Do Less

The human drive to invent new things has led to pathbreaking achievements in medicine, science and society. But our desire for innovation can keep us from seeing one of the most powerful paths to progress: subtraction. Engineer Leidy Klotz says sometimes the best way forward involves removing, streamlining and simplifying things.

Additional Resources


Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less, by Leidy Klotz, 2021.


People Systematically Overlook Subtractive Changes, by Gabrielle S. Adams, et al., Nature, 2021.

Investigating the Mechanisms of Hoarding from an Experimental Perspective, by Stephanie D. Preston, Jordana R. Muroff, and Steven M. Wengrovitz, Depression and Anxiety, 2009.

Neural Predictors of Purchases, by Brian Knutson, et al, Neuron, 2007.

An Intervention to Decrease Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infections in the ICU, by Peter Pronovost et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 2006.

Monumental Architecture: A Thermodynamic Explanation of Symbolic Behavior, by Bruce G. Trigger, World Archaeology, 1990.


Subscribe to the Hidden Brain Podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode.


Go behind the scenes, see what Shankar is reading and find more useful resources and links.