The Simplicity Principle Book Summary - The Simplicity Principle Book explained in key points
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The Simplicity Principle summary

Julia Hobsbawm

Six Steps Towards Clarity in a Complex World

4.3 (312 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

The Simplicity Principle by Julia Hobsbawm is a guide to simplifying our overwhelmed and overconnected lives by replacing complexity with clarity and focus. It provides practical advice to help us achieve a more meaningful and fulfilling existence.

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    The Simplicity Principle
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Confronted by a world of complexity, we desire simplicity most of all.

    Let’s imagine that you need to email a colleague in your office. You switch on your computer. But before it can load, there are updates. You’re prompted to restart the machine. So you do, and after five long minutes, the system has finally updated. But wait – now, the computer needs to conduct a virus scan as the wi-fi seems to shut down.

    All of this just to speak to someone a few desks away!

    The key message here is: Confronted by a world of complexity, we desire simplicity most of all.

    Though our sophisticated technology has simplified many things like data storage and number-crunching, it has also come with a bundle of complexity. It drives us to distraction and goes against what we want most – simplicity.

    One person who understood this was Steve Jobs. Simplicity is at the heart of Apple’s products, from their smooth, sleek esthetic to their easy-to-use functionality. Although we all seek the convenience that complex technology brings, we want it to function as simply as possible. That’s the chief reason behind Apple’s success.

    In fact, if you take a closer look at the most successful companies in the world, one thing unites them. From Amazon to Johnson & Johnson, they make things straightforward for the customer. Even though there’s a great deal of complexity to what they do internally, the customer experience is one of simplicity.

    Our desire for simplicity can be seen in modern election results, too. Many people across the world have disengaged with the complexity and nuance of modern politics. So, when an election comes around, they tend to vote for the simplest offer.

    Take the United Kingdom’s 2016 Brexit referendum. The “Leave” campaign won – in part – because it had the most straightforward message: “Take Back Control.” The “Remain” side, with their complex and nuanced case for internationalism, found themselves unable to counter such directness. The same is true of Trump’s 2016 victory. His campaign can easily be encapsulated in the simple, nationalistic slogan: “Make America Great Again.” Whether you agree or disagree with the politics of Brexit or Trump, voters largely craved simplicity in a complicated world.

    That’s not to say complexity isn’t necessary and preferable sometimes. But in the twenty-first century, we’ve needlessly complicated things that should be very simple – like our communication with voters and our work schedules. Let’s see what we can do to simplify things in the following blinks.

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    What is The Simplicity Principle about?

    The Simplicity Principle (2020) proposes a simpler way of living in the twenty-first century. Drawing from nature and geometry, Julia Hobsbawm demonstrates how to simplify the complicated and learn to prioritize the things that matter most of all. 

    The Simplicity Principle Review

    The Simplicity Principle (2020) by Julia Hobsbawm sheds light on how embracing simplicity can lead to success in today's complex world. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with practical strategies, it offers valuable insights on simplifying our lives to reduce stress and increase productivity.
    • By combining research, case studies, and personal experiences, the book provides a comprehensive understanding of the benefits of simplicity in various aspects of life.
    • The author's thought-provoking perspective challenges societal norms, sparking a desire for change and inspiring readers to embrace simplicity for a more fulfilling life.

    Who should read The Simplicity Principle?

    • Anyone who struggles with a complex workload
    • Stress-heads who need to reset
    • Those looking to kick their addiction to rolling news

    About the Author

    Julia Hobsbawm OBE is an entrepreneur and the author of Fully Connected: Social Health in an Age of Overload. She is also Editor at Large at Arianna Huffington's portal Thrive Global and a columnist for PWC's Strategy + Business magazine.


    © Julia Hobsbawm, 2020. This Summary of The Simplicity Principle is published by arrangement with Kogan Page.

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    The Simplicity Principle FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Simplicity Principle?

    The main message of The Simplicity Principle is that simplicity leads to success and productivity in the modern world.

    How long does it take to read The Simplicity Principle?

    The reading time for The Simplicity Principle varies, but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Simplicity Principle a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Simplicity Principle is worth reading for its insights into simplifying our lives and finding focus. It provides practical advice in 130 characters.

    Who is the author of The Simplicity Principle?

    The author of The Simplicity Principle is Julia Hobsbawm.

    What to read after The Simplicity Principle?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Simplicity Principle, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda
    • Simply Complexity by Neil F. Johnson
    • Simple Rules by Donald Sull and Kathleen Eisenhardt
    • Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee
    • Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu
    • In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré
    • Limitless by Jim Kwik
    • Get Better at Anything by Scott H. Young
    • The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno
    • Focus by Daniel Goleman