It’s The Law!

Source: From Old Books

Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.

Goodhart’s Law: When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Amara’s Law: We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

Allen’s Law: The only rule that has no exceptions is the rule that there’s an exception to every rule.

Cheops Law: Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.

Letterman’s Law: Three out of four people make up 75% of the population.

Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Peter Principle: In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.

Finagle’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment.

Gibson’s Law: For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD.

Brooks’s Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Hickam’s Dictum: A man can have as many diseases as he damn well pleases.

Parkinson’s Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Hobson’s Choice: A choice of taking what is available or nothing at all

Muphry’s Law: If you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written.

Gall’s Law: A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.

Segal’s Law: A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.

Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Brandolini’s Law: The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.

Cole’s Law: Shredded cabbage with salad dressing.

Source: Giphy


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  1. Ray Visotski

    Rubanowicz,s Law: Murphy was an optimist.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I like the way Rubanowicz thinks.

  2. Kristine Laco

    Letterman’s Law was my favourite until I got to the last three. So brilliant (nothing new there).

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The funny thing is Letterman’s Law isn’t really in the list of laws but a joke I heard him make years ago about how surveys are running out of ideas. But it works.

  3. Allison

    I met a young woman on an airplane whose last name was Murphy. She was a burlesque dancer, and her performance name was Murphy Lawless. I’ve seen the Peter Principle in action. Repeatedly.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Murphy Lawless is a great name for a burlesque dancer.
      And I think we’ve all seen the Peter Principle in action. The only people who haven’t seen it are examples of it.

  4. Tom Cummings

    Brilliant! ???

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I have to confess that the final joke isn’t mine–it was just my idea to put it in after other laws, axioms, sayings, and epigrams. As the old saying goes when you steal from one source it’s plagiarism. When you steal from a bunch of sources it’s research.

      1. Bryce Warden

        These are some spectacular observations. I wanted to add – No good deed goes unpunished – to your list. It needs a catchy law name though…

        1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

          Yes–“No good deed goes unpunished” is one of my favorites; thank you for reminding me of it. It turns out it’s been attributed to a lot of different people, so maybe you can claim it as your own. It may have come from Samuel Johnson’s “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”, though.

  5. Ann Koplow

    Hilt’s Law: The deeper the coal, the higher its rank. You mined a lot of humor here, Chris, and I rank this very high.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      This comment sinks in to the hilt; among comments it’s anthracite.

  6. Patricia Chew

    My favorite is of course the Cole’s Law. LOL! (´∇ノ`*)ノ

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I think everyone loves Cole’s Law. That’s why it’s the defining rule of potlucks.


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