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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:
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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.

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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.”


  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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