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Subtract  By  cover art

Subtract

By: Leidy Klotz
Narrated by: Leidy Klotz,Robert Petkoff
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Publisher's Summary

This program includes an introduction and epilogue read by the author.

Blending evidence across science and design, Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less offers a revolution in problem-solving: proving why we overlook subtraction, and how we can access its true potential.

We pile on “to-dos” but don’t consider “stop-doings”. We create incentives for good behavior, but don’t get rid of obstacles to it. We collect new-and-improved ideas, but don’t prune the outdated ones. Every day, across challenges big and small, we neglect a basic way to make things better: We don’t subtract.

Leidy Klotz’s pioneering research shows why. Whether we’re building Lego models or cities, grilled-cheese sandwiches or strategic plans, our minds tend to add before taking away. Even when we do think of it, subtraction can be harder to pull off because an array of biological, cultural, and economic forces push us toward more. But we have a choice - our blind spot need not go on taking its toll on our cities, our institutions, and our minds. By diagnosing our neglect of subtraction, we can treat it.

Subtract will change how you change your world. In these pages you’ll meet subtracting exemplars: design geniuses, Nobel Prize-winners, rock-stars, and everyday heroes, who have subtracted to dismantle racism, advance knowledge, heal the planet, and even tell better jokes. These and more guiding lights show how we can revolutionize not just our day-to-day lives, but our collective legacy. A paradigm shift of a book, Subtract shows us how to find more of the options we’ve been missing - and empowers us to pursue them.

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books

“This is a captivating, perceptive read on one of the most basic mistakes that we make in the pursuit of success and happiness.... If the defining word of your life is ‘more’, you need to read this book.” (Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and Originals, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife)

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Leidy Klotz (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Subtract

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Couldn't wait for it to be over

The main idea is interesting by itself, but I was pretty disappointed. I usually don't write reviews slamming a book, but I had several issues with this one.

1) It is not particularly well read - narrator's voice is nasal, slow, and overemphasizing.

2) The author makes way too many examples from his personal life. I think there were 1-2 anecotes about his son Ezra in every chapter. I thought that was very self serving and unscientific. I would accept a few personal anecdotes - like in Freakanomics, they're interesting, brief, and few.

3) There is a lot of progressive and political agenda dressed up under the theme of subtraction. This is not to say I'm against progressives on the whole, but that the author took his own politics and dressed it up in something that was intended to be scientific. The subtitle is misleading as "the untapped science of less." There is very little science in this book. "Subtraction" as a solution to systemic racism? Really?

4) It is odd the book is as long as it is when the whole point is to subtract. I would've expected it to be very concise. Yet the writing is not particularly concise. Lots of extraneous words, repitition of examples, and long asides.

I thought maybe I was just in a bad mood, but when I moved onto my next book, I was so relieved.

26 people found this helpful

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A superficial glance at the subject of subtraction

Should have taken his own advice and subtracted 2/3 of this book. There are a few nuggets but he never dives deep into the subject. Of course he is a college professor do has all the solutions to climate change. Do yourself a favor and subtract this book from your reading list.

8 people found this helpful

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This book blew my mind

This was one of the most interesting books that I’ve read in quite some time. Klotz is a professor who one day noticed our tendency to add when we want to make something better. He shares the story about how when he noticed this, he started doing a bunch of research to see if it’s true, and it was. When someone wants to improve a structure, they typically add something. If we want to improve something we’re writing, we usually add to it. In this book, Klotz uses his research to present strong arguments about how we should get in the habit of thinking about how subtraction can and should be our go-to. After laying out the research and his arguments, he then dives into some real-world issues we face due to our need for adding and abundance such climate change as well as our mental health. There are books out there about the benefits of minimalism, but this book is something different and totally unique. As I read it, I just kept saying to myself, “How have I never noticed this?!” So, get this book, and change the way you tackle problems.

6 people found this helpful

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Interesting concept. Book is Way too long for what really needs to be explained

For a book about subtracting, there is really very little subtracting in it. Book should be 1/5 of the length.
The concept is very interesting but the author rumbles for way to long about random, finger picked irrelevant stories/examples to support his thesis (80% of examples are useless)

6 people found this helpful

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Transformational!!!

The power of less, of substraction and stop doings. This is a great tool to add to your toolbox, and help you eliminate some of the other clutter!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ex
  • 03-29-22

fine, but just fine

not a lot there beyond some examples of subtraction. no real actionable advice beyond the message you get from the title.

1 person found this helpful

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The idea in this book is very repetitive and borin

I did not like the book. The idea of subtracting was interesting enough to peak my interest, but the delivery and stories in the book just didn't do it for me. It's a very slow and boring book.

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Too much

I really like the concept, but he could have said everything in 1/4 of the pages. Same information over and over.

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Should have subtracted this from my reading

What started as an interesting idea, with the difference of doing the hard work to subtract vs. just a less-is-more mindset, is unfortunately weakened by the author failing to subtract overt agenda and bias combined with meaningless anecdotes. The subtitle of "the untapped science..." may simply just mean the author failed to tap into a more reasoned (scientific) approach. Not faulting the author for having a bias and agenda... but the book "adds" anecdote to support a cause, rather than subtract unnecessary politics to make an otherwise interesting idea. If the principle stands on its own, then the reader should be able to apply it to their own agenda

1 person found this helpful

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Leidy should have subtracted about half the book

First third was good second third was a rant on climate change and the last third was a recap of the first two. Wish I had ended the book early.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Martin Livingstone
  • 04-14-22

Oh the irony!

The author should’ve practiced what he preached. A simple enough idea spun out into an overly long and pretty boring audio book. Best kept as a scientific paper - I don’t think the material is interesting enough to be an audio book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • C. Edmunds
  • 03-29-22

Tough to get through

The research is interesting but unfortunately the author constantly refers to his son which was fine at the start but gets annoying very quickly. Finally, the Dr Seuss chapter was horrendous to get through and a completely pointless/distracting way to talk about the environment.