Saturday, July 12, 2014

Murphy’s Law

Plagiarised from Arthur Bloch’s book, Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.
            Corollary:       1. Every solution breeds new problems.
                2. It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
                3. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
                4. Mother Nature is a bitch.
The Murphy Philosophy: Smile... tomorrow will be worse.
Boling’s Postulate: If you are feeling good, don’t worry.  You’ll get over it.
* If things appear to be going right, you have overlooked something.
* Always keep a record – it indicates you’ve been working.
* When in doubt, assert louder.
Finagle’s Rule 6: Do not believe in miracles – rely on them.
* Capitalism:            You can win.
   Socialism:            You can break even.
   Mysticism:            You can quit the game.
First Law of Bridge: It’s always the partner’s fault.
Law of the Perversity of Nature: You can’t successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.
Wyszkowski’s 2nd Law: Anything can be made to work if you fiddle with it long enough.
Horner’s Five-Thumb Postulate: Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.
Cahn’s Axiom: When all else fails, read the instructions.
Whole Picture Principle: Research scientists are so wrapped up in their own narrow endeavours that they cannot possibly see the whole picture of anything, including their own research.
            Corollary: The Director of Research should know as little as possible about the specific subject of research he is administering.
Mr Cooper’s Law: If you do not understand a particular word in a piece of technical writing, ignore it.  The piece will make perfect sense without it.
Young’s Law: All great discoveries are made by mistake.
            Corollary: The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make the mistake.
Murphy’s Law of Research: Enough research will tend to support your theory.
Maier’s Law: If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
            Corollary             1. The bigger the theory, the better.
                                    2. The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurement must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory.
William & Holland’s Law: If enough data is collected, anything may be proven by statistical methods.
Heller’s Law: The first myth of management is that it exists.
            Johnson’s Corollary: Nobody really knows what is going on anywhere within the organisation.

The Peter Principle: In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.
            Corollary: Work is accomplished by those employees who have not reached their level of incompetence.
Peter’s Placebo: An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.
* Incompetence is directly proportional to one’s position in the hierarchy.
Imhoff’s Law: The organisation of any bureaucracy is very much like a septic tank – the really big chunks always rise to the top.
Match’s Maxim: A fool in a high station is like a man on the top of a high mountain; everything appears small to him and he appears small to everybody.
H L Mencken’s Law: Those who can – do.  Those who cannot – teach.  Those who cannot teach – administrate.
Truman’s Law: If you cannot convince them, confuse them.

Swipple Rule of Order: He who shouts loudest has the floor.
Rayburn’s Rule: If you want to get along, go along.
Gummidge’s Law: The amount of expertise varies in inverse proportion to the number of statements understood by the general public.
Issawi’s Law of Conservation of Evil: The total amount of evil in any system remains constant.  Hence, any diminution in one direction – for instance, a reduction in poverty or unemployment – is accompanied by an increase in another, e.g. crime or air pollution.
Katz’s Law: Men and nations will act rationally when all other possibilities have been exhausted.
Parker’s Law of Political Statement: The truth of any proposition has nothing to do with its credibility and vice versa.
Mr Cole’s Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.

Jones’s Motto: Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.
McClaughry’s Codicil to Jones’s Motto: To make an enemy, do someone a favour.
Vique’s Law: A man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle.
Gattuso’s Extension of Murphy’s Law: Nothing is ever so bad that it can’t get worse.

Lynch’s Law: When the going gets tough, everyone leaves.
Law of Revelation: The hidden flaw never remains hidden.
Grossman’s Misquote of H L Mencken: Complex problems have simple, easy-to-understand wrong answers.
Imbesi’s Law of Conservation of Filth: In order for something to become clean, something else must become dirty.
            Freeman’s Extension: ... but you can get everything dirty without getting anything clean.
The Power of Negative Thinking: It is impossible for an optimist to be pleasantly surprised.
Conway’s Law: In any organisation there will always be one person who knows what is going on.  This person must be fired.
Stewart’s Law of Retroaction: It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.
Whistler’s Law: You never know who’s right, but you always know who’s in charge.
Spencer’s Law of Data: 1. Anyone can make a decision given enough facts.
                                    2. A good manager can make a decision without enough facts.
                                    3. A perfect manager can operate in perfect ignorance.
Pfeiffer’s Principle: Never make a decision you can get someone else to make.
            Corollary: No one keeps a record of decisions you could have made but didn’t.   Everyone keeps a record of your bad ones.

Gourd’s Axiom: A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.
Alinsky’s Rule for Radicals: Those who are most moral are farthest from the problem.
* If you don’t understand the problem, moralise.
Jones’s Law: The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame it on.
Mark’s Law: A fool and your money are soon partners.
O’Brien’s Law: Nothing is ever done for the right reasons.

Glyme’s formula for success: The secret of success is sincerity.  Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.
Warren’s Rules: To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.
Green’s Law of Debate: Anything is possible if you don’t know what you are talking about.
Burke’s Rule: Never create a problem for which you don’t have an answer.
Hlade’s Law: If you have a difficult task give it to a lazy man – he will find an easier way to do it.
* Fools rush in – and get the best seats.
* If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

Cheit’s Lament: If you help a friend in need, he is sure to remember you – the next time he’s in need.
Denniston’s Law: Virtue is its own punishment.

Jacob’s Law: To err is human – to blame it on someone else is ever more human.
Edelstein’s Advice: Do not worry over what other people are thinking about you.  They’re too busy worrying over what you are thinking about them.
Bocklage’s Law: He who laughs last – probably didn’t get the joke.
Lackland’s Laws: 1. Never be first.            2. Never be last.             3. Never volunteer for anything.
Allen’s Law: Almost anything is easier to get into than to get out of.
Ruckert’s Law: There’s nothing so small that it can’t be blown out of proportion.

McKernan’s Maxim: Those who are unable to learn from past meetings are condemned to repeat them.
Mitchell’s Laws of Committology: 1. Any problem can be make insoluble if enough conferences are held to discuss it.
            2. Once the way to screw up a project is presented for consideration it will invariably be accepted as the soundest solution.
Kennedy’s Comment: A committee is 12 men doing the work of one.
Brown’s Rules: To succeed in politics – 1. rise above your principles; 2. find a crowd that’s going somewhere and get in front of them.

Walton’s Law of Politics: A fool and his money are soon elected.
Ely’s key to success: Create a need, and fill it.
Bralek’s rule for success: Trust only those who stand to lose as much as you when things go wrong.
Mayne’s Law: nobody notices the big errors.

Vile’s Law for Educators: No one is listening until you make a mistake.
Strano’s Law: When all else fails, try the boss’s suggestion.
Pinto’s Law: Do someone a favour and it becomes your job.
Foster’s Law: The only people who find what they are looking for in life are faultfinders.
First Principle of Self-Determination: What you resist, you become.

Addicted?  Get hold of a copy of the book… The 26th Anniversary edition is available now. 


  1. So many laws and rules... hardly anyone learns from others' mistakes and experiences though :)

    1. It is because people don't learn from experience - one's own or others' - that these laws were formulated. They look at the funny side of life.

  2. Ha ha. I love these laws.. They used to be such a big deal in college and even now a great conversation starter :)

    1. They are so wonderfully (and hilariously) perceptive.

  3. woooo that was awesome, they were so sarcastic but still very true!

    1. I loved reading the book. No, not reading, meditating. You are absolutely right: these definitions or laws or whatever they are, they make you laugh and think at the same time. No wonder the book is still selling 26 years after it was originally published.

  4. Lol some of them are so hilarious..I must buy a book on Murphy's laws now !

    1. It is sure to tickle your funny bone, Renu.

  5. This was a good read. Here in Bangalore we have a road named after Murphy. I have traveled through it several times. Nothing has ever gone wrong. Wonder if Boling is playing a role there. :)

    1. Hope you will go on feeling good for ever, Indrani :) Let not Boling play his role.

  6. You know what Tomichan, these quips made my day, in as much as, strange as it may sound, they do actually answer a lot of idiocy otherwise unexplained.

    Thanks for sharing this. Will grab the book pronto

    1. They do answer a lot of questions; you're right, Anupam. That's why I'd recommend this book for meditation! The statements, funny as they are, reveal the inescapable paradoxes of human life.

  7. Funny, but true ones, Sir!
    So many rules for so many things!!!

    There's a saying- "A fool & his money are soon parted"
    I now learnt-
    Mark’s Law: A fool and your money are soon partners.
    Walton’s Law of Politics: A fool and his money are soon elected.
    :) :)

    1. Murphy can entertain us endlessly, Anita. And inspire too! Console too.

  8. I love these laws! Some are so funny. But no matter how many laws we have, there will be some life lessons that we'll never learn!

    1. ... because we don't want to learn! That's the essential paradox of life, I think.

  9. Nice collection of all the laws.. but life seldom follows any specific law...neither do we ...

    1. These laws are not meant to be followed, but often people follow them!

  10. A great collection.. Most of them are true that I am amazed at his foresight on these human behaviors. We don't follow these laws, we actually create them in one way or the other!

    1. Yeah, we create them. Rather, they are created. Naturally.

  11. So much to laugh and learn from this post, intriguing how different people perceive different things.

  12. The fact that there are so many laws, proves how silly the idea of creating laws is. :)


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