“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci
“We tried to make something much more holistic and simple.” Steve Jobs
One of the reasons for the success of Apple products is their sophisticated simplicity. Every time I go to use a Windows PC, I appreciate more how intuitive and accessible my iMac is – which encourages more creative work and accomplishment.
Commenting about the iPod, Steve Jobs said “Look at the design of a lot of consumer products — they’re really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple.
“When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there.” (Newsweek, 14 October 2006)
Michael Gelb is the author of 12 books on creativity and innovation including How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day.
Here are a few quotes from the book that indicate the breadth of da Vinci’s perspectives on developing creativity:
“As you sharpen your senses, probe the depths of experience, and awaken your childlike powers of questioning, you will encounter increasing uncertainty and ambiguity. ‘Confusion endurance’ is the most distinctive trait of highly creative people, and Leonardo probably possessed more of that trait than anyone who has ever lived.
“For balance and creativity to emerge from uncertainty requires principle number five [see others below] — Arte/Scienza — or what we now call whole-brain thinking. But Da Vinci believed that balance was more than just mental. He exemplified and affirmed the importance of principle number six — Corporalita — the balance of body and mind.”
Those and other principles have undoubtedly been embraced by Steve Jobs and many other creative visionaries.
The description for an upcoming online course by Gelb, based on his book, notes: “Anatomist, architect, botanist, city planner, chef, engineer, equestrian, inventor, geographer, geologist, musician, painter, and philosopher, Leonardo da Vinci helped bring the Western world out of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.”
The course promises to apply seven principles “for thinking like Leonardo, through a proven series of practical exercises, to your deepest life questions.”
These da Vinci principles are:
• Curiosità – An insatiable quest for knowledge and continuous improvement
• Dimostrazione – Learning from experience
• Sensazione – Sharpening the senses
• Sfumato – Managing ambiguity and change
• Arte/Scienza – Whole-brain thinking
• Corporalità – Body-mind fitness
• Connessione – Systems thinking
For more information, visit the site for the course:
How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci
Book: How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, by Michael J. Gelb.
Self-portrait from article New Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci Found! By Maike Vogt-Lüerssen
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Last reviewed: 31 Oct 2011