I'm sure I have heard a quote in the past from someone famous (maybe Einstein? maybe not) about how it is easy to make something complicated but extremely difficult to make something simple.

Is there a well-known quote about this?


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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius --- and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." http://www.alberteinsteinsite.com/quotes/einsteinquotes.html


There is the well-known (by writers) quotation:

I'm sorry this letter is so long. I didn't have time to make it shorter.

This is attributed to many people including (of course) Mark Twain. The original may have been Pascal's:

I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.

And when Woodrow Wilson was asked how much time it took to prepare a speech, he said:

That depends on the length of the speech,” answered the President. “If it is a ten-minute speech it takes me all of two weeks to prepare it; if it is a half-hour speech it takes me a week; if I can talk as long as I want to it requires no preparation at all. I am ready now.

Most of these are on Quote Investigator


I'm sure there are more quotes attributed to Einstein than he could ever have spoken. The only related quote that may fit could well have been his; "Things should be a simple as possible but no simpler." It is a great sentiment whether it is his or not.


“Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible.”

― Alan Kay

Reference for this is in this Quora post by the author himself

  • 1
    Apparently, after Googling for a bit, this was uttered in 2001. Alan Kay–again I had to Google his name–is an American computer scientist.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 30 at 22:39

Some things are so complex they are simple and some things so simple they are complex.

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    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 18:50

Mikhail Kalashnikov. Several google searches as a source.

It's a thousand times harder to make something simple than complicated.

In my personal experience I've always heard it as "it's easier to make something complicated than simple." Anyway, Kalashnikov has SEVERAL quotes that use simplicity as the main point so it's not a stretch to believe that his idea is present even if the translation isn't.

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