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations. “ — Paul Rand
  85. Simplicity is the glory of expression.“ — Walt Whitman
  86. Simplicity is the key. “ — Ritchie Blackmore
  87. "Simplicity is the key to brilliance." — Bruce Lee
  88. "Simplicity is the nature of great souls." — Papa Ramadas
  89. "Simplicity of character is no hindrance to the subtlety of intellect." — John Morley
  90. “Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought.” — William Hazlitt
  91. "Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be as one, two, three and to a hundred or a thousand… We are happy in proportion to the things we can do without." — Henry David Thoreau
  92. “Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art." — Richard Holloway
  93. Simplicity is an exact medium between too little and too much. “ — Joshua Reynold
  94. "Simplicity is indeed often the sign of truth and a criterion of beauty." — Mahlon Hoagland
  95. Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.” — Charles Dudley Warner
  96. Simplicity is natures first step, and the last of art. “ — Philip James Bailey
  97. "Simplicity is the essence of happiness." — Cedric Bledsoe
  98. “Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” — Frederic Chopin
  99. Simplicity is the glory of expression." — Walt Whitman
  100. Simplicity makes me happy. “ — Alicia Keys
  101. Simplicity should not be identified with bareness. “ — Felix Adler
  102. Simply the thing that I am shall make me live.” — William Shakespeare
  103. “Simplicity is the most difficult thing to secure in this world; it is the last limit of experience and the last effort of genius. “ — George Sand
  104. Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” — Arnold Glasow
  105. "Teach us delight in the simple things, and mirth that has no bitter springs; forgiveness free of evil done, and love to all men beneath the sun." — Rudyard Kipling
  106. "The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." – Hans Hofmann
  107. “The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity. “ — Douglas Horton
  108. "The aspects of things that are most important to us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity." — Ludwig Wittgenstein
  109. "The farther you go, the less you know." — Lao Tsu
  110. “The faultless formulas of television–the ones that last–are simple.” — Dick Clark
  111. “The guiding motto in the life of every natural philosopher should be, Seek simplicity and distrust it." — Alfred North Whitehead
  112. “The great artist and thinker are the simplifiers.” — Henri Frederic Amiel
  113. The great seal of truth is simplicity. “ — Herman Boerhaave
  114. The little things are infinitely the most important. “ — Arthur Conan Doyle
  115. “The main purpose of science is simplicity and as we understand more things, everything is becoming simpler.” — Edward Teller
  116. The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.” — Kahlil Gibran
  117. "The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest." — Thomas More
  118. "The Poems, all three hundred of them, may be summed up in one of their phrases: ‘Let our thoughts be correct.’" – Confucius
  119. “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure, and never simple." — Oscar Wilde
  120. "The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination." — Elbert Hubbard
  121. “The simplest things are often the truest.” — Richard Bach
  122. "The simplest things give me ideas." — Joan Miro
  123. “The spirit’s foe in man has not been simplicity, but sophistication. “ — George Santayana
  124. "The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple." — Doris Janzen Longacre
  125. The whole is simpler than the sum of its parts.” — Willard Gibbs
  126. “There is a certain majesty in simplicity which is far above all the quaintness of wit.” — Alexander Pope
  127. There is a simplicity that exists on the far side of complexity, and there is a communication of sentiment and attitude not to be discovered by careful exegesis of a text." — Patrick Buchanan
  128. “There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth." — Leo Nikolaevich Tolstov
  129. “There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order-of-magnitude improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.” — Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.
  130. “’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
  131. “Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein
  132. “To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but to so love wisdom as to live according to its dictates a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust.” — Henry David Thoreau
  133. "To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter … to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring—these are some of the rewards of the simple life." — John Burroughs
  134. "To simplify complications is the first essential of success." — George Earle Buckle
  135. “Understanding reduces the greatest to simplicity, and lack of its causes the least to take on the magnitude. “ — Raymond Holliwell
  136. “Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.” — Peace Pilgrim
  137. "Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more." — John Kabat-Zinn
  138. "We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it." — Donald Horban
  139. “We struggle with the complexities and avoid the simplicities.” — Norman Vincent Peale
  140. “What’s really important is to simplify. The work of most photographers would be improved immensely if they could do one thing: get rid of the extraneous. If you strive for simplicity, you are more likely to reach the viewer.” — William Albert Allard
  141. “When the subject is strong, simplicity is the only way to treat it. “ — Jacob Lawrence
  142. "When thought is too weak to be simply expressed, it’s clear proof that it should be rejected." — Luc De Clapiers
  143. Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself – it is the occurring which is difficult. “ — Stephen Leacock
  144. "You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need." — Vernon Howard
  145. You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.” — Anotine de Saint-Exupery

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38 Comments on "Simplicity Quotes"

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  1. Jean Sarauer says:

    Sometimes I laugh at myself because I have simplicity as a major life value/goal. Part of me thinks that this shouldn’t be something I have to work at – that things ARE simple and I merely cover up and complicate that simplicity. This is probably true, but it still appears I have a long ways to go before I feel I’ve truly ‘arrived’ at simplicity.

  2. You know a subject is very important to humanity when there are so many quotes on it. And it doesn’t surprise me. We try to make our lives richer and we often just make them more complicated instead.

  3. Baker says:

    Enjoye this! I hadn’t realized how many amazing quotes can come from topics on simplcity. Simplicity is the key to brilliance.” — Bruce Lee Very true. :)

  4. Wow a veritable ocean of simplicity here. Funny that some are actually against simplicity in the quotes. I am more with the prponents.

    And this…

    46.“Live simply so that others may simply live.” — Mahatma Gandhi
    47.“Live simply that others might simply live.” — Elizabeth Seaton

    I wonder if one sued the other over copyright? If so, I know it wouldn’t have been Gandhi — he was for sure a live-and-let-live simple kind of guy!

    Sorry I’ve been away from your blog and all your awesome offerings lately. Nothing personal obviously, and never could be. But… I’m happy to report I’ve written a letter to the President to see if we can get 25 hours in a day. Just an extra hour a day to read and comment on the blogs I love would be awesome!! :)

    xo

  5. Lance says:

    JD,
    These lists you create are amazing!! Filled with so much goodness on one subject!

    I particularly like the Einstein quote – much truth in that idea that things should be made as simple as possible, and not simpler…

  6. Patricia says:

    another blow me over post – thank you
    I am with Newton – Nature and I love simplicity.

    Though so many new posts some days, reading them makes my life feel complex

  7. JD says:

    @ Jean — I think it’s part of the beauty of simplicity. I find the things that start simple, aren’t a big deal. It’s the things that take work and depth to arrive at simplicity that are the real magic.

    @ Eduard — Simplicity is definitely up there with happiness. It’s one of those elusive and perpetual pursuits that spans time and space.

    @ Baker — I agree — Bruce Lee’s quote is spot on. It’s as if we need to simplify before we amplify.

    @ Jannie — I hope your request for 25 hours in a day doesn’t trump the request I put in for 4 day weekends. I think working 5 days a week would be better balanced if we got 4 days off :)

    @ Lance — Thank you! It’s another way to help us stand on the shoulders of giants.

    I especially like Einstein’s quote because it’s balanced. Simple is good, but it’s important to avoid a loss of fidelity. I’ve seen some things lose their depth, and thus beauty, during their simplicity translation.

    @ Patricia — I think it’s great how nature re-enforces simplicity. It’s always back to the basics. I think simplicity is a lens too that can be applied anywhere to anything. I keep my life simple by focusing on 3 stories each day, each week, each month, and each year. It helps me make meaning from all the little actions, connect the dots where it counts, and let everything else slough off.

  8. Cheryl Paris says:

    Hiya J.D.

    Life is truly simple we make it complicated by not being organized, understanding…lacking passion and helping nature. We sometimes just don’t want to put ourselves in someone else shoes and see how it feels…If for 1 good reason we do that life will be so much Different and Of course Simpler as well.

    Cheers,
    Cheryl Paris
    The Acorn Coach Blog

  9. Kate says:

    Hi JD,

    What a great collection, have bookedmarked to come back to when things are getting a little complicated!
    Can’t quite decide on a favourite but
    143.“Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself – it is the occurring which is difficult. “ — Stephen Leacock
    has to be in the top 10!
    Many thanks,
    Kate

  10. What a great resource, JD! I just shared this on Twitter because I know so many people could benefit from reading these. Thanks for taking the time to create this great list.

  11. Michael Yanakiev says:

    Wow! Such a wealth of knowledge! You are right J.D, -Life can be understood backward,but not forward. – S.Kierkegaard. This post is a
    fantastic gift for all of us to reflect upon deeply. Thanks.

  12. Michael Yanakiev says:

    P.S. – An add one in your style :
    Remember your mind cannot tell the difference between a truth or a lie. It’s merely an obedient servant. IMAGINE and watch what happens!

    maybe that’s the problem….. Think about something that doesn’t bring up so much resistance within you and the house stuff will loosen up.
    I hope this will work out simplicity at its best.

  13. JD says:

    @ Cheryl — Simple and different by design — I like that.

    @ Kate — Thank you. That’s one of my favorites too — ironically, I’ve found jotting down to be the tough part, and coming up with stuff to be the easy part. I think the more I jotted, the more this became true :)

    @ Positively Present — Thank you! Everybody gets a head start with the right quotes.

    @ Michael — It’s funny how mindless the mind can be when we aren’t mindful ;) You’re right, finding the paths of less resistance can loosen stuff up.

  14. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. gosh an amazing list .. simplicity certainly allows us to see clearly – if we’ve got a clean slate and our future is ahead .. then don’t muddle it along the way with too much .. keep the path clear – so our head is open and ready to receive all the good things that will come our way. Our energy levels are clearer …

    In my case – Mark Twain would suit me .. I wrote a long letter! … I like your description of tacking a topic .. breaking it down til it’s as simple as it can get .. Simple we’re likely to remember .. we won’t get bogged down in things that are complicated. Anything simple always interests me .. David Hockney .. because there’s more to see it’s easier to see it for what it is .. that makes total sense ..

    I love them .. I must come back and read them all properly .. thanks – another great list and post .. have a good rest of the week – Hilary

  15. You saved the best for last:

    “You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.”

    True of every project I’ve ever been associated with.

    Fred

  16. JD says:

    @ Hilary — Thank you. I’m finding now that I’ve consolidated my quote collection, I’m drawing from them in a simpler way. How perfect!

    @ Fred — Actually — it’s serendipity. I meant to include it in my top set for how I think about simplicity, but it sure is a nice way to close :)

  17. John Sherry says:

    Simplicity wins. It frees and calms and has become a forgotten art. It’s like romance – it’s time we brought it back. These insightful quotes from the great and good prove that others saw it’s powerful nature. It’s now our turn to put it into action and do something simple today. Inspiring others to do the same. Like a simply wonderful list like this.

  18. JD says:

    @ John — Thank you for your kind words and I agree — simplicity is a lost art. I’ll do what i can to help bring it back.

  19. Ravi Butalia says:

    Hi John, thanks so much for all your hard work in compiling this invaluable resource. People often mistake simplicity to mean “dumbing down” which is not what it is all about. There is a wonderful chapter about Simplicity in Chip and Dan Heath’s book, ‘Made to Stick,’ in which they say – “A well-thought-out idea can be amazingly powerful in shaping behaviour.” Another gem is: “Great simple ideas have an elegance and a utility that make them function a lot like proverbs.” Thanks once again!

  20. JD says:

    @ Ravi — Those are good additions. I like the connection of elegant ideas to proverbs.

  21. Stephany says:

    Very nice site and sayings…!

    Does anyone know the quote “Simplicity is as simplicity does” and who said it?

    Thanks,

    Stephany.yarbrough@gmail.com

  22. april says:

    simplicity makes you happy,peacefully,pure and progress.

  23. Jeust says:

    Great article, and amazing quotes. Thanks for publishing it!

  24. mehak ali says:

    In style,in character,in manner,in all things,the sepreme excellence is SIMPLICITY.

  25. mehak ali says:

    The SIMPLEST things are often the truth.

  26. JD says:

    @Jeust — Thank you!

    @ Mehak — Beautiful words that ring true.

  27. Danni says:

    “In art there are simplicities more difficult than the most serried complications.”

    Point counter point
    Aldoux Huxley

  28. mili says:

    good quotes on simplicity.
    i just enjoyed reading them all.

  29. my quote would be off hand would be to “make everything simple in action, easy to do, workable and achieaveable threw simplistic or simpler means and to make everything more elberate in effect aka kill two birds with one OR MORE stones”.

  30. simplicity to me in a more philosphical note is always going with a obvioud notion instead of just going with a complex exsperimental one, simplicity is better like going in with a gut instinct with what you know for a fact will work. if it takes hunderds of man hours tonnes of brick and morter and decades worth of exsperiance to tunnel into a banks vualt and rob it blind that is only complexifying and adding to the share task its very self simplyfing its making the job and more understandable approach if you could go passed all that fancy security armed gaurds and top ranks security procol in a home made disguise with a handicraft ID and walk in and out unoticed using a fake deliberatly failed aproach to rob and bank and get released as one of the hostages whilest disugiusing the cash itself in shopping bags. would be so simple it would be to rock the very foundations of the high lengths socioty goes to to protect. of course this is purley hyperthetical and pure fantcy but meant metorphorically.

    imagine if you could accomplish any task like a math equasion by making it simpler dont drive use cruise control, dont use manual use automatic, dont go on the motorway to risk traffic go for the easier option the jewl carrige way or aviod the morning rush and use slip roads instead of the bus routes, simple yet effective, whatever passes with flying colours has got repertition written all over it!

  31. My name is not important says:

    “Life won’t stop for anybody, so lets stop worrying and live to the fullest.” M.N.I.N.I.
    “The day you die in is your doomsday.” M.N.I.N.I.
    “Be sure that you control your own life and your own circumstances” M.N.I.N.I.

  32. Tom Gilb says:

    Great collection!

    BTW the purported Einstein quote

    Einstein’s famous quote — “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

    which I published in Principles of Sw Eng. mgt 1988, is not possible to confirm by written sources that he actually said it. I and Alice Calaprice (editor of Einsteins Quotations) have worked for years on this one. it is listed in her book at things attributed to AE but not ‘proven’. We agree he had great sympathy in that direction!

    I am going to send my collected researches to JD, for fun.

    Recently we found Marvin Minsky quoting it in Societyof Mind.

    and his reply is interesting!

    On Sun, Jun 6, 2010 at 5:13 PM, Tom Gilb wrote:
    Prof Minsky
    I just started rereading Society of Mind. I realized that your Einstein quotation is probaby not correct and attributable to a checkable written source. I made the mistake myself.
    See the Caprice book Einsteins Quotations for her conclusion.

    MM “What is this reference?  Can you tell me her conclusion?
    When my book came out, an Einstein archive in Jerusalem asked me for the source, because they could not find it.
    I replied that I did not recall where I had heard it, but that I had known Einstein when I was at Princeton in 1950-1954, and perhaps had heard him say that — or something like that.  Also, I could have made a mistake, because I had trouble understanding his very foreign accent.

    So perhaps he said something simpler, but not much simpler.”

  33. yolande says:

    “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann ..love this..

  34. Neveth says:

    “Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”
    – Paul Rand

  35. Tarak says:

    It’s better to lead a simple life than a complicated life,isn’t it Mr.JD

    • JD says:

      Yes, there’s plenty of chaos and complexity, naturally — we need to inject simplicity, where we can.