Laurence J. Peter (September 16, 1919 - January 12, 1990) was a Canadian
educator and author. Peter began his career as an educator, teaching
both within the school system and as a professor of education at the
college level. He was particularly interested in special education, and
published several texts in the field. He is best known to the general
public, however, for the formulation of the "Peter Principle." (Click
here for full New Work encyclopedia article)
In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of
incompetence.-The Peter Principle
A fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place.
A man doesn't know what he knows until he knows what he doesn't know.
A rut is a grave with the ends knocked out.
According to obituary notices, a mean and useless citizen never dies.
Against logic there is no armor like ignorance.
All useful work is done by individuals who haven't yet reached their
level of incompetence.
An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he
predicted yesterday didn't happen today.
An intelligence test sometimes shows a man how smart he would have been
not to have taken it.
Aristotle's axiom: The worst form of inequality is to try to make
unequal things equal.
As a matter of fact is an expression that precedes many an expression
Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has
lost its status.
By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually
has a son who thinks he's wrong.
Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man
who will get the blame.
During a campaign the air is full of speeches- and vice versa.
Education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of prejudices.
Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair chance at being
Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.
Fortune knocks but once, but misfortune has much more patience.
History teaches us the mistakes we are going to make.
If two wrongs don't make a right, try three.
If you can tell the difference between good advice and bad advice, you
don't need advice.
If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up
In every organization there is a considerable accumulation of dead wood
in the executive level.
In most hierarchies, super-competence is more objectionable than
In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular.
In time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is
incompetent to carry out its duties. Do not be fooled by apparent
Incompetence plus incompetence equals incompetence
It's better to have loved and lost than to have to do forty pounds of
laundry a week.
Man can live without air for seconds, without water for days, without
food for weeks, and without ideas for years.
Man lives by praise; most of us would rather be hurt by flattery than
helped by criticism.
Many live by their wits but few by their wit.
Middle age is when anything new in the way you feel is most likely a
Money can’t buy love, but it improves your bargaining position.
Never stand when you can sit; never walk when you can ride; never Push
when you can Pull.
Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting
where you heard it.
Political success is the ability, when the inevitable occurs, to get
credit for it.
Some are born good, some make good, and some are caught with the goods.
Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and
well informed just to be undecided about them.
Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force to
an immovable object.
The cream rises until it sours.
The good life starts only when you stop wanting a better one.
The great question is not whether you have failed, but whether you are
content with failure.
The habitually punctual make all their mistakes right on time.
The incompetent with nothing to do can still make a mess of it.
The man who believes he can do it is probably right, and so is the man
who believes he can't.
The man who is always waving the flag usually waives what it stands for.
The man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor
judge of distance.
The most useful of all social graces is the ability to yawn with your
The noblest of all dogs is the hot dog; it feeds the hand that bites it.
The only problems money can solve are money problems.
The only valid rule about the proper length of a statement is that it
achieve its purpose effectively.
The trouble with resisting temptation is that you may not get another
There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and
that is not learning from experience.
Two can live as cheaply as one- if they both have good jobs.
When you see yourself quoted in print and you're sorry you said it, it
suddenly becomes a misquotation.
Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their
level of incompetence.
You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people
some of the time, but you can make a damn fool of yourself any old time.
Laurence J. Peter
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