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Book review: Brutal Simplicity of Thought

Book review: Brutal Simplicity of Thought
The simplicity here is not village-idiot-simple but rather brilliant-simple.

Brutal Simplicity of Thought
By Lord Maurice Saatchi (Random House, 2011) $30

It’s an irony of the grandest order that “brutal simplicity” is being celebrated in an industry where only the most complex of ad campaigns get peer applause. Still, the simplicity with which this slim volume concerns itself is not one of simple like village-idiot-simple but rather brilliant-simple. Perhaps it should’ve been called the Brilliant Simplicity of Thought, but then not all thoughts are simple. The Darwin Awards prove as much.

If you want to achieve excellence, so Lord Saatchi’s theory goes, you’ll need this “brutal simplicity of thought”. Along with a “deep distaste” for waffle, vagueness, platitudes and flim flam. (One might argue that flim flam, waffle and vagueness are the same, hence creating a redundancy in the text and violating Saatchi’s own simplicity of thought. But I digress.)

The book – a coffee table business book, the perfect gift for the upwardly mobile wanker in your life (I say that with love) – opens with scans of Lord Saatchi’s draft notes for his speech at the ‘Saatchistory’ 40th anniversary party last year. The Lord’s handwriting leaves a lot to be desired, so the scans essentially look like a sozzled beetle has dipped his legs in ink and then staggered drunkenly all over the pages.

The rest of the book is less haphazard, but makes for quick reading. It introduces concepts and inventions that have changed the way we live or think. It may be that you’ve never given much thought to them before: the brilliance of daylight saving, how Velcro was invented, how the bicycle emancipated women, and the wonders of scuba diving.

The only one missing is the toaster. Go on, have a think about that. The toaster deserves some credit.

We give this puppy three and a half ad men out of five.