Management And Accounting Web

Murphy's and Other Laws of the Universe

Provided by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida

Gadgets, Games and Jokes Main Page

1. Murphy’s Law: "If anything can go wrong, it will."

2. The Unspeakable Law: "As soon as you mention something...if it’s good, it goes away...if it’s bad, it happens."

3. Howe’s Law: "Every man has a scheme that will not work."

4. Zymurgy’s First Law of Evolving Systems Dynamics: "Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can."

5. Etorre’s Observation: "The other line moves faster."

6. Maier’s Law: "If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of."

7. The Golden Rule: "Whoever has the gold makes the rules."

8. Lieberman’s Law: "Everybody lies, but it doesn’t matter because nobody listens."

9. Gold’s Law: "If the shoe fits, it’s ugly."

10. Green’s Law of Debate: "Anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about."

11. The Sausage Principle: "People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either one being made."

12. Hanlon’s Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

13. Finster’s Law: "A closed mouth gather no feet."

14. First rule of financial literacy: “When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep becomes your downfall.”

15. Nonreciprocal Laws of Expectations: “Negative expectations yield negative results. Positive expectations yield negative results.”

16. Skinner’s Constant, also known as Flannagan’s Finagling Factor: “That quantity when multiplied by, divided by, added to, or subtracted from the answer you get, gives you the answer you should have gotten.”

17. Gordon’s First Law: “If a research project is not worth doing at all, it is not worth doing well.”

18. Jenning’s Corollary: “The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.”

19. Hoare’s Law of Large Problems: “Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out.”

20. O’Reilly’s Law of the Kitchen: “Cleanliness is next to impossible.”

21. Stewart’s Law of Retro-action: “It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.”

22. Conway’s Law: “In any organization there will always be one person who knows what is going on. This person should be fired.”

23. Muir’s Law: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

24. Glyme’s Formula for Success: “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”


Some more serious laws from Peter Senge's Fifth Discipline:

1. Today’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions.

2. The harder you push, the harder the system pushes back.

3. Behavior grows better before it grows worse.

4. The easy way out usually leads back in.

5. The cure can be worse than the disease.

For more Law's of the Fifth Discipline (Systems Thinking), see Senge's Chapter 4.