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Sun 24 Sep 2006

Perfection and Simplicity

Category : Commentary/perfection.txt

If you had watched Stuart Cheshire's talk about Zero Configuration Networking with Bonjour on Google Video, you may have the caught the part where he talked about the importance of simplicity :

"Any fool can make something complicated.
What's hard is to make something simple."

And he followed that with a reference to a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

"In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away".

I've had that quote playing on my mind the last two months working on Luca.

It just so happened that I discovered an excellent book called "Let My People Go Surfing - The Education of a Reluctant Businessman - by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and what did I find but that quote again from Saint-Exupéry leaping off the 25th page :

"Have you ever thought, not only about the airplane but whatever man builds, that all of man's industrial efforts, all his computations and calculations, all the nights spent working over draughts and blue-prints, invariably culminate in the production of a thing whose sole and guiding principle is the ultimate principle of simplicity?".

"It is as if there were a natural law which ordained that to achieve this end, to refine the curve of a piece of furniture, or a ship's keel, or the fuselage of an airplane, until gradually it partakes of the elementary purity of the curve of the human breast or shoulder, there must be experimentation of several generations of craftsmen. In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness."

- excerpt from Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

There you have it - art, science, sex, poetry, engineering, and simplicity. It all adds up to perfection.

Posted at 5:14PM UTC | permalink


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