Business Aphorisms from the Ferengi

As the Trekkies among you will know, the Ferengi are an alien race inhabiting the universe of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The name Ferengi is apparently derived from the Arabic word for European traders, or Westerners in general. The Ferengi are consummate businesspeople—in fact, they believe that money, or at least economic exchange, really does make the worlds go around—and they devised an aphoristic handbook called the Rules of Acquisition that outlines the fundamental principles for Ferengi business dealings. The rules are appropriately pragmatic:

War is good for business.

Peace is good for business.

This kind of opportunism likely won’t win you many friends, but it certainly influences people. The Rules of Acquisition are refreshingly utilitarian. Even though they come across as unpalatable, well, truth usually is. It’s helpful to be reminded of this, especially during troubled economic times. Despite their extraterrestrial origin, the Ferengi aphorisms are not out of this world but very much of it.

Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.

Greed is eternal.

Expand or die.

The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.

Whisper your way to success.

Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don’t hesitate to step on them.

You can’t free a fish from water.