Tue, 16 Mar 2004

Hofstadter’s Law

I’ve been reading Gödel, Escher, Bach (GEB). It is a book I’ve owned for many years. At least once before, I made an attempt to read it. It is not, however, a quick, easy read. There’s a certain amount of determination required. After having GEB on my bedside reading table for many months, occasionally thumbing through it reading random sections and admiring the Escher drawings, I’ve begun a front-to-back read in earnest.

One of the many gems I’ve discovered so far is Hofstadter’s Law:

It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Anyone in software development is intimately familiar with Hofstadter’s Law whether they know it by that name or not.

Jonathan Lundquist and I coined our own version of Hofstadter’s Law in an even tighter loop than Hofstadter’s. In fact, it addresses why things take longer. Let’s call it Marc and Jon’s Law:

Everything is harder than it is.

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