Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication


Recently I wrote “If I”d had more time….” around the story :

“On being complemented for writing a erudite, entertaining and educational letter to a national newspaper, Mark Twain said: “Thank you. If I’d had more time I would have written a shorter one.””

Now, I also wrote in that piece about the fact that this was erroneously attributed to Mark Twain, and mused on why these attributions are so readily created to certain people.

The wonderful quote above is attributed to Da Vinci. Once again, no source for this can be found, but hey, I still LOVE the line !

Oh, and another thought from my recent post “Wisdom – what makes a masterpiece?” is that wisdom is “Something that, as soon as you hear it, feels like you always knew it”

I write this having this week spent a day with a wonderful large team who spend their days working on complex issues, researching and reporting them. Often they create reports that are many tens of pages long.

I asked them “what would good look like ?” and they said “no more than three of four pages”. I then asked “what would great look like ?” and the answer was “one page”.

That felt like wisdom to me. So, at the end of six hours together, they aligned around a report for themselves from their day of collaboration and discussion. The length of that report ? One page ?