Hanlon‘s razor

Today I was pointed to a topic by one of my colleagues and thought it would make a great topic for this blog; Hanlon‘s Razor.

It tells the following; „Never attribute malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.“

Let‘s dig a little into this.

People are not evil

Since I have read this like 7 years ago, I am always telling it to every team I am in or managing. It doesn‘t matter in which area you are working, there are always some request that could make you freak out.

For me it was in the beginning of my career, I could freak out about some requests.

Why this fuckhead wants a new version of the freaking software?What did this dumbass do now that his PC stopped working?. I could go on like that 😉

After I heard about Hanlon‘s razor, I thought some time about this. I interpret this principle also to the lack of knowledge, not only stupidity. Maybe the guy requesting the software just doesn‘t know better? Maybe he just wants to help? Maybe he is really doing his best, but cannot get along with it and just needs help.

When I realized that and anchored that to my brain, I am more thoughtful about how I work with other people. That not only applies to the IT world, also in the service world. Most people don‘t have malicious intention. They just want to get their shit done, basically the same thing as you want.

Yeah, but you are not like that…

And all those people just hate you and just want to annoy you. No, they don‘t. Think of the last time you needed to ask someone for help for a topic, you don‘t know shit about.

When I am approaching finance authority people with questions they probably think the same of me, like you are doing for people that are requesting something from you.

If you are getting aware of that, you will think twice who you will be calling an idiot next time.

Everybody is always right

When was the last time you really thought you are right? Then someone came around the corner and proofed you wrong?

It happens to all of us. And there is no issue with that. As long as you admit it and learn from it.

Just put yourself in the situation of the people around you. They also feel right and think their opinion is the only truth. By just being bold and telling them, they are shit and wrong won‘t help you and won‘t help them.

Instead think into their problem and what they really want to achieve. Maybe they are 90 percent right and don‘t need a little hint on the last 10 percent. Give them a little push in the right direction and both of you will be done in a minute, instead of arguing for hours and hours.


People are not evil, sometimes they just don‘t know better. Sure, there may also be malicious intent, but most of the time you can explain it by a lack of knowledge or the wrong motivation.