Simple

Simple: Conquering the Cris of Complexity
by Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn

Cover of book Simple:Conquering the Crisis of Complexity The authors write, “This book reflects our shared vision about the critcal importance of simplicy today — in the business world, in government, in our daily lives. . . .

[T]his is a passion and a cause to which we’ve committed ourselves fully. We hope that by the time you finish reading this book, you’ll feel as strongly about the value of simplicity as we do and will refuse to accept the complexity that inhibits informed decision making, puts your health at rist, endangers your family’s safety, and places you in a financial hole.”

Articles, reviews, TED Talks, etc. relted to the book Simple
 
1. (VIDEOS) featuring Siegel + Gale brand strategy firm. The videos on the Web site discuss the importance of simplicity as it relates to profitability for businesses. 
 
2. Author, Etzkorn, publishes a blog on simplicity which is linked to the Siegel+Gale brand strategy firm.
 
3. Siegelvison is Seigel’s new brand strategy firm which he launched in 2011. 
 
4. A biography of Alan Siegel which explains his philosophy on clear communication. 
 
5. (VIDEO) Seigel’s interview with the Wall Street Journal to discuss his new book and the problem of complexity in society. 
 
6. (VIDEO) Alan Seigel hosts a TED talk in 2010 entitled “Let’s Simplify the Legal Jargon!” He sees his work as a moral imperative that “builds humanity into communications.”
 

Reviews

 7. New York Times reviews Simple.
 
8. Wall Street Journal blog Simplybusinessresearch summaries Simple and Simpler: The Future of Government by Cass Sunstein.
 
Implications
 
9. Laserfiche explores the problem of complexity in a number of industries and references ideas from Simple as a solution. 
 
10. CS Monitor discusses the complexity of gun politics and explains how clarity, transparency and empathy can counter the complexity. 
 
11. NYU’s GOVLAB discusses the need for simplicity in government. 
 
Related
 
12. (VIDEO) John Maeda’s 2007 TED talk called “Designing for simplicity” 
 
13. Economist article on the virtues of simplicity when it came to reforming pension reforms in England. 
 
14. How to decide between reading Simple or Simpler — appeared in the Washington Magazine, June 2013.
 
Criticsm
 
It was tough to find criticisms of Simple. It is hard to disagree that simple isn’t better, but I would argue that the book could provide more specific solutions to conquering complexity. Siegel advocates too strongly for businesses to outsource their problems to consultancies – an act which serves his industry and is, not to mention, inherently more complex than handling the problem internally. 
 
Also, he addresses the security argument – that complexity is a function of greater security for individuals and corporations. However, I don’t think his defense was compelling. Perhaps someone will explore that aspect in greater depth in the future.
 
Amanda Hall

 

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