You've heard of Sod's law, and Murphy's law, but how many of the following are familiar? I've gathered these from various sources over a long period. My particular favourite is the Peter Principle since examples of this can be seen at my workplace every day!
Rule of Accuracy:
When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps if you know the answer.
Acheson's Rule of the Bureaucracy:
A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.
Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
First Law of Advice:
The correct advice to give is the advice that is desired.
Social innovations tend to the level of minimum tolerable well-being.
Allen's (or Cahn's) Axiom
When all else fails, read the instructions.
Anthony's Law of Force:
Don't force it; get a larger hammer.
Anthony's Law of the Workshop:
Any tool, when dropped, will roll into the least accessible corner of the workshop.
Fourth Law of Applied Terror:
The night before the English history mid-term, your biology instructor will assign 200 pages on planaria.
Corollary: Every instructor assumes that you have nothing else to do except study for that instructor's course.
Fifth Law of Applied Terror:
If you are given an open-book exam, you will forget your book.
Corollary: If you are given a take-home exam, you will forget where you live.
The Golden Rule Of Arts And Sciences:
Whoever has the gold makes the rules.
Arthur's Laws of Love:
1. People to whom you are attracted invariably think you remind them of someone else.
2. The love letter you finally got the courage to send will be delayed in the post long enough for you to make a fool of yourself in person.
No books are lost by lending except those you particularly wanted to keep.
Avery's Rule of Three:
Trouble strikes in series of threes, but when working around the house the next job after a series of three is not the fourth job - it's the start of a brand new series of three.
Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" on a ukulele.
Baker's First Law of Federal Geometry:
A block grant is a solid mass of money surrounded on all sides by governors.
An alcoholic is a person who drinks more than his own GP.
If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
The probability of a young man meeting a desirable and receptive young female increases by pyramidal progression when he is already in the company of:
1 - a date,
2 - his wife,
3 - a better looking and richer male friend.
First Law of Bicycling:
No matter which way you ride, it's uphill and against the wind.
If you're feeling good, don't worry. You'll get over it.
Bombeck's Rule of Medicine:
Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.
You always find something in the last place you look.
1. When in charge, ponder.
2. When in trouble, delegate.
3. When in doubt, mumble.
The remaining work to finish in order to reach your goal increases as the deadline approaches.
If an experiment works, you must be using the wrong equipment.
Brady's First Law of Problem Solving:
When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger have handled this?"
No good deed goes unpunished.
Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man.
Calkin's Law of Menu Language:
The number of adjectives and verbs that are added to the description of a menu item is in inverse proportion to the quality of the dish.
Canada Bill Jones's Motto:
It is morally wrong to allow suckers to keep their money.
Canada Bill Jones's Supplement:
A Smith and Wesson beats four aces.
Captain Penny's Law:
You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool Mum.
Nothing is ever a complete failure. It can always serve as a bad example.
Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.
Chism's Law of Completion:
The amount of time required to complete a government project is precisely equal to the length of time already spent on it.
Churchill's Commentary on Man:
Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.
Clarke's Third Law
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
The more time you spend in reporting on what you are doing, the less time you have to do anything. Stability is achieved when you spend all your time reporting on the nothing you are doing.
Colvard's Logical Premises:
All probabilities are 50%. Either a thing will happen or it won't.
Colvard's Unconscionable Commentary:
This is especially true when dealing with someone you're attracted to.
The Law of Communication:
1. The purpose of the communication is to advance the communicator.
2. The information conveyed is less important than the impression.
Law of Continuity
Experiments should be reproducible. They should all fail in the same way.
In any organization, there will always be one person who knows what's going on. This person must be fired.
In any decision situation, the amount of relevant information available is inversely proportional to the importance of the decision.
1. Nobody whom you ask for help will see it.
2. The first person who stops by, whose advice you really don't want to hear, will see it immediately.
An experiment may be considered a success if no more than half of your data must be discarded to obtain correspondence with your theory.
The amount of work done varies inversely with the amount of time spent in the office.
Cutler Webster's Law:
There are two sides to every argument, unless a person is personally involved, in which case there is only one.
Deadline-Dan's Demo Demonstration:
The higher the "higher-ups'' are who've come to see your demo, the lower your chances are of giving a successful one.
The Law of Decision Making:
1. Any decision is better than no decision.
2. A decision is judged by the conviction with which it is uttered.
3. Decisions are justified by the benefits to the organization, but they are made by considering the benefits to the decision-makers.
Virtue is its own punishment.
If you hit two keys on the typewriter, the one you don't want hits the paper.
In a hierarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.
Drew's Law of Highway Entomology:
The first bug to hit a clean windshield lands directly in front of your eyes.
If you view your problem closely enough, you will recognize yourself as part of the problem.
Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.
Emerson's Law of Contrariness:
Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can. Having found them, we shall then hate them for it.
After things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle will repeat itself.
Whatever you did, that's what you planned.
Never replicate a successful experiment.
A closed mouth gathers no feet.
Any inanimate object, regardless of its position, configuration or purpose, may be expected to perform at any time in a totally unexpected manner for reasons that are either entirely obscure or else completely mysterious.
When you need to knock on wood is when you realize that the world is composed of vinyl, Naugahyde, and aluminium.
Blessed is the end user who expects nothing, for he/she will not be disappointed.
If you knew what you were doing, you'd probably be bored.
Fudd's First Law of Opposition:
Push something hard enough and it will fall over.
Gerrold's Laws of Infernal Dynamics:
1. An object in motion will always be headed in the wrong direction.
2. An object at rest will always be in the wrong place.
3. The energy required to change either one of these states will always be more than you wish to expend, but never so much as to make the task totally impossible.
1. You can't win.
2. You can't break even.
3. You can't even quit the game.
Freeman's Commentary on Ginsberg's Theorem:
Every major philosophy that attempts to make life seem meaningful is based on the negation of one part of Ginsberg's Theorem. To wit:
1. Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win.
2. Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break even.
3. Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game.
Glyme's Formula for Success:
The secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made.
If the shoe fits, it's ugly.
1. Always hire a rich solicitor.
2. Never buy from a rich salesman.
If a string has one end, it has another.
Gordon's First Law:
If a research project is not worth doing at all, it is not worth doing well.
There is an exception to all laws.
2 is not equal to 3 -- not even for large values of 2.
Grandpa Charnock's Law:
You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.
Green's Law Of Debate:
Anything is possible if you don't know what you're talking about.
Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.
Eighty percent of all people consider themselves to be above average drivers.
The amount of expertise varies in inverse proportion to the number of statements understood by the general public.
The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its desirability.
Hall's Laws of Politics:
1. The voters want fewer taxes and more spending.
2. Citizens want honest politicians until they want something fixed.
3. Constituency drives out consistency (i.e., liberals defend military spending, and conservatives social spending in their own districts).
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Hanson's Treatment of Time:
There are never enough hours in a day, but always too many days before Saturday.
Harper's Magazine Law:
You never find the issue until you replace it.
Harrisberger's Fourth Law of the Lab:
Experience is directly proportional to the amount of equipment ruined.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back, you've got something.
Lewis's Corollary to Harley's First Law:
You can lead a horse to water, you can open his mouth, and you can stick his drinking apparatus into the trough, but you can't make him swallow.
Hartley's Second Law:
Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.
The first myth of management is that it exists.
First Rule of History:
History doesn't repeat itself - historians merely repeat each other.
If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person - they will find an easier way to do it.
It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter's Law into account.
Horner's Five Thumb Postulate:
Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.
Among economists, the real world is often a special case.
Everyone has a scheme that will not work.
Don't take life too seriously; you won't get out of it alive.
Hurewitz's Memory Principle:
The chance of forgetting something is directly proportional to
..... to .....
........ uh ..............
The Law of Innovation Management:
1. Change is the status quo.
2. Management by objectives is no better than the objectives.
3. A manager cannot tell if he is leading an innovative mob or being chased by it.
No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
It won't work.
Toothaches tend to start on Saturday night.
Johnson's Third Law:
If you miss one issue of any magazine, it will be the issue that contains the article, story or instalment you were most anxious to read.
Corollary to Johnson's Third Law:
All of your friends either missed it, lost it, or threw it out.
Nobody really knows what is going on anywhere within the organization.
You can never tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
All laws are basically false.
Robert E. Lee's Truce:
Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from poor judgment.
Everybody lies; but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.
When the going gets tough, everyone leaves.
Mason's First Law of Synergism:
The one day you'd sell your soul for something, souls are a glut.
The quality of correlation is inversely proportional to the density of control. (The fewer the data points, the smoother the curves.)
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else.
There is always an easy answer to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.
H. L. Mencken's Law:
Those who can - do. Those who can't - teach.
Those who cannot teach - administrate.
Those who can - teach. Those who can't - find some other less important career.
There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
If something can go wrong, it will
The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame it on.
An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.
O'Reilly's Law of the Kitchen:
Cleanliness is next to impossible.
Oliver's Law of Location:
No matter where you are, there you are.
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
The solution to a problem changes the problem.
Law of the Perversity of Nature:
You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.
In every hierarchy, each employee tends to rise to the level of his incompetence.
First Law of Procrastination:
Procrastination shortens the job and places the responsibility for its termination on someone else (i.e., the authority who imposed the deadline).
Fifth Law of Procrastination:
Procrastination avoids boredom; one never has the feeling that there is nothing important to do.
Ninety-ninety Rule of Project Schedules:
The first ninety percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time, and the last ten percent takes the other ninety percent.
1. Anything that begins well ends badly.
2. Anything that begins badly ends worse.
Technology is dominated by two types of people: Those who understand what they do not manage. Those who manage what they do not understand.
It is a mistake to let any mechanical object realize that you are in a hurry.
Corollary: On the way to the corner, any dropped tool will first strike your toes.
Fourth Law of Revision:
It is usually impractical to worry beforehand about interferences - if you have none, someone will make one for you.
Bare feet magnetize sharp metal objects so they always point upwards from the floor - especially in the dark.
In a crisis that forces a choice to be made among alternative courses of action, people tend to choose the worst possible course.
Make three correct guesses consecutively and you will establish yourself as an expert.
It works better if you plug it in.
People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either one being made.
Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it.
Simmons's Law :
The desire for racial integration increases with the square of the distance from the actual event.
1. Given any problem containing N equations, there will be N+1 unknowns.
2. An object or bit of information most needed will be least available.
3. Any device requiring service or adjustment will be least accessible.
4. Interchangeable devices won't.
5. In any human endeavour, once you have exhausted all possibilities and fail, there will be one solution, simple and obvious, highly visible to everyone else.
6. Badness comes in waves.
First Law of Socio-Genetics:
Celibacy is not hereditary.
Sod's Law (see Murphy's Law)
The Law of the Too Solid Goof:
In any collection of data, the figures that are obviously correct beyond all need of checking contain the errors.
Corollary 1: No one you ask for help will see the error either.
Corollary 2: Any nagging intruder, who stops by with unsought advice, will spot it immediately.
Third Law of Survival:
To protect your position, fire the fastest rising employees first.
Stewart's Law of Retroaction:
It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
If it looks easy, it's tough. If it looks tough, it's near impossible.
Everything goes wrong at once.
If it happens, it must be possible.
Von Fumbles Law
When you want to unlock a door but only have one hand free, the keys will be in the opposite pocket
Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do the work.
If builders built buildings the way programmers write programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
To estimate the time it takes to do a task, estimate the time you think it should take, multiply by two, and change the unit of measure to the next highest unit. Example: we allocate two days for a one-hour task.
The obvious answer is always overlooked.
A pat on the back is only a few centimetres from a kick in the arse.