Magazine article Risk Management

THE LAWS OF SUBTRACTION: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything

Magazine article Risk Management

THE LAWS OF SUBTRACTION: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything

Article excerpt

THE LAWS OF SUBTRACTION 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything by Matthew E. May

Complexity rules the day. But though we are surrounded by more- more people, more luxuries, more ideasthan ever before, all we really want is a nap.

In his new book, Matthew May, an author and the founder of an "ideas agency" in Los Angeles, sets out to guide us through this "age of excess everything." From the outset, it seems he might be in trouble. He organizes The Laws of Subtraction into sections based on his six laws, which are themselves spawned from May's "unraveling" the tenth law of graphic designer John Maeda's laws of simplicity.

It gets more convoluted. At the end of each chapter, May includes a series of "Silhouettes in Subtraction," or short vignettes that dovetail with the section's theme and are written by various big-idea personalities. One, the "Power of No," complements the section well, explaining how a niche graphic design firm started expanding into mainstream work before later deciding to lop off that new revenue stream and re-focus itself on its core business. Another, written by Little Bets author Peter Sims, seems out of place, reading more like an inside-publishing outtake from his book than a useful anecdote for this one. …

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