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Universal Laws of the World

https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/laws/

collaborativefund.com

Universal Laws of the World
If something is true in one field it's probably true in others. Restricting your attention to your own field blinds you to how many important things people from other fields have figured out that are relevant to your own. Here are a few laws - some scientific, some not - from specific fields that hold universal truths.

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Littlewood's law

John Littlewood's law of miracles states that we can expect "miracles" to happen often.
If we see and hear things happening at a rate of one per second, the total number of events that happen to us in a month will be about a million. The chance of a miracle is about one per million events. Therefore we should expect about one miracle every month.

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Gibson’s law

“For every PhD, there is an equal and opposite PhD.” 

In law and public policy, for every qualified expert witness, there is an expert witness that will come to the opposite conclusion.

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Brandolini's law

"The amount of energy needed to refute bullsh*t is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

Albert Brandolini's law acknowledges four truths:

  • People don't like to admit when they don't understand something. When they are confronted with nonsense, they will rather agree than admit they don't understand.
  • In law, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution (You often can't prove something didn't happen).
  • Bad commentary gives readers a cover to hide their own biases and prejudices.
  • Publishing an opinion has become very easy in the last two decades.

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Goodhart’s law

When a measure becomes a target, it stops being a good measure.
Charles Goodhart is an economist who recognized that once you set a new policy target, the authority involved has his reputation attached to meet that target successfully and may neglect or adjust his behavior and procedures for that target.

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Dollo's law

Dollo's law of irreversibility states that an organism can't re-evolve to a former state. The path that led to its former state was so intricate that it is impossible to retrace that exact path.

This law affects businesses and brands. Some things are hard to build, and once lost, will likely never be regained.

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Parkinson’s Law

Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
This can also be applied to other ideas. For instance, expenses expand to fill an income, or data can expand to fill a given level of storage.

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Wiio’s laws

“Communication usually fails, except by accident.”

Osmo Wiio, a Finnish journalist, also made other laws of communication, such as:

  • “If a message can be understood in different ways, it will be understood in just that way which does the most harm.”
  • “In mass communication, the important thing is not how things are but how they seem to be.”

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Sayre’s law

In a dispute, the intensity of emotions is inversely related to the value of the issues at stake.

When the stakes are actually high, people are willing to put their differences aside for a common cause.

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Stigler’s law

No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.

Discoveries are most often the result of a combination of existing discoveries that solve a problem with an old invention.

The famous person is often the one who communicates an idea the best, not whose idea is the best.

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Mill Mistakes

Assuming the familiar is the best.

You are in danger of thinking your own ideas are better because they are familiar. Your mind will always give your ideas more credit over other ideas that are better, but harder to explain.

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Hickam’s dictum

Problems in complex systems rarely have one cause.
Doctor John Hickam observed that a patient is likely to have a few common problems and rarely just one. To try and get to the one underlying cause is likely to be a misdiagnosis.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Voltaire

“History never repeats itself. Man always does.”

Voltaire

History lessons

The most important lessons from history are the takeaways that are so broad they can apply to other fields, other historical times, and other people. 

The point is that the more specific a lesson of history is, the less relevant it becomes.

Adopting new views 

One of the interesting parts of the Great Depressions from history is not just how the economy collapsed, but how quickly and dramatically people’s views changed when it did.

People suffering from immediate, unexpected adversity are likely to adopt views they previously thought absurd. It’s not until your life is in full chaos (with your hopes and dreams your dreams unsure) that people begin taking ideas they’d never consider before seriously.

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Simple rules

They are shortcut strategies that save time and effort by focusing our attention and simplifying the way we process information. The rules aren’t universal- they’re tailored to the particular si...

Boundary rules for better decisions

They guide the choice of what to do (and not do) without requiring a lot of time, analysis, or information. 

They work well for categorical choices, like a judge’s yes-or-no decision on a defendant’s bail, and decisions requiring many potential opportunities to be screened quickly. 

These rules also come in handy when time, convenience, and cost matter.

Prioritizing rules for better decisions

They rank options to help decide which of multiple paths to pursue.

They are especially powerful when applied to bottleneck activities - pinch-points in companies, where the number of opportunities swamps available resources, and prioritizing rules can ensure that these resources are deployed where they can have the greatest impact.