Over the 30 years of my career in information technology I managed to collect a significant number of rules, observations and principles from many different sources. Below is a compilation.

All the Real Important Stuff You Need to Know

The Three Primary Rules of Data Processing –

  •  Never attribute to malice that which can be easily explained by stupidity.
  •  It is impossible to make anything fool-proof because fools are so ingenious
  •  Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity.

Applicable Rules from other Areas –

Yogi Berra’s Law – You can observe a lot just by watching.

Agnes Allen’s Law – Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.

Anderson’s Law – I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it the right way, did not become still more complicated.

Derek Bok’s Law – If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

Erma Bombeck’s Rule of Medicine – Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

Lord Falkland’s Rule – When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.

Marshall’s Generalized Iceberg Theorem – Seven-eighths of everything can’t be seen.

Clopton’s Law – For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.

Historian’s Rule – Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by a competent historian.

Thurber’s Conclusion – There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else for that matter.

Law of Statistics – Numbers, when tortured sufficiently, can be made to say anything.
Corollary – Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

First Rule of Wing Walking – Never let go of what you’ve got until you’ve got hold of something else.

Raymond Berry’s Rule – When in doubt go down and out.

Harris’s Law – Any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell, belongs there.

Boren’s Guidelines for Bureaucracy –
1) When in charge, ponder.
2) When in trouble, delegate.
3) When in doubt, mumble.

Fred Bucy’s Law – Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man.

Donald Douglas’s Law of Aeronautics – When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly.

Fiedler’s Forecasting Rules
1) It is very difficult to forecast, especially about the future.
2) He who lives by the crystal ball soon learns to eat ground glass.
3) The moment you forecast, you know you’re going to be wrong – you just don’t know when and in which direction.
4) If you’re ever right, never let them forget it.

Law of Gardening – You get the most of what you need the least.

Iron Law of Distribution (and the First Rule of Organic chemistry) – Them what has, gets.

Thomas Jones’ Law – Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.

Kafka’s Law – In the fight between you and the world, back the world.

Claire Boothe Luce’s Law – No good deed goes unpunished.

Damon Runyon’s Law – The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. But that’s the way the smart money bets.

Senator Moynihan’s Law – If the newspapers of a country are filled with good news, the jails of that country will be filled with good people.

Osborn’s Law – Variables won’t, constants aren’t.

Peer’s Law – The solution to a problem changes the problem.

Wolf’s Law – Those who don’t study the past will repeat its errors. Those who do study it will find other ways to err.

Kristol’s Law – Being frustrated can be very disagreeable, but the real disasters in life begin when you get what you want.

Boyle’s Law – If not controlled, work will flow to the competent person until he/she submerges.

Charlie Chan’s Theory of Relativity – Man with two watches never certain of time.

My sister Sandra’s Apparel Axiom – When your underwear’s too tight, nothing goes right.

Rita Jones’ Conundrum –  Sometimes your knight in shining armor is just an idiot wrapped in tin foil.

Sam’s Sudden Realization – When it comes to abhorring a vacuum, nature runs a poor second to any refrigerator shelf.


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