Who said it first?

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Granville Island, Vancouver

Granville Island, Vancouver

“Focus on what makes you happy, and do what gives meaning to your life” 
― Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

“Less is more” seems to have its genesis in the 1855 poem attributed to Robert Browning – Andrea Del Sarto.  Andrea del Sarto was a Florentine painter who lived in the time of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.  Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe (1886 – 1969), one of the founders of modern architecture, embraced this idea in his artistic endeavours, which has come to signify that simplicity and clarity lead to good design.

While “less is more” is really a paradox, we accept it as an absolute truth. The definition of “less” is clearly the opposite of “more.”  And yet, we recognize its validity in our experience. Perhaps we can argue that frugality = “less is more.”