Laurence J. Peter

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Some people seem to go through life standing at the complaint counter.
Fred Propp Jr.
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Dr. Laurence J. Peter (1919-09-161990-01-12) was an educator and management theorist best known for having formulated the Peter Principle.


  • In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.
    • The Peter Principle (1968), ch. 1
    • Statement of the Peter Principle
  • Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.
  • Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force into an immovable object.
    • Peter's Quotations, p. 324
  • When you see yourself quoted in print and you're sorry you said it, it suddenly becomes a misquotation.
    • Peter's Quotations, p. 418
  • The only valid rule about the proper length of a statement is that it achieve its purpose effectively.
    • Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Time, Introduction, p. 10
  • The habitually punctual make all their mistakes right on time.
    • Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Time, p. 181


  • Cleaning anything involves making something else dirty, but anything can get dirty without something else getting clean.
  • Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.
    • Ascribed by The Oxford Dictionary of Medical Quotations to Dr. Gareth Beynon (b. 1940), the quote has also been widely attributed to William Scholl, B. J. Palmer, Laurence Peter and Ted Turner
  • In spite of warnings, nothing much happens until the status quo becomes more painful than change.
  • Marriage is a romance in which the hero dies in the first chapter.
  • The hardest thing in life is to learn which bridge to cross and which to burn.
  • The noblest dog is the hot dog. It feeds the hand that bites it.

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