Less, but better.

sub2Matthew May is an author (e.g. In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing,  The Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change) and entrepreneur with a deep passion for ideas that can help solve problems in an elegant way. He defines an elegant solution as one that is both simple and surprisingly powerful.

As an ambassador of the “less, but better” philosophy, in business and in life, I was looking forward to reading Matthew’s book “The Laws of Subtraction.” You see, in theory subtraction sounds like a concept people would embrace naturally. I mean, who would not be interested in letting go and/or minimizing the unnecessary in order to channel their wits, energy, and efforts into the meaningful and essential? In practice, subtraction is hard. Matthew understands that, and that is why in his book he offers a number of interesting ideas on how to make subtraction workable.

After I finished reading “The Laws of Subtraction,” I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with Matthew, and he graciously agreed to conduct a quick interview for sneezr.ca. Inspired by an excerpt from a poem attributed to Brian A. Chalker featured in Matthew’s book (“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.”), I decided to ask Matthew just one open-ended question.

Jenan: As a successful person, Matthew, you know that developing good relationships is critical to having a good life (both professionally and personally). How do you go about determining whether a person is in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime?

Matthew: It doesn’t matter and it’s not about a choice or decision. It’s about appreciation. Maybe this is too Zen, but it doesn’t matter if it’s for a reason, season or lifetime–appreciate their presence. So I’ve subtracted the decision entirely.

Jenan: Thank you Matthew and all the best until next time!

Nov 17, 2013