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Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less (edició 2021)
de Leidy Klotz (Autor)
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Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less de Leidy Klotz
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People often overlook the benefits of removing things, choosing instead to add and make them more complex. Lots of examples here and some useful advice about framing subtractive changes in ways that don’t trigger loss aversion as easily, though I didn’t need the end lecture about climate change.
Leidy Klotz says he has a longstanding obsession with less. He has written a book called Subtract, to attempt to infect everyone with his obsession.
It is true we don’t think in terms of subtraction; we’re all about adding on, all about more. Overbuilding, overengineering, hoarding, wordiness – you name it, we’re busy adding to it. Bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger bodies … Economies are all about growth, which is proving to be problematic. Evolution is forever adding, usually without discarding the redundancies. Addition rules.
But Klotz has found some wise people over the ages who could see more clearly than that. He says Leonardo Da Vinci defined perfection as when there was nothing left to take away. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu advised, “To attain knowledge add things every day. To attain wisdom subtract things every day.” So what’s the big deal? Let’s just do it!
Studies show that subjects automatically go for the more and rarely the less. As Klotz says: “We humans neglect an incredibly powerful option; we don’t subtract. We pile on to-dos but don’t consider stop-doings. We create incentives for high performance but don’t get rid of obstacles to our goals. We draft new laws without abolishing outdated legislation. Whether we’re seeking better behavior from our kids or designing new initiatives at work, we systematically opt for more over less.”
To give one solid example that Klotz refers to repeatedly, faced with a Lego bridge in which the two support towers were of different heights, almost every person chose to add a piece to the shorter one than to remove a piece from the taller one in order to make them even. The point is that people simply don’t even think in terms of subtraction.
But they should, he says. New insights come from subtraction. My favorite example from the book is of Anna Keichline, the first female architect licensed in Pennsylvania. She invented the cement block, the basis of countless buildings and other structures around the world. She looked at the solid blocks that builders had used until her time, and thought – what a waste. The strength of the block was in its walls, not its center. So instead, she made blocks that were hollow. They were cheaper, lighter, easier to handle and transport, and easier to assemble. All by subtracting the cement inside. Brilliant.
Subtracting can be hard. Klotz offered payment to his university students to redesign the house he just bought. The best subtractive ideas would be rewarded. Although legions signed on, no one could come up with a valuable idea that came from subtracting. Klotz, who happens to be an architect among other things, ended up putting an addition on the house.
He pleads not for negative thinking, but to make subtracting an equal partner in design and decision-making. It should be addition and subtraction, not addition or subtraction, he says. Subtracting could be the real outside the box thinking.
There are four ways to think more subtracting: invert – try less before more. Expand – subtract as well as add. Distill – get to the essence by stripping away the unnecessary. Persist – keep focused on innovative subtraction.
The book suffers from far too little to say in far too many pages. There is endless discussion of observing his 2½ year old son and Klotz’s own shoe closet of 14 different models of sneaker. There is way too much repetition of stories he has told earlier. And although his stories range throughout the planet and history, they don’t necessarily buttress his case for subtracting. And he admits that. They’re interesting enough stories, just not great proof.
So while Subtract is good concept, it could really use some merciless editing to give it, well, less.
Blending evidence across science and design,Subtract:exploresthe other approach to problem-solving: proving why we overlook subtraction, and how we can access its untapped potential We pile on "to-dos" but don't consider "stop-doings." We create incentives for good behavior, but don't get rid of obstacles to it. We collect new-and-improved ideas, but don't prune the outdated ones. Every day, across challenges big and small, we neglect a basic way to make things better: we don't subtract. Leidy Klotz's pioneering research shows why. Whether we're building Lego models or cities, grilled-cheese sandwiches or strategic plans, our minds tend to add before taking away. Even when we do think of it, subtraction can be harder to pull off because an array of biological, cultural, and economic forces push us towardsmore. But we have a choice--our blind spot need not go on taking its toll on our cities, our institutions, and our minds. By diagnosing our neglect of subtraction, we can treat it. Subtract will change how you change your world. In these pages you'll meet subtracting exemplars: design geniuses, Nobel Prize-winners, rock-stars, and everyday heroes, who have subtracted to dismantle racism, advance knowledge, heal the planet, and even tell better jokes. These and more guiding lights show how we can revolutionize not just our day-to-day lives, but our collective legacy. More or less. A paradigm shift of a book,Subtract shows us how to find more of the options we've been missing--and empowers us to pursue them.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)158.1 — Philosophy and Psychology Psychology Applied Psychology Personal improvement and analysis
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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Also some silly blunders like talking about Hunter/Gatherers “digging” for eggplant. And something about how odometers only “go up” - not true for mechanical odometers used on cars.