From The Book of Lists (1977), sampled from Arthur Bloch’s Murphy’s Law—and Other Reasons Why Things Go Wrong:
- MURPHY’S LAW
- O’TOOL’S COMMENTARY ON MURPHY’S LAW
- THE UNSPEAKABLE LAW
- NONRECIPROCAL LAWS OF EXPECTATIONS
- HOWE’S LAW
- ZYMURGY’S FIRST LAW OF EVOLVING SYSTEM DYNAMICS
- ETORRE’S OBSERVATION
- SKINNER’S CONSTANT (FLANNAGAN’S FINAGLING FACTOR)
- LAW OF SELECTIVE GRAVITY
- GORDON’S FIRST LAW
- MAIER’S LAW
- HOARE’S LAW OF LARGE PROBLEMS
- BOREN’S FIRST LAW
- THE GOLDEN RULE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
- BARTH’S DISTINCTION
- SEGAL’S LAW
- NINETY-NINE RULE OF PROJECT SCHEDULES
- FARBER’S FOURTH LAW
If anything can go wrong, it will.
Murphy was an optimist.
As soon as you mention something…
…if it’s good, it goes away.
…if it’s bad, it happens.
Negative expectations yield negative results.
Positive expectations yield negative results.
Every man has a scheme that will not work.
Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can.
The other line moves faster.
That quantity which, when multiplied by, divided by, added to or subtracted from the answer you get, gives you the answer you should have gotten.
An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
9A. JENNING’S COROLLARY
The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.
If a research project is not worth doing at all, it is not worth doing well.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out.
When in doubt, mumble.
Whoever has the gold makes the rules.
There are two types of people: those who divide people into types, and those who don’t.
A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.
The first 90% of the task takes 90% of the time, and the last 10% takes the other 90%.
Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows.