The Simplicity Principle Book Summary - The Simplicity Principle Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Simplicity Principle summary

Julia Hobsbawm

Six Steps Towards Clarity in a Complex World

4.3 (297 ratings)
25 mins
Table of Contents

    The Simplicity Principle
    Summary of 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    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.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Simplicity Principle?

    Key ideas in The Simplicity Principle

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    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. 

    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.

    Categories with The Simplicity Principle

    Books like The Simplicity Principle

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial