Laws, Rules, Reminders, Principles, Dilemmas,Pitfalls,
Asioms, Maxims, Laments, Conundrums, Constants, Theorems, Postulates, Phenomenas,
Discoveries, Queries, Commentaries, Factors, Observations, Precepts, Dictums,
A bad worker quarrels with the man who calls him that.
A bird in the hand is worth what it will bring.
A boor is a person who talks when you wish him to listen.
A budget is just a method of worrying before you spend money, as well as
afterward. Budgetary Reminder
A clean tie attracts the soup of the day. Diner’s Dilemma
A column about errors will contain errors. Law of Journalism
A committee can make a decision that is dumber than any of its members.
A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as twenty men working twenty
A liar should have a good memory.
A little ignorance can go a long way.
A little inaccuracy can save a lot of explanation. Teaching Principle
A malfunctioning car will stop displaying symptoms of imminent breakdown when
driven to within one mile of a garage.
A man with a watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.
A negotiation shall be considered successful if all parties walk away feeling
screwed. Law of Negotiation
A penny saved is a penny to squander.
A sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows keener with constant use.
A show-off is any child who is more talented than yours.
A simple story, however inaccurate or misleading, is preferred to a complicated
explanation, however true.
A single fact can spoil a good argument. Weber’s Maxim
A work project expands to fill the space available. Einstein Extension of
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.
The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes.
Acquisition of knowledge from experience is an exception.
The act of measurement affects whatever is being measured so that reality can
never be apprehended precisely.
Actions speak louder than words.
After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch.
Age is something that doesn’t matter unless you are a cheese. Conrad Black’s
All great discoveries are made by mistake. Young’s Law
All inanimate objects can move just enough to get in your way.
Young’s Law of
All is fair in love and war.
All the good ones are taken. Harris’s Lament
All things which can occur do occur.
All women marry beneath them.
All’s well that ends.
Almost anything is easier to get into than to get out of.
Always be introduced by someone you’ve appointed to high office.
Always do exactly what your boss would do if he knew what he was talking about.
The amount of expertise varies in inverse proportion to the number of statements
understood by the general public.
An alcoholic is a person who drinks more than his own physician.
An exception granted becomes a right expected the next time it is requested.
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.
An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.
An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.
An object will fall so as to do the most damage. Law of Selective Gravity
An optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds. A pessimist fears this is true. Cardinal Conundrum
Any argument worth making in a bureaucracy must be capable of being expressed in
a simple declarative sentence that is obviously true once stated.
Any swing improvement will only last three holes. Schellenberg’s Law of Golf
Any task worth doing was worth doing yesterday.
Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner. Anthony’s Law of the Workshop
Anybody can win, unless there happens to be a second entry.
Anyone can admit to themselves that they were wrong. The true test is admitting
it to someone else. Friml’s Law
Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be
doing. Benchley’s Productivity Principle
Anyone who says four times he isn’t going to resign definitely will.
Law of Politics
Anything adjustable will eventually need adjustment.
Anything good is either immoral, illegal, or fattening.
Appealingness is inversely proportional to attainability.
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to
As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of demand.
As soon as you dispose of a book – even one that has gathered dust for years – a pressing need to refer to it will arise
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last
until the coffee is cold. Owen’s Law
As soon as you’re doing what you wanted to be doing, you want to be doing
something else. Law of Living
As the economy gets better, everything gets worse.
Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups. Wethern’s Law of Suspended Judgment
At any event, the people whose seats are farthest from the aisle arrive last. Breda’s Rule
Avoid any action with an unacceptable outcome.
Be careful - you might get what you ask for. Molstad’s Law
(1) Be cautious, careful, and when in doubt, keep your mouth shut; (2) When
tempted to say something, take a deep breath and refer to Rule (1).
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Beggars must be no choosers.
Behind every great fortune, there is a crime. De Balzak’s Axiom
Being frustrated is disagreeable, but the real disasters of life begin when you
get what you want.
The best defence against logic is ignorance. McLean’s Rule
Better late than before anybody has invited you.
Beware of a day in which you don’t have something to bitch about.
The bigger they come, the harder they fall.
The box containing the most valuable delicate object will be the one dropped.
Murphy’s Law for Movers
Brevity is the soul of wit.
Business contracts, money you are due and love letters always arrive 3 weeks
late... Junk mail arrives the day it was sent. Murphy’s Law of Postal Delivery
By a small sample we may judge of the whole piece.
Calamaties are of two kinds: (1) misfortunes to ourselves, and (2) good fortune
The candidate who takes the credit for the rain gets the blame for the drought.
Changes in new models should be so attractive as to create dissatisfaction with
past models. Sloan’s Law
Chicken Little only has to be right once. Law of Forecasting
The child that divides gets last pick.
Circumstances rule men; men do not rule circumstances.
Claim victory and retreat.
Cleanliness is next to impossible. Law of the Kitchen
The closest you can get to your youth is to start repeating your follies.
Complex systems tend to oppose their own proper function.
Computers are not intelligent. They only think they are.
Computers make very fast, very accurate mistakes.
Conceal a flaw and the world will imagine the worst.
Consistency is always easier to defend than correctness.
The cost for framing exceeds the cost of the art. Decorative Artwork Principle
The crazier the theory, the more likely it is to be correct.
Credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea occurs.
The cussedness of inanimate objects is beyond understanding.
Cut it large and kick it into place. Basic Law of Construction
The degree to which you overreact to information will be in inverse proportion
to its accuracy. Weatherwax’s Postulate
Delay is preferable to error.
Delay is the deadliest form of denial. Parkinson’s Law of Delay
The desire for racial integration increases with the square of the distance from
the actual event.
Do not assume more causes for any phenomenon than are absolutely necessary to
Do someone a favour and it becomes your job. Pinto’s Law
Don’t believe everything you hear or anything you say.
Don’t force it – get a larger hammer.
Don’t get mad – get even. Kennedy Constant
Don’t worry about avoiding temptation – as you grow older, it starts avoiding
Don’t worry over what other people are thinking about you. They’re too busy
worrying over what you are thinking about them.
Earth and earthlings are not at the center of the universe.
The easier it is to do, the harder it is to change.
Eats first, morals after.
The effectiveness of a telephone conversation is in inverse proportion to the time spent on it.
The efforts which we make to escape our destiny only serve to lead us into it.
Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Eliminate all other factors, and the one that remains will be the truth.
The end must justify the means.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
Every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.
Every man loves what he is good at.
Everybody lies, but it doesn’t matter since nobody listens.
Everything falls apart on the same day.
Evil and stupidity are randomly distributed.
Expenditure rises to meet income.
Experience is what causes you to make new mistakes instead of old ones.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
Fear Greeks even when they bring gifts.
The first casualty when war comes is truth.
The first elevator that arrives will be headed in the wrong direction.
The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity.
The first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise… and cultivate the delightfully vague.
The first 90 percent of the tasks take 10 percent of the time and the other 10
percent takes the other 90 percent. Project Schedule Law
The first pet you treat in the morning will pee on your pants.
The first requisite of intelligent tinkering is to save all the pieces.
Five is a sufficiently close approximation to infinity.
The follies which a man regrets most in his life are those which he didn’t
commit when he had the opportunity.
Following the path of least resistance is what makes men and rivers crooked.
Forgive and remember.
The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
Free time that unexpectedly becomes available will be wasted.
Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
From the sublime to the ridiculous there is only one step.
The further away the future is, the better it looks.
The game isn’t over until it’s over.
General notions are generally wrong.
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
The gifts you buy your wife are never as apropos as the gifts your neighbour buys his wife. Murphy’s Second Law for Husbands
Good judgement comes from bad experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.
Good laws lead to the making of better ones; bad ones bring about worse.
Grandchildren grow more quickly than children. Defries’s Law of Relativity
The grapefruit juice will always hit you in the eye.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between
one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long
words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.
The greater the funding the longer it takes to make the mistake.
The greater the ignorance, the greater the dogmatism.
The greater the wealth, the thicker will be the dirt.
The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.
The guy you beat out of a prime parking space is the one you have to see for a job interview.
Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
He laughs best who laughs last.
He listens well who takes notes.
He who hesitates is lost.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
The higher a monkey climbs, the more you can see of its ass.
The higher the vote any government wins in an election, the more tyrannical it is.
History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.
Housework expands to fill the time available plus half an hour.
Human beings are like tea bags: you don’t know your own strength until you get into hot water.
“I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl as long as he’s healthy.”
Men’s Law On
I think, therefore I am.
Idle hands make mischief.
If a child looks like his father, that’s heredity. If he looks like a neighbour,
that’s environment. Rule of Genetics
If a dog jumps into your lap, it is because he is fond of you; if a cat does the
same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.
If a husband speaks deep in the forest and his wife isn’t there to hear him, is
he still wrong? William’s Query
If a job does not go wrong, then (1) it will have to be undone; (2) it will have
to be redone; or (3) it was the wrong job in the first place.
If a man is in his health, he doesn’t need to take anyone else’s temperature to
know where he is going.
If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap
than his neighbour, though he build his joe-ks in the woods, the world will make
a beaten path to his door.
If a piece of buttered toast falls, it will land facedown on the carpet.
Corollary to Law of Selective Gravity
If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.
If an experiment works, something has gone wrong. Finagle’s First Law
If anything can go wrong, it will. Murphy’s Law
If anything can go wrong, it will do so in triplicate. Murphy’s Law of
If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first
woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
If credit can possibly go to someone else, it will. JJ’s Dictum
If enough data is collected, anything may be proven by statistical methods.
If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
If it looks easy, it’s tough. If it looks tough, it’s damn well impossible.
(1) If it should exist, it doesn’t; (2) If it does exist, it’s out-of-date; (3)
Only useless documentation transcends the first two laws.
Laws of Documentation
If it works, it’s out-of-date.
If it’s good, they’ll stop making it.
If only two cars are left in a parking lot, one will be blocking the other.
If several things that could have gone wrong have not gone wrong, it would have
been ultimately beneficial for them to have gone wrong.
If something is confidential, it will be left in the copier machine.
If the facts don’t fit the theory, discard the facts.
If the human brain were simple enough for us to understand it, we would be too
simple to understand it.
(1) If the weather is extremely bad, Church attendance will be down; (2) If the
weather is extremely good, Church attendance will be down; (3) If the bulletins
are in short supply, Church attendance will exceed all expectations.
Reverend Chichester’s Laws
If there are two competing and incompatible technologies on the market, the
inferior technology will prevail. Betamax Principle
If there is anything disagreeable going on, men are sure to get out of it.
If there isn’t a law, there will be.
If this were a logical word, men would ride sidesaddle.
If we knew what we were getting into, we would never get into anything.
If you are good, you will be assigned all the work. If you are really good, you
will get out of it.
If you are in a hole, stop digging. Falk’s Rule of Excavation
If you can find something everyone agrees on, it’s wrong.
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, then you just
don’t understand the problem.
If you can’t explain what you’re doing in simple English, you are probably doing
If you can’t recall it, forget it.
If you do something once, people will call it an accident. If you do it twice,
they call it a coincidence. But do it a third time and you’ve just proven a
If you do the job twice, it’s yours.
If you don’t buy it when you first see it, it won’t be there when you come back.
Law of Bargain Shopping
If you don’t care where you are, you’re not lost. Rule of the Road
If you don’t do anything, you can’t do anything wrong. Bryson’s Law
If you don’t need it and don’t want it, there is always plenty of it.
Law of Supply
If you don’t throw it, they can’t hit it.
If you don’t want your children to hear what you are saying, pretend that you
are talking to them. Rule of Parenting
If you find something you like, buy a lifetime supply because they will stop
If you give Congress a chance to vote on both sides of an issue, it will always
(1) If you have a joe-ks.com pen, there’s no paper; (2) If you have paper,
there’s no joe-ks.com pen; (3) If you have both, there’s no message.
Law of Phone Phenomena
If you have enough meetings over a long enough period of time, the meetings
become more important than the problem the meetings were intended to solve.
If you have the facts on your side, hammer the facts. If you have the law on
your side, hammer the law. If you have neither the facts nor the law, hammer the
table. Politician Laws
If you have the time, you won’t have the money. If you have the money, you won’t
have the time.
If you have watched a TV series only once, and you watch it again, it will be a
rerun of the same episode. Law of Reruns
If you hit two keys on the keyboard, the one you don’t want shows up in the
document. Defries’ Dilemma
If you knew what you were doing, you’d probably be bored.
If you know the answer, then you don’t know the question.
If you make enough predictions, a few are bound to be correct. The hits are
likely to be remembered, the misses forgotten, and you will win fame and
possibly fortune as a forecaster of the future.
If you see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s the light of the oncoming
If you steal from one author it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many it’s
If you talk to God you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the
next morning you will have a flat tire. Cannon’s Karmic Law
If you try hard enough, you can always manage to boot yourself in the posterior.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.
Important things that are supposed to happen do not happen, especially when
people are looking.
In a key position in every genealogy you will find a John Smith from New York.
In any human enterprise, work seeks the lowest hierarchical level.
In Canada, it’s not how much an item costs, it’s how much you save.
In complex systems, there is no relationship between information gathered and
In crises that force people to choose among alternative courses of action, most
people will choose the worst one possible.
In designing any type of construction, no overall dimension can be totalled
correctly after 4:00 P.M. on Friday. Law of the Lost Inch
In every office there will always be one person who knows what is going on. This person must be fired.
In matters of dispute, the bank’s balance is always smaller than yours.
Checks and Balances
In order to win 24 games, you have to win 18. Law of Baseball
In specifications, Murphy’s Law supersedes Ohm’s Law. Klipstein’s Law of
In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Inanimate objects are divided scientifically into three major categories: (1)
those that don’t work; (2) those that break down; and (3) those that get lost.
The incidence of anything worthwhile is either 15-25 percent or 80-90 percent.
Rule of Percentages
Insanity is hereditary - you get it from your kids. Law of Heredity
The inside contact that you have developed at great expense is the first person
to be let go in any reorganization. Joe’s Law
It doesn’t matter if you win or lose – until you lose. O.J.’s Law
The item you had your eye on the minute you walked in will be taken by the
person in front of you. Cafeteria Law
It’s a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.
It’s a simple task to make a subject complex, but a complex task to make it
It is always darkest just before the day dawneth.
It’s amazing how long it takes to complete something you are not working on.
McGee’s First Law
It’s amazing how nice people are to you when they know you’re going away.
It’s better to be tried by twelve men than to be carried by six.
It is better to know nothing than to half-know many things.
It’s difficult to soar with eagles when you work with turkeys.
It’s easier to give up good habits than bad ones. Maugham’s Observation
It’s easy to see the bright side of other couples’ problems.
It’s impossible for anyone to learn that which he thinks he already knows.
It’s not a party until something gets broken.
It’s not enough to succeed. Others must fail.
It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you place the blame.
It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is
composed of others.
It takes a wise man to recognize a wise man.
It takes no time at all to break a test instrument, but it takes forever to have
it repaired. Corollary to Murphy’s Asymmetry Principle
It works better if you plug it in.
Just because you’re bored doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing.
Just when you get really good at something, you don’t need it anymore.
The last sheet of gift wrap will be six inches smaller than the last gift to wrap.
Laws are like cobwebs which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.
The length of a progress report is inversely proportional to the amount of progress.
The length of a meeting rises with the square of the number of people present, and the productiveness of the meeting falls with the square of the number of people present.
Less is more.
The less teeth the women have, the better the bar.
The less you enjoy serving on committees, the more likely you are to be pressed to do so. Laws of Committee Dynamics
Life is too short to stuff a mushroom.
Life is unfair.
Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way round. Lodge’s Law of Life
Living in the past has one thing in its favour - it’s cheaper.
The location of all objects cannot be known simultaneously.
The longer the title, the less important the job.
The longer you wait in line, the greater the likelihood that you are standing in
the wrong line. Queue Principle
Look around the table. If you don’t see a sucker, get up, because you’re the
The lost sock reappears only after its match has been discarded.
Law of Laundry
Love is blind.
Luck is the residue of design.
Man is always ready to die for an idea, provided that the idea is not quite
clear to him. Bush’s Law of War
Man is what he eats.
The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame it on.
Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick
himself up and continue on. Churchill’s Commentary on Man
Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up.
Marriage teaches you loyalty, forbearance, self-restraint, meekness, and a great many other things you wouldn’t need if you had stayed single.
The meanest and biggest get to make all the rules.
Men and nations will act rationally when all other possibilities have been exhausted.
Men fall from great fortune because of the same shortcomings that led to their rise.
Money is like manure – it’s meant to be spread around.
Money isn’t everything as long as you have enough.
The more efficiently a project is done, the greater the chance it will have to
The more food you prepare, the less your guests eat.
The more noise a man or a motor makes, the less power there is available.
The more underdeveloped the country, the more overdeveloped the women.
The most delicate component will be dropped.
The most flattering comments on your hair come the day before you’re scheduled to have it cut.
The most persistent callers have the least important business.
Law of Business Calls
The most valuable quotation will be the one for which you cannot determine the source.
The most vital dimension on any plan or drawing stands the greatest chance of being omitted. Universal Law for Naïve Engineers
Murphy is overly optimistic. O’Brien’s Corollary
Murphy’s Law always hits at the worst time. Joe-kster’s Law
Natural laws have no pity.
Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows. Farber’s Law
Necessity knows no law.
(1) Negative expectations yield negative results; (2) Positive expectations
yield negative results. Nonreciprocal Laws of Expectations
Never complain and never explain.
Never have children, only grandchildren. Vidal’s Advice
Never hurry and never worry!
Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting.
Never judge a man by the opinion his wife has of him. Rod’s Law
Never let an inanimate object know that you are in a hurry.
Never let the facts get in the way of a carefully thought-out bad decision.
Marshall’s First Law of the Legislature
Never make a major policy change based on a close vote.
Rule of Law
Never mistake endurance for hospitality. Guest Rule
Never murder a man who is committing suicide.
Never replicate a successful experiment. Fett’s Law of the Lab
Never say, “I’m new at this” to a patient. First Rule for Interns
Never say “Wow” with food in your mouth.
Never step in anything soft. Pulliam’s Postulate
(1) Never tell everything you know. Two Rules for Ultimate Success in Life
Never throw away anything unless you know what it came from.
Never try to crawl through a hole smaller than your head.
Law of Spelunking
Nice guys finish last... but as the Bible says, the first shall be last.
Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time.
Ninety percent of everything is crud. Sturgeon’s Law
Ninety percent of our lawyers serve 10 percent of our people.
Ninety percent of the fish are caught by 10 percent of the fishermen.
Ninety-eight percent of all statistics are made up. First Rule of Applied
No boss will keep an employee who is right all the time.
Pitfalls of Genius
No employer can leave well enough alone. Lofta’s Lament for Workers
No experiment is ever a complete failure - it can always serve as a negative
example. Futility Factor
No good deed ever goes unpunished.
No man ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
No man is a hero to his valet.
No matter how low you bid the job there is always an idiot out there willing to
do it for less. Law of Self-Employment
No matter how many good tables are free, you will always be given the worst
No matter how much you honour your parents as an adult, it will not make up for
your behaviour as a child. Lesser’s Law
No matter how often a lie is shown to be false, there will remain a percentage
of people who believe it to be true. Law of the Lie
No matter what goes wrong, it will probably look right.
No matter what goes wrong, there is always somebody who knew it would.
No matter what the anticipated result, there will always be someone eager to (1)
misinterpret it; (2) fake it; or (3) believe it happened to his/her own pet
theory. Finagle’s Second Law
No matter what you search for on google.com, at least one porn site will match
your criteria. Law of the Internet
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
No one gets too old to learn a new way of being stupid.
No one is listening until you make a mistake. Law for Educators
No person’s life, freedom, or property are safe while the legislature is in
session. Jacquin’s Postulate on Democratic Government
No problem is so formidable that you can’t just walk away from it.
No two identical parts are alike.
No written law has ever been more binding than unwritten custom supported by
Nobody notices when things go right.
Nobody notices your biggest errors.
Nostalgia is the realization that things weren’t as unbearable as they seemed at
Nothing ever goes away. Commoner’s Law of Ecology
Nothing exists except atoms and empty space. Everything else is opinion.
Nothing in the known universe travels faster than a bad cheque.
Nothing is as permanent as that which is called temporary.
Corollary to Jose’s
Nothing is as temporary as that which is called permanent.
Nothing is ever as simple as it first seems.
Nothing is ever done for the right reasons. O’Brien’s Law
Nothing is illegal if a hundred businessmen decide to do it.
Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.
Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known.
Nothing is so useless as a general maxim.
Nothing succeeds like success.
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological
phenomenon is inversely proportional to available knowledge.
The number of errors in any piece of writing is directly proportional to the
amount of reliance on secondary sources.
Of that which nothing is known, nothing can be said.
Official dignity tends to increase in inverse ratio to the importance of the
country in which the office is held.
Old age is no place for sissies.
Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it makes it worse.
Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s going to be very tough to get it
Once you give up integrity, the rest is easy. Kroeker’s Law
Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can.
One child is not enough, but two children are far too many.
The one course you must take to graduate will not be offered during your last
One day you’re a peacock, the next day you’re a featherduster.
The one file you don’t scan for viruses will be the one with the worst virus.
One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never
have to stop and answer the phone. Robbins’s Rule
One is tolerant only of that which does not concern him.
One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory. Brown’s Rule
One should forgive one’s enemies, but not before they are hanged.
The one time in the day that you lean back and relax is the one time the boss
walks through the office. Theory of Selective Supervision
The one who does the least work will get the most credit.
Shapiro’s Law of
Only a bureaucracy can fight a bureaucracy. Bureaucracy Principle
Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
The only changes that are easily adopted are changes for the worse.
Law of Committee Procedure
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good to do nothing.
The only thing that saves us from bureaucracy is its inefficiency.
The only things that start on time are those that you’re late for.
The only time the world beats a path to your door is when you are in the
bathroom. Law of Opportunity
The only time to be positive is when you are positive you are wrong.
The only way to make something foolproof is to keep it away from fools.
Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.
The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist
The opulence of the front-office décor varies inversely with the fundamental
solvency of the firm. Law of Institutions
The organization of any bureaucracy is very much like a septic tank. The really
big chunks always rise to the top.
The other line moves faster. Etorre’s Observations
The outdoor Christmas lights that tested perfectly develop burnouts as soon as
they are strung on the house. Law of Christmas Decorating
People who always hanker for a golden yesteryear the loudest usually drive the
People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either one being made. Sausage Principle
People will accept any bad news if the magnitude of the disaster is revealed gradually. Oil Spill Principle
People will accept your idea much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first.
The person who knows “how” will always have a job; the person who knows “why” will always be his boss.
The person with the least expertise has the most opinions.
The person you’re trying to impress will be the one to get the chipped coffee cup.
Pessimism extends to the point of even suspecting the sincerity of other pessimists.
The pimples don’t appear until the hour before the date.
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.
Possession diminishes perception of value, immediately.
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Pretty is what works.
The price of a stock moves inversely to the number of shares purchased.
Theory of the Stock Market
The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone
you don’t want to be seen with. Ruby’s Principle of Close Encounters
Procrastination is the thief of time.
The product that sets a de facto standard will dominate the marketplace whether or not it is the best one technologically.
Progress is made on alternate Fridays.
Progress may have been all right once, but it went on too long.
Pure drivel tends to drive ordinary drivel off the TV screen.
The quality of food in a restaurant is inversely proportional to the number of signed celebrity photographs on the walls.
The quickest way to find something is to start looking for something else.
The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong – but that’s the way to bet.
The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.
Reality is whatever you can get away with.
Regardless of the product you are looking for, someone else’s shopping cart will be in front of it. Grocery Store Principle
Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they’re blind.
The results a person obtains are inversely proportional to the degree to which the person is intimidated.
Return on investment equals loss due to inflation plus taxes… which equals zero.
The rich get rich and the poor get poorer.
Rich or poor, the government will get your money.
The ripest peach is highest on the tree.
Save all the parts. Tinker’s Law
Sculpture is what you bump into when you back up to look at a painting.
Schmidt’s Guide to Art
Second-rate people hire third-rate people.
The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.
Law of Success
Seek simplicity, and distrust it. Whitehead’s Rule
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.
Zadra’s Law of Biomechanics
Shirts that come with extra buttons never lose buttons.
Spare Button Principle
(1) Shit falls; (2) Paydays are on Fridays. Laws of Plumbing
The shorter the life of the particle, the greater it costs to produce.
of Particle Physics
The shortest distance between two points is under construction.
Silence gives consent.
Silence is one of the hardest things to refute.
The simple act of studying the performance of workers or students will cause their productivity or test scores to improve.
The simpler the instructions, the more difficult it will be to open the package.
Second Law of Kitchen Confusion
The smaller the ball used in a sport, the better the book.
The smaller the company, the less a chief executive’s compensation is related to the company’s performance or size.
The solution to a problem changes the nature of the problem.
Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.
Some people in the world are important. All the rest wish they were.
Some people never learn to be good. One quarter of us is good. Three quarters is bad. That’s a tough fight, three against one.
Something happens to a man when he puts on a necktie. It cuts off all the oxygen to his brain.
Sometimes it takes several years to recognize the obvious.
Sow your wild oats on Saturday night, then pray for crop failure on Sunday.
Spare the rod and spoil the child.
Speak softly and carry a big stick – you will go far.
The speed of an oncoming vehicle is directly proportional to the length of the passing zone. Reece’s Law
Supply creates its own demand.
Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he’ll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he’ll have to touch it to be sure. Murphy’s Law
The tallest person in the audience will sit down in front of you only after it is too late for you to find another seat. Yellin’s Theater Law
The teacher is never absent on the day of the exam. Student’s Law of Exams
Teamwork is essential. It allows you to blame someone else.
Teamwork is wasting half of one’s time explaining to others why they are wrong.
The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates
how difficult it was. Hampton’s Homile
There are more horses’ asses in this world than there are horses.
There are no answers, only cross-references. Weiner’s Law of Libraries
There are no gains without pains.
There are two tragedies in life: One is not get your heart’s desire. The other is to get it.
There’s a sucker born every minute.
There is ample parking everywhere except where you want to park.
There is more law in the end of a policeman’s nightclub than in a decision of the Supreme Court.
There is no difference between a wise man and a fool when they fall in love.
There is no heavier burden than a great potential.
There is no issue so small that it can’t be blown out of proportion.
There is no right way to say the wrong thing. Law of Dating
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
There is no such thing as enough money.
There is only one first time. Connor’s Law
There’s no sense in being precise when you don’t know what you’re talking about.
There’s no time like the present for postponing what you don’t want to do.
There’s small choice in rotten apples.
Things are only worth what you make them worth.
Things get worse under pressure. Murphy’s Law of Thermodynamics
Things go right now so they can go wrong later.
Things go wrong all at once, but things right gradually.
Thinly sliced cabbage. Cole’s Law
Those to whom everybody allows the second place, have an undoubted title to the first.
Those who are the most moral are farthest from the problem.
Those who are unable to learn from past meetings are condemned to repeat them.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Those who rise to executive positions lack the qualifications for anything lower.
Threats without power are like powder without ball.
Time heals all wounds.
The time it takes to rectify a situation is inversely proportional to the time it took to do the damage.
The time spent on any item of the meeting agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.
To get along, go along.
To make a living, craftiness is better than learnedness.
To make an enemy, do someone a favour.
To realize the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.
To spot the doctor, pick the one who still has his appendix and tonsils.
(1) To succeed, it is often necessary to rise above your principles; (2) the best way to succeed is to find a crowd that’s going somewhere and get in front
of them. Brown’s Rules of Leadership
To turn $100 into $110 is work. To turn $100 million into $110 million is inevitable.
Traditions are solutions for which we have forgotten the problems.
Trust everybody, but cut the cards yourself.
Trust yourself – you know more than you think you do.
Two things a man cannot hide: (1) that he is drunk; and (2) that he is in love.
Two wrongs are only the beginning. Corollary to Murphy’s Law
Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make a good excuse.
Typos are not noticed until after the “Send” button has been hit.
Law of E-mail
Unexpected monetary gains will always be offset by unexpected expenses in the same amount. First Law of Money Dynamics
Use it or lose it.
The usefulness of any meeting is inversely proportional to the size of the group.
Variables won’t; constants aren’t. Osborn’s Law
Virtue is insufficient temptation. Shaw’s Maxim
Virtue is it’s own punishment.
The volume of paper expands to fill the available briefcases.
War is nothing more than the continuation of politics by other means.
Washing machines only break down during the wash cycle.
We all have the strength to endure the misfortune of others. La Rochefoucauld’s
We have met the enemy and it is us.
We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over.
We only do well the things we love doing.
Wear the right costume and the part plays itself.
What is actually happening is often less important than what appears to be happening.
What really matters is the name that you are able to impose upon the facts – not
the facts themselves.
What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.
What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens.
What we learn after we know it all is what counts. Groya’s Law
Whatever creates the greatest inconvenience for the largest number of people tends to happen.
Whatever isn’t forbidden is required.
Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be half as good.
Luckily, this is not difficult. Whitton’s Law of the Sexes
The wheel that squeaks the loudest is the one that gets the grease.
When a body is immersed in water, the telephone rings. Bell’s Theorem
When a dog bites a man, that is not news because it happens so often. But if a
man bites a dog, that is news.
When a man opens the car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.
Prince Philip’s Rule
When a man’s wife learns to understand him, she usually stops listening to him.
When a person with experience meets a person with money, the person with
experience will get the money… and the person with the money will get some experience.
When a politician gets an idea, he usually gets it wrong.
Fifth Rule of Politics
When all else fails, try the boss’s suggestion. Nettleton’s Law
When all else fails, try your wife’s suggestion.
When in charge, ponder; when in trouble, delegate; when in doubt, mumble.
When in doubt, take the trick. Hoyle’s Rule
When moving a pregnant cat, pick up the cat and let her take care of the kittens. Young’s Rule of Delegation
When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
When putting it into memory, remember where you put it.
When somebody drops something, everybody will kick it around instead of picking it up. Law of the Office
When somebody you greatly admire and respect appears to be thinking deep
thoughts, he or she is probably thinking about lunch. Rule of the Great
When stupidity is a sufficient explanation, there is no need to have recourse to any other.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
When the market is stable, it is a good time to buy, but when it is going up, buy quickly to catch the rising tide. When the market is going down, however, it is a good time to buy as it will soon turn up. When it has been going down for some time, it must be at the bottom and can only go up, so BUY, BUY, BUY. Bye-bye! Broker Law
When the water reaches the upper deck, follow the rats.
When there is a choice of two evils, most men take both.
When working on a project, if you put away a tool that you’re certain you’re
finished with, you will need it instantly. Law of Annoyance
When you are served a meal aboard an aircraft, the aircraft will encounter
When you dial a wrong number, you never get an engaged one. Kovac’s Conundrum
When you drop change at a vending machine, the pennies will fall nearby while the other coins will roll out of sight. Rush’s Rule of Gravity
When you need towns, they are very far apart.
When you stand up to be counted, someone will take your seat.
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will. Willoughby’s Law
When you’re starting to have a good time, you’re supposed to be someplace else.
Whenever we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
Where there’s a will, there’s a lawsuit. Lawyer’s Maxim
Where there’s a will, there’s a won’t. Law of Inertia
Wherever you park, your seats will be on the other side of the stadium.
Gilbert’s Law of Sports
Whether a pretty woman grants or withholds her favours, she always likes to be asked for them.
Whichever way you turn upon entering an elevator, the buttons will be on the opposite side. Gluck’s Law
White lies always introduce others of a darker complexion.
The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising.
Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.
Wise is the man who goes to the Caribbean after the first snow for he shall escape the ravages of dipsomania, self-pity, and misanthropy - and his shoes shall not be ruined.
Women and elephants never forget an injury.
Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
(1) You ain’t never the same when the air hits your brain; (2) The only minor operation is one that someone else is doing; (3) If the patient isn’t dead, you can always make him worse if you try hard enough; (4) One look at the patient is better than a thousand phone calls from the nurse; (5) Operating on the wrong patient or doing the wrong side of the body makes for a very bad day.
You always find something in the last place you look. Boob’s Law
You can get a lot more done with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word
alone. Capone’s Law
You never find an article you have lost until you replace it.
You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.
You can always find what you’re not looking for.
You can only be young once, but you can be immature forever.
You can’t fall off the floor.
(1) You can’t fix it if it ain’t broke; (2) That which is attached with only two
bolts is directly behind something attached with eight.
Law of Automotive Repair
You can’t guard against the arbitrary.
You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.
You can’t make a souffle rise twice.
You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Stalin’s Law
You can’t recover from a problem you don’t have. Law of Recovery
You can’t win. You can’t break even. You can’t even quit the game.
You can’t win them all.
You have taken yourself too seriously. The Fifth Rule
You know that children are growing up when they start asking questions that have
answers. Plomp’s Law
You never begin your summer romance until the last day of summer.
You never know how soon it is too late. Murphy’s Time/Action Quandary
You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive. Charnock’s Law
You remember you have to mail a letter only when you’re near the mailbox.
You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.
You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on. Dan’s Law
Aptonyms & Aptronyms,
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No way Ole!
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