There is a Persian proverb ("One habitable village is better than one hundred desolated towns") which emphasizes that a limited and small-scale but working thing (e.g. a solution or an achievement) is much better than several ones that do not work or could not be leveraged.

Is there any equivalent proverb/idiom for that in English?

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    Something like "perfect is the enemy of good" ? Or "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" ? Jul 16 '19 at 12:27
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    @stolenmoment I think your second suggestion should be given as an answer. You'll easily be able to add a reference or two. Jul 16 '19 at 13:04
  • @stolenmoment, Your second suggestion can be accepted as the answer.
    – Eilia
    Jul 18 '19 at 13:41

This sounds like A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, indicating that actual success is preferred over a possible future gain.

Example Sentence: If you invest this money you might make a fortune; but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.


I think there are a couple of proverbs that might get near the sense of what you're going for:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Leave something alone; avoid attempting to correct, fix, or improve what is already sufficient (often with an implication that the attempted improvement is risky and might backfire).

I know it’s an ugly-looking antenna, but you know what they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Also, in computer science, we have the phrase, “premature optimization is the root of all evil”, from Donald Knuth's seminal Art of Computer Programming.

Also, not a proverb, but the concept of the minimum viable product might be helpful. From Wikipedia:

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.

  • Also from computing the KISS acronym (Keep It Simple, Safe) has a similar connotation. The older and more general version is 'don't gild the lily'.
    – BoldBen
    Jul 27 '19 at 9:22

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