The Origin of the Brown M&Ms Principle

The brown M&M’s principle is the idea that small details can sometimes serve as useful indicators of big issues.

The Brown M&M Principle is also known as the Van Halen Principle originally came from the well-known rock band, Van Halen. Their band's performance was known to be engaging and unforgettable. The brown M&Ms clause was placed in Van Halen's contract to see if their needs were meticulously prepared as they asked for. If a brown M&M is present at their backstage dressing room, they would immediately know that the contract was not read well.



The Brown M&M’s Principle: How Small Details Can Help Discover Big Issues - Effectiviology

  • Applying the brown M&Ms into your work life or personal life will make it easier and quicker to assess the things you want to assess.
  • However, despite the situation some people, by luck, could sneak their way in.
  • It is essential to understand how the principle works in order to use it to its full potential and not miss anything important.
  • To use the principle effectively, figure out the things you will be assessing and what your end goal is and modify as needed.



  • The Brown M&M principle is a widely known tactic which you now can use towards your own advantage.
  • Everyone has their own brown M&Ms while some have multiple brown M&Ms. In order to identify what they may be, err on the side of caution and pay attention the all the necessary details.
  • This principle is used to guide you into making the right decision based off of your criteria. It should generally only be used as a part of your judgment and decision-making process.


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