Gerald Weinberg’s law of twins

In his book Secrets of Consulting, Gerald Weinberg tells the story of a woman who had several pairs of twins. Someone asked her if she and her husband got twins every time. She replied no, most of the time they got nothing at all. Just as intimacy doesn’t usually result in one child, much less two, most efforts in business don’t produce any significant results. Weinberg summarizes this observation in Weinberg’s Law of Twins:

Most of the time, for most of the world, no matter how hard people work at it, nothing of any significance happens.

Later he turns this around and states the principle more positively in Weinberg’s Law of Twins, Inverted:

Some of the time, in some places, significant change happens — especially when people aren’t working hard at it.

Related post: Four reasons we don’t apply the 80/20 rule.

3 thoughts on “Gerald Weinberg’s law of twins

  1. This reminded me of an observation I made after 9/11, for what it’s worth.

    If you recall there were a lot of stories of folks who should have perished but didn’t. One man was late to work because he took his kid to school personally. Another was late because she was running an errand. Another missed their train.

    But a lot of people got to work early.

  2. Of course, and I believe in first expression more than second (negatively true:) –these two statements are a few different, are not?

  3. Methinks that by the time the first set of twins occurred, the great majority of non-significant results had already happened.

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