Fewer, Nicer Things

The Last Viridian Note has it exactly right, but is ironically wordy for a minimalist treatise.

Massively paraphrasing:  ”fewer, nicer things.”  

I chose Evernote and GrandCentral precisely because they radically simplify. One phone number for life, one searchable repository for all documents.  Both detached from any particular hardware.  Also 1Password, which automates password storage and data entry. Another 100 fewer things to remember.

The specific experiment is to refit the business to run simply and securely from anywhere.  Nearly there. Slicehost is the last piece of the puzzle.

Simplification is relaxing.  Example:  gave away 80% of my wardrobe this spring.  The rest –  less than I had in high school — is high quality, aesthetic and unusual.  I like it, spouse gently horrified.

Office now little more than a laptop, California plein-air watercolors, and a cellphone.  The emotional barrier is with books.  I could and should eliminate hundreds, but there is irrational attachment. 

4 Responses to “Fewer, Nicer Things”

  1. erollins Says:


    In _The Black Swan_ Nassim Nicholas Taleb discusses the importance of having a large library. He is especially proud of math books he obtained from a downsizing Benoit Mandelbrot.

    And in Make Magazine #12, Mark Frauenfelder’s Welcome column “Spare Parts are Essential” points out the usefulness of keeping random stuff for use in projects.

  2. wemitchell Says:

    True. Maybe these two qualities make a book easy to get rid of:
    1. Time-sensitive
    2. Available free online

    So the timeless “Art of UNIX programming” stays, but the 68020 machine programming manual goes. Raymond Chandler stays (still in copyright), but maybe Arthur Conan Doyle goes (collected works free at gutenberg.org).

    For a while I found certain computer references easier offline, but that is now changing.

    Haven’t thought yet about what to do with my impressive collection of random bicycle components, unfinished/crashed radio control airplanes, weird tools, etc. :-)

  3. Simplified computing « Mitchelldom Says:

    [...] Install, remove, update, or otherwise wrestle with printer drivers. Here is the prescription to avoid all that.  It generally follows the principle of “Fewer, nicer things.” [...]

  4. Fewer, Nicer Laws « Nostradoofus Says:

    [...] 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm · Filed under Uncategorized The Fewer, Nicer Things meme applies in particular to government.  Minimizing regulatory compliance expense is mainly a [...]