What’s the least I can do?

What’s the least I can do? The title of this post isn’t intended as a call to down arms and embrace laziness (but if you choose to interpret it as such, I salute you). What I want to look at here is achieving maximum effect from minimum effort.

To quote Rick Rubin:

“There’s a tremendous power in using the least amount of information to get a point across.”

How can you paint your picture with the fewest strokes?

What are the fewest words needed to make your point?

Best single sentence
This is the best single sentence I’ve read this week:

“What’s the least I can do to make a positive change?”

These words come from Doug Shaw’s post on the Beyond HR session that he and Neil Morrison delivered at the April 2014 #LASHRM14 conference in Louisiana. I love the way Doug and Neil celebrate collaboration and the value of "relentless small change” here.

Saddest single sentence
This is perhaps the saddest single sentence I’ve read this week:

“After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health.”

To non-AC/DC fans: Angus Young is the one you’re probably thinking of here – the somewhat hyperactive gentleman in the spotlight wearing the schoolboy outfit and playing the octopus-fingered guitar solos. Malcolm Young is his older brother, who was (heartbreaking not to type “is”) to be found in the shadows by the drumkit in front of the backline speakers. To borrow a lovely phrase from the magical film Almost Famous, he is “one of the out-of-focus guys.”

Malcolm Young is (I can say “is” there) quite probably the greatest rhythm guitarist there has ever been.

Malcolm Young is a Zen master of doing the least to make a positive change.

It is Malcolm that is doing most of the work in creating the riffs that are the core of the AC/DC sound. But how much work is he doing to do this?

Magical eight seconds
Even if the ‘DC aren’t your cup of tea, please indulge me for a moment here.

Regard the opening eight seconds of Highway To Hell (I’ve picked this one as surely pretty much everyone’s heard it, yes?). These eight seconds of unaccompanied guitar are a perfect example of achieving maximum effect from minimum effort.



Hearing those eight seconds is enough to effect a very positive change of mood for me. I sincerely hope it does so for you, too.

What is the least you can do?

What is the least you can do to make a positive change?

It’s all about the A’s:


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