APPLIED MURPHOLOGY Home Page
Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.
Paradox: If Murphy's Law can go wrong, it will.
Extended Murphy’s Law:
If a series of events can go wrong, it will do so in the worst possible
Extension of Murphy’s Law: Nothing is ever so bad that it can't get worse.
Knagg’s Derivative of Murphy’s Law: The more complicated and grandiose the plan, the greater the chance of
Opinion: The higher up the organization, the fewer people appreciate Murphy's
and Bjorn’s Law: No matter what goes wrong, there is always someone who knew
Principle: Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
of Revelation: The hidden flaw never remains hidden.
Law: If you wait, it will go away.
Extension: ....having done it's damage.
it was bad, It'll be back.
Precept: Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.
Law: You always find something the last place you look.
Law: You can always find what you are not looking for.
Law: If you don’t care where you are, you ain’t lost.
Precept: A crisis is when you can’t say “let’s forget the whole thing.”
you are given an open-book exam, you will forget your book.
you are given a take-home test, you will forget where you live.
Drazen’s Law of Restitution: The time it takes to rectify a situation is inversely proportional to the time it took
to do the damage.
Example 1: It takes longer to glue a vase together
than to break one.
Example 2: It takes longer to lose ‘X’ number
of pounds than to gain ‘X’ number of pounds.
Observation: The other line moves faster.
O’Brien’s Variation on Etorre’s Observation: If you change lines, the one you just left will start to move faster than
one you are now in
Kenton’s Corollary: Switching back screws up
both lines and makes everybody angry.
The Queue Principle: The longer you wait in line,
the greater the likelihood that you are standing in the wrong queue.
If ever you see me standing in a queue at the railway booking office, join the other one; because there’ll be a chap at
the front of mine who’s trying to
send a rhinoceros to Tokyo.
trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how
difficult it was.
Law: You can’t fall off the floor.
Law: If a situation requires undivided attention, it will occur simultaneously
with a compelling distraction.
Law of the Letter: The best way to inspire fresh thoughts is to seal the letter.
The best shots happen immediately after the last frame is exposed.
The other best shots are generally attempted through the lens cap.
Any surviving best shots are ruined when someone inadvertently opens the
darkroom door and all the dark leaks out.
Law: In any organization there will always be one person who knows what is going
on. This person must be fired.
Law: Every man has a scheme that will not work.
Law: For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.
second law: Insanity is hereditary - you can get it from your children.
Law: If facts do not conform to theory, they must be disposed of.
Law: If you can’t convince them, confuse them.
Theory on Personnel Recruitment: Personnel recruitment is a triumph of hope over
Loftus’ Fifth Law of Management: Some people manage by the book, even though they don’t know who wrote the book
or even what book.
Law: You never know who’s right, but you always know who’s in charge.
Law of Professional Practice: The client who pays the least complains the most.
Second Law: Consultants are mystical people who ask a company for a number and
then give it back to them.
Kushner’s Law: The chances of anybody doing anything are inversely proportional to the number of other people who are
in a position to do it instead.
Principle: Never make a decision you can get someone else to make.
Law: For every vision there is an equal and opposite revision.
of Probable Dispersion: Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
If you’re early, it’ll be cancelled
If you knock yourself out to be on time, you will have to wait.
If you are late, you will be too late.
Axiom: A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are
Law: Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.
The one wrench or drill bit you need will be the one missing from the
Most projects require three hands.
Leftover nuts never match leftover bolts.
The more carefully you plan a project, the more confusion there is when
something goes wrong.
Rule of Intelligent Tinkering: Save all the parts.
Fifth Corollary of Office Murphology: Vital papers will demonstrate their vitality by spontaneously moving from where
you left them to where you can’t find them.
Law: It works better if you plug it in.
Law of Laboratory Work: Hot glass looks exactly the same as cold glass.
Rule for Laboratory Workers: When you do not know what you are doing, do it
Law of Physics:
Fact is solidified opinion.
Facts may weaken under extreme heat and pressure.
Truth is elastic.
Guide to Modern Science:
If it’s green or wriggles, it’s biology.
If it stinks, it’s chemistry.
If it doesn’t work, it’s physics.
Law of Experimentation:
If reproducibility may be a problem, conduct the test only once.
If a straight line fit is required, obtain only two data points.
Thumb’s Second Postulate: An easily understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex, incomprehensible
Law: Everybody lies; but it doesn’t matter, since nobody listens.
Sausage Principle: People who love sausage and respect the law should never
watch either one being made.
Watergate Principle: Government corruption is always reported in the past tense.
Rule for Radicals: Those who are most moral are furthest from the problem.
Good’s Rule for Dealing with Bureaucracies: When Government bureaucratic remedies do not match your problem, you
modify the problem, not the remedy.
Observation: Among economists, the real world is often a special case.
Formula for Success: The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that
you’ve got it made.
Rule: An expert is anyone from out of town.
Weber’s Definition: An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely
everything about nothing.
Law of Debate: Anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking
Burke’s Rule: Never create a problem for which
you do not have the answer:
Create problems for which only you have the answer.
Maxim: A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
Rule on Past Prediction: Hindsight is an exact science.
Maxim: When in doubt, predict that the trend will continue.
Solution: When in trouble, obfuscate.
Law: Every great idea has a disadvantage equal to or exceeding the greatness of
Gall’s Fifteenth Law of Systemantics: A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a
simple system that works.
Razor: The theories most likely to prove true are those shorn of unnecessary
of Life’s Highway: If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong
Law: Most people deserve each other.
Block’s Motto: Forgive and remember.
Law: He who laughs last probably didn't get the joke.
Axiom: If one views his problem closely enough, he will recognize himself as
part of the problem.
ever goes away.
are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and those who
are two kinds of adhesive tape: that which won't stay on and that which won't
in doubt, mumble.
in trouble, delegate.
in charge, ponder.
leave hold of what you've got until you've got hold of something else.
things being equal, you lose.
things being in your favour, you still lose.
or lose, you lose.
first bug to hit a clean windscreen lands directly in front of your eyes.
probabilities are 50%. Either a thing will happen or it won't.
however, are 90% against you.
man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone else he can blame
The rake you step on is always teeth up, so that it not only injures your foot, but smacks you in the mouth with
long a minute is depends on which side of the toilet door you happen to be.