- Waddell's Law of Equipment Failure
- A component's degree of reliability is directly proportional to its ease
of accessibility (i.e., the harder it is to get to, the more often it breaks
- Waffle's Law
- A professor's enthusiasm for teaching the introductory course varies
inversely with the likelihood of his having to do it.
- Wain's Conclusion
- The only people making money these days are the ones who sell computer
- Wakefield's Refutation of the Iron Law of Distribution
- Them what gets, has.
- Waldo's Observation
- One man's red tape is another man's system.
- Walinsky's First Law of Political Campaigns
- If there are twelve clowns in a ring, you can jump in the middle and
start reciting Shakespeare, but to the audience, you'll just be the
- Walinsky's Law
- The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the
number of participants.
- Walker's Law
- Associate with well-mannered persons and your manners will improve. Run
with decent folk and your own decent instincts will be strengthened. Keep
the company of bums and you will become a bum. Hang around with rich people
and you will end by picking up the check and dying broke.
- Wallace's Observation
- Everything is in a state of utter dishevelment.
- Walters's Law of Management
- If you're already in a hole, there's no use to continue digging.
- Washington's Law
- Space expands to house the people to perform the work that Congress
- The Watergate Principle
- Government corruption is always reported in the past tense.
- Watson's Law
- The reliability of machinery is inversely proportional to the number and
significance of any persons watching it.
- Watson's Law of Cleaning
- If you start to clean your desk in the spare bedroom you will probably
have to clean the garage to find what you need to finish cleaning the desk.
- Rule of the Way Out
- Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.
- Law of Wealth
- Victory goes to the candidate with the most accumulated or contributed
wealth who has the financial resources to convince the middle class and poor
that he will be on their side.
- Weaver's Law
- When several reporters share a cab on an assignment, the reporter in the
front seat pays for all.
- Corollary (O'Doyle) - No matter how many reporters share a cab,
and no matter who pays, each puts the full fare on his own expense account.
- Corollary (Germond) - When a group of newsmen go out to dinner
together, the bill is to be divided evenly among them, regardless of what
each one eats and drinks.
- Weber-Fechner Law
- The least change in stimulus necessary to produce a perceptible change
in response is proportional to the stimulus already existing.
- Weidner's Queries
- The tide comes in and the tide goes out, and what have you got?
- They say an elephant never forgets, but what's he got to remember?
- Weiler's Law
- Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.
- Weinberg's First Law
- Progress is made on alternate Fridays.
- Weinberg's Second Law
- If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the
first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
Corollary - An expert is a person who avoids the small errors
while sweeping on to the Grand Fallacy.
- Weiner's Law of Libraries
- There are no answers, only cross references.
- Weisman's Law of Examinations
- If you're confident after you've just finished an exam, it's because you
don't know enough to know better.
- Wells's Law
- A parade should have bands OR horses, not both.
- Weskimen's Law
- There's never time to do it right, but there is always time to d it
- Westheimer's Law
- A few months in the laboratory can save a few hours in the library.
- Westheimer's Rule
- To estimate the time it takes to do a task estimate the time you think
it should take, multiply by two and change the unit of the measure to the
next highest unit. Thus, we allocate two days for a one hour task.
- Wethern's Law
- Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.
- The Whispered Rule
- People will believe anything if you whisper it.
- White Flag Principle
- A military disaster may produce a better postwar situation than victory.
- White's Chappaquiddick Theorem
- The sooner and in more detail you announce bad news, the better.
- White's Observations of Committee Operation
- People very rarely think in groups; they talk together, they exchange
information, they adjudicate, they make compromises. But they do not
think; they do not create.
- A really new idea affronts current agreement.
- A meeting cannot be productive unless certain premises are so shared
that they do not need to be discussed, and the argument can be confined to
areas of disagreement. But while this kind of consensus makes a group more
effective in its legitimate functions, it does not make the group a
creative vehicle -- it would not be a new idea if it didn't -- and the
group, impelled as it is to agree, is instinctively hostile to that which
- White's Statement
- Don't lose heart...
- Owen's Comment on White's Statement: ... they might want to cut
- Byrd's Addition to Owen's Comment on White's Statement: ... and
they want to avoid a lengthy search.
- Whitehead's Law
- The obvious answer is always overlooked.
- Whole Picture Principle
- Research scientists are so wrapped up in their own narrow endeavors that
they cannot possibly see the whole picture of anything, including their own
- Corollary - The Director of Research should know as little as
possible about the specific subject of research he is administering.
- Wicker's Law
- Government expands to absorb revenue, and then some.
- Wilcox's Law
- A pat on the back is only a few centimeters from a kick in the pants.
- Will's Rule of Informed Citizenship
- If you want to understand your government, don't begin by reading the
Constitution. (It conveys precious little of the flavor of today's
statecraft.) Instead read selected portions of the Washington telephone
directory containing listings for all the organizations with titles
beginning with the word "National".
- Williams and Holland's Law
- If enough data is collected, anything may be proven by statistical
- Willie Brown's Principle
- People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either
one being made.
- Wilson's Law of Demographics
- The public is not made up of people who get their names in the
- The First Law of Wing Walking
- Never let hold of what you've got until you've got hold of something
- First Law of Wing-Walking
- Never leave hold of what you've got until you've got hold of something
- Wingo's Axiom
- All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing
- Law of Wisdom
- Wisdom is considered a sign of weakness by the powerful because a wise
man can lead without power but only a powerful man can lead without wisdom.
- Witten's Law
- Whenever you cut your fingernails, you will find a need for them an hour
- Wober's SNIDE Rule (Satisfied Needs Incite Demand Excesses)
- Ideal goals grow faster than the means of attaining new goals allow.
- Wolf's Law (An Optimistic View of a Pessimistic World)
- It isn't that things will necessarily go wrong (Murphy's Law), but
rather that they will take so much more time and effort than you think if
they are not to go wrong.
- Wolf's Law of Decision-Making
- Major actions are rarely decided by more than four people. If you think
a larger meeting you're attending is really "hammering out" a decision,
you're probably wrong. Either the decision was agreed to by a smaller group
before the meeting began, or the outcome of the larger meeting will be
modified later when three or four people get together.
- Wolf's Law of History Lessons
- Those who don't study the past will repeat its errors. Those who do
study it will find OTHER ways to err.
- Wolf's Law of Management
- The tasks to do immediately are the minor ones; otherwise, you'll forget
them. The major ones are often better to defer. They usually need more time
for reflection. Besides, if you forget them, they'll remind you.
- Wolf's Law of Meetings
- The only important result of a meeting is agreement about next steps.
- Wolf's Law of Planning
- A good place to start from is where you are.
- Wolf's Law of Tactics
- If you can't beat them, have them join you.
- Woltman's Law
- Never program and drink beer at the same time.
- Woman's Equation
- Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half
as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.
- Wood's Law
- The more unworkable the urban plan, the greater the probability of
- Woods's Incomplete Maxims
- All's well that ends.
- A penny saved is a penny.
- Don't leave things unfinishe
- Woods's Laws of Procrastination
- Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
- Procrastinate today! (Tomorrow may be too late.)
- NOW is the time to do things later!
- If at first you don't succeed, why try again?
- Woods's Refutation of the First Law of Socio-Genetics
- On the contrary, if you never procreate, neither will your kids.
- Woodward's Law
- A theory is better than an explanation.
- Worker's Dilemma Law (Management's Put-Down Law)
- No matter how much you do, you'll never do enough.
- What you don't do is always more important than what you do do.
- Wynne's Law
- Negative slack tends to increase.
- Wyszkowski's Theorem
- Regardless of the units used by either the supplier or the customer, the
manufacturer shall use his own arbitrary units convertible to those of
either the supplier or the customer only by means of weird and unnatural
- Wyszowski's Laws
- No experiment is reproducible.
- Anything can be made to work if you fiddle with it long enough.
- Regardless of the units used by either the supplier or the customer,
the manufacturer shall use his own arbitrary units convertible to those of
either the supplier or the customer only by means of weird and unnatural
- Yapp's Basic Fact
- If a thing cannot be fitted into something smaller than itself, some
dope will do it.
- Yolen's Guide for Self-Praise
- Proclaim yourself "World Champ" of something -- tiddly-winks, rope-
jumping, whatever -- send this notice to newspapers, radio, TV, and wait for
challengers to confront you. Avoid challenges as long as possible, but
continue to send news of your achievements to all media. Also, develop a
newsletter and letterhead for communications.
- Young's Handy Guide to the Modern Sciences
- If it is green or it wiggles -- it is Biology.
- If it stinks -- it is Chemistry.
- If it doesn't work -- it is Physics.
- Young's Law
- All great discoveries are made by mistake.
- Corollary - The greater the funding, the longer it takes to make
- Zamboni's Parts Laws
- A dropped part will always roll to the exact geographic center of the
largest available object for it to roll under.
- The probability of the loss or breakage of any part is directly
proportional to the difficulty of getting a replacement part.
- Irreplaceable parts will always break or be lost, and at the worst
- Replaceable parts will only become available after an important
deadline has passed.
- Parts that are difficult to install will freely fall out on their own.
- Parts that go in easily will be extremely hard to remove, and removal
will be necessary to accomplish the needed repair.
- The part you will need will be the irreplaceable part you threw away
last week because there is no more serviceable equipment of that type
- Zellar's Law
- Every newspaper, no matter how tight the news hole, has room for a story
on another newspaper increasing its newsstand price.
- Zimmerman's Law
- Regardless of whether a mission expands or contracts, administrative
overhead continues to grow at a steady rate.
- Zimmerman's Law of Complaints
- Nobody notices when things go right.
- Zusmann's Rule
- A successful symposium depends on the ratio of meeting to eating.
- 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. (Old worms never die, they just worm their way into larger
- Zymurgy's Law of Volunteer Labour
- People are always available for work in the past tense.
- Zymurgy's Seventh Exception to Murphy's Laws
- When it rains, it pours.