“Too Lazy”: Episode 4 with Leidy Klotz

Our Episode 4 guest, Leidy Klotz, is a Professor at the University of Virginia. He studies the science of design: how we transform things from how they are – to how we want them to be. Leidy wants to apply his work outside of academia. He wants address climate change and systemic inequality, Leidy also works directly with organizations including the World Bank.


Leidy has written more than 80 articles and two books. And Today we talk about his new paper (with a group of excellent co-authors) called “People systematically overlook subtractive changes” (1) which I love, and which recently made the cover of Nature.

Below you can check out the YouTube version.

We also talk about his new book, called “Subtract. The Untapped Science of Less” which unfolds some of his ideas on a much larger canvas (2). Leidy is a highly interesting person: Before becoming a professor – as we also discuss on the Pod – Leidy managed the design and construction of large engineering projects and before that he played professional soccer.

I had an amazing time talking about this fantastic work! You can skip around using the timestamps below.

  • [0:00:00] Intro to today’s episode
  • [0:01:42] Podcasts and simplicity
  • [0:04:00] How does one go from pro soccer to academia, teamwork, and more.
  • [0:15:50] The story of noticing *subtraction*
  • [0:21:22] From idea to scientific paper
  • [0:29:30] Can you always subtract?
  • [0:39:30] Subtraction & ressources: life, history, and evolution. [0:48:39] Learning to subtract in a world of plenty
  • [0:55:40] What about “free” addition: Harddrives, storage lockers, supporting materials
  • [0:59:30] What’ next?


The podcast has theme music by Waylon Thornton. Songs are “American Heart” and “Seven”. Via freemusicarchive.org and licenced under CC BY-NC-SA. The podcast was funded in part by the Villum Foundation. Intro waveforms by the VSound App. #


(1) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03380-y

(2) Find it here https://www.leidyklotz.com

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