Extended Audio Sample

Download In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing Audiobook, by Matthew E. May Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (221 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew E. May Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2009 ISBN: 9781455194834
Regular Price: $13.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

What made The Sopranos finale one of the most talked about events in television history? Why is Sudoku so addictive and the iPhone so darned irresistible? What do Jackson Pollock and Lance Armstrong have in common with theoretical physicists and Buddhist monks? The answer is elegance.

Matthew May explores why certain events, products, and people capture our imaginations and our loyalty. Defining elegance as the elusive combination of unusual simplicity and surprising power, he pinpoints the four key elements that characterize it—seduction, subtraction, symmetry, and sustainability—illustrating why what’s “not there” often matters more than what is. He also sheds light on the need for elegance in design, engineering, physics, art, urban planning, sports, and work.

Download charts and figures.

Download and start listening now!

BK_BLAK_003292

Quotes & Awards

  • “As elegantly written as it is provocative. In Pursuit of Elegance makes a convincing—nay, worldview-shifting—argument that less is best.”

    Ori Brafman, New York Times bestselling author

  • In Pursuit of Elegance is a fascinating intellectual romp that will change the way you look at your surroundings. As he takes readers from Jackson Pollock paintings to Dutch intersections to the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger, Matt May reveals the hidden elements beneath genuine innovation. This book is surprising, compelling, and, yes, extremely elegant.”

    Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author

  • “What a masterpiece! The definitive guide to the ‘less is more’ mind-set. I meant to only take a quick glance at In Pursuit of Elegance, but once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. In a world where everything keeps getting more complicated and overwhelming, Matthew May shows us that if we start looking for things to take out, things to stop doing, and intelligent shortcuts, we will all be happier, do superior work, and live in a better world.”

    Robert I. Sutton, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Malcolm Hilgartner gives the ideal performance for May’s ‘less is more’ approach. His reading is understated and controlled, creatively engaging the imagination by what is not there.”

    AudioFile

  • “Enlightening. Makes a compelling case for doing more with less by optimizing the expenditure of one’s assets and resources. That’s something anyone can and should put into practice.”

    Kevin Hunter, president, CALTY Design Research, Inc., Toyota Design Network

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eric Smith | 2/19/2014

    " This book purports to show four important ways to think about new product development via a quest for elegance. What you leave out is more important than what you include, that's one of the core ideas. This is a good book, thought provoking, but it is not a great book as the level of simplification means that the ""rules"" are hard to apply to real world designs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allee | 2/14/2014

    " Easier said than done ideas. I'm not too into the business-y self help kind of books anyway. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ninakix | 2/9/2014

    " I found the beginning of this book a little painful to read, even though the stories and examples told were interesting. That's because the author talks about the "three S's" of elegance: symmetry, seduction, subtraction. This felt to me like a forced attempt to work what he'd seen into an easy to remember, packable concept. Once you move on from this forced concept, the book becomes more interesting. He begins to discuss how you think to get toward an "elegant" concept. And while not super in-depth or unexpected, the chapters are still interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 1/31/2014

    " This was wide-ranging and very interesting, although I think it's possible that May has given some odd significance to events. For example, his use of the example of what happens at busy intersections if traffic signals and signs are eliminated, to me shows not "symmetry" but libertarianism. :-) But still, how can you not love a book that manages to tie together neuroscience, cycling, Jackson Pollock, traffic patterns, architecture, the iPhone, fractals and the Sopranos? Fun and interesting view, just too bad that the author apparently intends the book to be primarily used in business settings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don Weidinger | 1/28/2014

    " what not to do, less is more, traffic flow min lights safe sim to phone case, lights out flow, roller rink, react vs think elevator, addiction to addition vs subtraction, double pot evap cooling, tendency to satisfice, remove minor crimes, observe vs act, circle why T, play pump. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mahmood Melebari | 1/28/2014

    " In general the book is about how to be perfect in what are you working on . Your way to look at things would be totally changed after reading this book . Its an amazing book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 1/22/2014

    " Elegant solutions to problems employ symmetry, seduction, subtraction, and sustainability. Typically our problem solving embraces two obstacles: acting and adding, thereby satisficing instead of stopping and reflecting long enough to come to an elegant solution. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josh | 1/8/2014

    " I was shocked to see so many of the ideas and concepts I'd been considering explained, with examples. I was impressed by the book, though I thought it was a bit longer than necessary (I still gave it five stars because I liked the extra personally, if not professionally). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 12/31/2013

    " I enjoyed this. A quick read much in the style of a Gladwell book. Some interesting insights "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam Carlson | 12/27/2013

    " Some very interesting ideas, written in an engaging style, that center, mostly, on the less is more argument. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dee | 12/19/2013

    " Ehh. Not as good as I had thought it would be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phil Simon | 12/11/2013

    " I read quite a bit and many books suffer from "me too" complexes. Not this one. An amazing read with applications to so many areas of life. May proves that, in fact, less may be more. Strongly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miss Chae | 12/8/2013

    " Great insights that are universally applicable to services and products "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julia | 11/28/2013

    " Good enough, for what it is, but it should have been a lengthy magazine article. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sheryl | 11/25/2013

    " Absolute must read in this age of more, more, more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chuck Jackson | 4/17/2013

    " Really well done, easy to read. I liked the thesis and it was well worked out. We certainly need to solve more problems by removing layers of complexity rather than just adding more and more laws, rules or activities. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 9/22/2012

    " Seems very intriguing, but too deep for my scatterbrain right now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 12/31/2011

    " Definitely worth the read. A simple idea, but an important one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martin | 11/2/2011

    " Some great stories about how removing things can make projects/companies/designs better. Nice ideas, but ultimately started to drag on. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Moses | 10/8/2011

    " p120 "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 B | 9/7/2011

    " This book was disappointing. I so hoped that Matthew May would provide some beautifully poetic explanation for elegance but instead, he spent 200 pages coming to the conclusion that elegance is found in simplicity. I was rather put off by that. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jillian | 6/25/2011

    " If you're looking for a Tipping Point-like book, this isn't it. There are a few interesting facts intermingled with common sense advice like, "don't over-think it" and "elegance is simple." Nothing too ground-breaking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phil | 3/27/2011

    " I read quite a bit and many books suffer from "me too" complexes. Not this one. An amazing read with applications to so many areas of life. May proves that, in fact, less may be more. Strongly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Graeme | 11/7/2010

    " I love this book!

    I have always valued elegance very highly but would have been hard-put to define it well. I can now do that and actively seek it in my work, because I understand that symmetry, sustainability, subtraction, and seduction are its defining characteristics. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 B | 7/23/2010

    " This book was disappointing. I so hoped that Matthew May would provide some beautifully poetic explanation for elegance but instead, he spent 200 pages coming to the conclusion that elegance is found in simplicity. I was rather put off by that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 9/30/2009

    " I enjoyed this. A quick read much in the style of a Gladwell book. Some interesting insights "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harry | 8/17/2009

    " The cop out introduction by Guy Kawasaki notwithstanding, this was a good read. Lots of implications for design, writing, speaking, presentations, programming, and architecture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 7/20/2009

    " Definitely worth the read. A simple idea, but an important one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 7/6/2009

    " Elegant solutions to problems employ symmetry, seduction, subtraction, and sustainability. Typically our problem solving embraces two obstacles: acting and adding, thereby satisficing instead of stopping and reflecting long enough to come to an elegant solution. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Matthew E. May is a five-time author and recognized thought leader on strategy and innovation. A popular speaker, facilitator, and seminar leader, he confidentially coaches executives, artists, and athletes, and conducts custom thinking sessions for leading organizations all over the world.
About the Narrator

Malcolm Hillgartner is an actor, author, playwright, and professional narrator. Under the name Jahnna N. Malcolm, he and his wife, Jahnna Beecham, have written over one hundred books for young readers; their musicals have played in theaters across America. His audiobook credits include works by Dean Koontz, Nelson Algren, and William F. Buckley Jr.