Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away

The title of this post is a translated quote from the book, Wind, Sand and Stars. The book is a memoir by the French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist and pioneering aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Here is the text in full.

Have you looked at a modern airplane? Have you followed from year to year the evolution of its lines? Have you ever thought, not only about the airplane but about whatever man builds, that all of man’s industrial efforts, all his computations and calculations, all the nights spent over working draughts and blueprints, invariably culminate in the production of a thing whose sole and guiding principle is the ultimate principle of simplicity?

It is as if there were a natural law which ordained that to achieve this end, to refine the curve of a piece of furniture, or a ship’s keel, or the fuselage of an airplane, until gradually it partakes of the elementary purity of the curve of a human breast or shoulder, there must be the experimentation of several generations of craftsmen. In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.

The key takeaway from this elegant text, is that simplicity is the route to perfection. Therefore, simplicity should always be the guiding principle in any creation.

Simplicity, is the artisans philosophy.

Author: David Reid

My name is David Reid. I’m a husband and dad living in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. I'm a contract full stack developer who works on greenfield and brownfield projects for many companies and many sectors the length and breadth of Britain.

I code for a living, I code for fun