Open main menu

Laurence J. Peter

Canadian eductor


Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.
  • In every organization there is a considerable accumulation of dead wood in the executive level.

The Peter Principle (1969)Edit

Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull (1969) The Peter Principle
  • In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.
  • 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 exceptions.
    • p. 36 cited in: James Ike Schaap (2011)
  • Some Blockett-type employees actually believe that they have received a genuine promotion; others recognize the truth. But the main function of a pseudo-promotion is to deceive people outside the hierarchy. When this is achieved, the maneuver is counted a success.
    • p. 38: This phenomenon is called by Peter "percussive sublimation", or "being kicked upstairs".
  • Never stand when you can sit; never walk when you can ride; never Push when you can Pull.
    • p. 63
  • Incompetence plus incompetence equals incompetence
    • p. 107 (The Mathematics of Incompetence)

Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Time (1977)Edit

Laurence J. Peter (1977) Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Time ISBN 0-688-03217-6
  • The only valid rule about the proper length of a statement is that it achieve its purpose effectively.
    • p. 10: Introduction
  • On second thought, maybe the atheist cannot find God, for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman.
    • p. 44: Sometimes misattributed to Francis Thompson, whose quote "An atheist is a man who believes himself an accident" Peter was commenting on.
  • Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.
    • p. 83
  • If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.
    • p. 125
  • The habitually punctual make all their mistakes right on time.
    • p. 181
  • Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force into an immovable object.
    • p. 324
  • If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?
    • p. 333
      • Frequently mistaken as quote by Albert Einstein.
  • Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.
    • p. 362
  • When you see yourself quoted in print and you're sorry you said it, it suddenly becomes a misquotation.
    • p. 418

Peter's Almanac (1982)Edit

Laurence J. Peter (1977) Peter's Almanac ISBN 9780688016128
  • Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.
    • Entry for September 24; as quoted in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1993), ed. Suzy Platt, Library of Congress, ISBN 0880297689, p. 78

About Laurence J. PeterEdit

  • Dr. Peter effectively destroys examples of seeming exceptions and is rather convincing that his principle is ubiquitous.
    • Lawrence Lipsitz, Editor (1973) The Process of Innovation in Education. p. 26

External linksEdit