Let’s See If Less Is More…

The following email, and subsequent response from Dan Ariely, were originally 156 words; I’ve cut it to 97 words, a decrease of almost 38%.

Dear Dan,

For years, I’ve been organizing a charity event for an animal rescue organization. Every year people tell me I’ve outdone myself, and it’s starting to feel like an expectation that the next event will offer more than the last. Now I’m struggling to come up with new ideas, and I’m worried about disappointing the committee. What can I do?


There is an interesting study where participants were asked to modify a structure built with Legos. Most participants added more bricks, but a quicker and better strategy was to remove a few. With this in mind, consider whether you could improve the event by subtracting instead of adding. Try keeping it simple and stick to the most successful elements from previous years.

We have a tendency to think that the way to make things better is to do more. Often we overlook the value of removing something to increase the appreciation of the rest.


And to further test Dan’s hypothesis, I’ll stop here, instead of adding my own brilliant insights like I usually do. I hope you appreciate it…

40 thoughts on “Let’s See If Less Is More…

  1. You’ve got the beginnings of a career in copyediting, Jim. One of the things I have to be aware of in my writing is less is often better than more. Cut to the chase, Springer!

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  2. Hi Jim, the point about subtracting what doesn’t work as well so that people can appreciate the better parts is very good advice. We do that in writing – it’s called killing your darlings and it is haaarrrdddd! An excellent post even without your two pennies worth [wink].

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like that phrase, killing your darlings. I have not written anything that I have become too attached to yet, but I imagine with writing a book it is a bit different. and not having my two pennies is part of what made it excellent 🙂

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  3. This is what I’ve learned through my years of blogging… So much ends up on the cutting room floor but I choose to omit them bc they either don’t add to the overall story or they are another story in itself! It’s helped me stay on track! Great advice!

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    1. I don’t do much editing. usually my first draft is what I usually post. I’m sure that doesn’t help with the quality, but most times I’m just so relieved to get the first draft completed, that I don’t have the motivation to go back and edit it…

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