The Truth About Ockham’s Razor

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein


OK, so I know you’ve been wondering what the truth of Ockham’s Razor, and I stand ready to clarify. First the simple facts: “Occam’s (or Ockham’s) razor is a principle attributed to the 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham. Ockham was the village in the English county of Surrey where he was born. Got it?

The principle states that “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.” Sometimes it is quoted in one of its original Latin forms to give it an air of authenticity. In our case we’ll try to simplify it. When one or more options present themselves, the simpler one is the better.”

That search for simplicity is important to us. We like to add complexity to our jobs because, for one thing, we think it makes them more important. But the best leaders attempt to make even the most complex situations or findings simple. People like their favorite music more than unfamiliar music. People relate to air talent who seem more like themselves. And on and on.

What about you? Do you add “white noise” to an issue or do you try to make it more easily understood. Those who bring simplicity to chaos are always more likely to succeed.