An aphorism (from Greek ἀφορισμός: aphorismos, denoting ‘delimitation’, ‘distinction’, and ‘definition’) is a concise, terse, laconic, or memorable expression of a general truth or principle.


My aphorisms:

1 - Fewer moving pieces is better. Corollary: unnecessary flexibility is bad.

2 - (stronger) - More than minimum number of moving pieces is bad.

3 - DO care about intent. In code, outside of code.

4 - Late binding is awesome.

5 - Never link to content without significance and context. Answer “Why do I find this worthwhile?” and “Where is this applicable?”.

6 - Consider modeling all possible states as one data type. Fewer edge cases are easier to manage.

7 - When “How does X work?”, consider how your documentation can be improved.

8 - Don’t require hierarchy to be equal to legibility. You will risk creating a Bed of Procrustes.

9 - Emacs is a tool for research. Working with source code is research.

10 - When in doubt, do that which builds trust.

11 - When still in doubt, do that which reifies and distributes intent.

12 - When still in doubt, reduce WIP.

13 - When STILL in doubt, improve your specific & general feedback loops.

14 - Cultivate your taste. Ask yourself what you like. Then ask why.

15 - Good: exploring your taste, aesthetic & values. Bad: comparing yourself with others.

16 - Asking a specific question and generalizing later is often easier than the opposite. Rich, specific context reduces the need for denotation.

17 - Don’t ask people to change their behavior. That is not something they can give you. Instead, ask for something specific they can do to help you now.

18 - When exploring, prioritize cohesion over loose coupling. Explorations should be clearly tied to the initiative they are working for. Keeping the exploration singular ensures clarity and deletability.

19 - Theory should be designed with its application in mind.

Other people whose aphorisms I’ve found to be useful:

Person Aphorisms
Adam Wiggins https://gist.github.com/adamwiggins/5687294
Nassim Taleb https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bed_of_Procrustes
Friedrich Nietzsche https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thus_Spoke_Zarathustra
Steven Mittens https://acko.net/blog/lessons-from-interesting-people/
Dustin Getz https://www.dustingetz.com/#/page/aphorisms%20for%20founders%20and%20product%20managers