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ABOUT THE RULES
1. Once you have their money, you never
give it back.
1. If they want their money back, give it to them.
2. You can't cheat an honest customer, but it never hurts to try.
3. Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.
4. A woman wearing clothes is like a man in the kitchen.
5. If you can't break a contract, bend it.
6. Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.
7. Keep your ears open.
8. Small print leads to large risk.
8. Only a fool passes up a business opportunity.
9. Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.
10. Greed is eternal.
10. Greed is dead.
11. Even if it's free, you can always buy it cheaper.
12. Anything worth selling is worth selling twice.
13. Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
14. Keep your family close; keep your latinum closer.
15.Acting stupid is often smart.
16. A deal is a deal... until a better one comes along.
17. A contract is a contract is a contract--but only between Ferengi.
18. A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.
19. Satisfaction is not guaranteed.
20. Only give money to people you know you can steal from.
21. Never place friendship before profit.
21. Never place profit before friendship.
22. A wise man can hear profit in the wind.
22. Latinum tarnishes, but family is forever.
23. Money can never replace dignity.
24. Latinum can't buy happiness, but you can sure have a blast renting it.
25. There's always a way out.
26. As the customers go, so goes the wise profiteer.
27. There's nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman.
30. Talk is cheap; synthehol costs money.
31. Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother. (Insult something he cares about, instead.)
32. Be careful what you sell. It may do exactly what the customer expects.
33. It never hurts to suck up to the boss.
34. War is good for business.
35. Peace is good for business.
37. Don't trust a man wearing a better suit than your own.
39. Friendship is temporary; profit is forever.
40. She can touch your lobes, but never your latinum.
41. Profit is its own reward.
42. What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine too.
43. Caressing an ear is often more forceful than pointing a weapon.
44. Never confuse wisdom with luck.
45. Ambition knows no family.
46. Make your shop easy to find.
47. Never trust anyone whose suit is nicer than your own.
48. The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
49. Everything is worth something to somebody.
50. Gratitude can bring on generosity.
52. Never ask when you can take.
57. Good customers are as rare as latinum--treasure them.
58. There is no substitute for success.
59. Free advice is seldom cheap.
60. Keep your lies consistent.
60. Let's you and him fight.
61. Never buy what can be stolen.
62. The riskier the road, the greater the profit.
65. Win or lose, there's always Huyperian beetle snuff.
65. Huyperian beetle snuff may be fun for you and me, but it's no fun for the beetles.
68. Ear stroking will get you anything.
69. Ferengi are not responsible for the stupidity of other races.
70. Get the money first, then let the buyers worry about collecting the merchandise.
72. Never trust your customers.
73. If it gets you profit, sell your own mother.
75. Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum.
76. Every once in a while declare peace.
77. It's better to swallow your pride than to lose your profit.
78. When the going gets tough, the tough change the Rules.
79. Beware of the Vulcan greed for knowledge.
82. The flimsier the product, the higher the price.
84. A friend is not a friend if he asks for a discount.
85. Never let the competition know what you're thinking.
87. A friend in need means three times the profit.
89. Ask not what your profits can do for you, but what you can do for your profits.
94. Females and finances don't mix.
95. Expand or die.
96. For every Rule, there is an equal and opposite Rule (except when there's not).
97. Enough... is never enough.
98. Act without delay! The sharp knife cuts quickly.
99. Trust is the biggest liability of all.
100. If they take your first offer, you either asked too little or offered too much.
101. The only value of a collectible is what you can get somebody else to pay for it.
102. Nature decays, but latinum is forever.
103. Sleep can interfere with opportunity.
103. Fill a desparate need with your most expensive product, then mark it up 500%.
104. Faith moves mountains... of inventory.
105. Don't trust anyone who trusts you.
106. There is no honor in poverty.
107. A warranty is valid only if they can find you.
109. Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.
111. Treat people in your debt like family--exploit them.
112. Never have sex with the boss' sister.
113. Always have sex with the boss.
115. The best contract always has a lot of fine print.
116. There's always a catch.
117. You can't free a fish from water.
119. Never judge a customer by the size of his wallet. (Sometimes, good things come in small packages.)
121. Everything is for sale, even friendship.
123. Even a blind man can recognize the glow of latinum.
125. Count it.
127. Stay neutral in conflict so that you can sell supplies to both sides.
135. Never trust a beneficiary.
139. Wives serve; brothers inherit.
141. Only fools pay retail.
142. There's no such thing as an unfair advantage.
143. Risk is part of the game--play it for all it's worth.
144. There's nothing wrong with charity... as long as it winds up in your pocket.
146. Necessity, n. The mother of invention. Profit is the father.
152. A lie is a way to tell the truth to someone who doesn't know.
153. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.
162. Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit.
169. Competition and fair play are mutually exclusive.
171. Blood it thicker than water, and latinum is thicker than both.
172. Chances aren't what they used to be.
177. Know your enemies... but do business with them always.
181. Not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit.
188. A fool and his money is the best customer.
189. Let others keep their reputation. You keep their money.
190. Hear all; trust nothing.
191. A Ferengi waits to bid until his opponents have exhausted themselves.
192. Never cheat a Klingon... unless you're sure you can get away with it.
194. It's always good business to know about new customers before they walk in your door.
200. If you're going to have to endure, make yourself comfortable.
202. The justification of profit is profit.
203. New customers are like razor-backed Greeworms--they can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back!
204. It takes a Ferengi to cheat a Ferengi.
208. Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than the question is an answer.
211. Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success--don't hesitate to step on them.
212. Never give away for free what can be sold.
214. Never begin a business negotiation on an empty stomach.
216. Never gamble with an empath.
217. You can't free a fish from water.
218. Always know what you're buying.
218. Sometimes what you get free costs entirely too much.
219. Possession is 11/10 of the law.
223. Beware the man who doesn't make time for oo-mox.
229. Latinum lasts longer than lust.
231. There's a sucker born every minute; be sure you're the first to find each one.
236. You can't buy fate.
239. Never be afraid to mislabel a product.
242. More is good... all is better.
255. A wife is a luxury... a smart accountant, a necessity.
256. Accountants do not play the game; they only keep the score.
260. Life's not fair. How else would you turn a profit?
261. A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience.
262. A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
263. Never allow doubt to tarnish your lust for latinum.
265. The customer is always right (...until you get their cash).
266. When in doubt, lie.
267. If you believe it, they believe it.
270. In business deals, a disruptor can be almost as important as a calculator.
273. Never trust a hardworking employee.
277. Anything worth fighting for is worth hiding from.
284. Deep down, everyone's a Ferengi.
285. No good deed ever goes unpunished.
285. A good deed is its own reward.
286. When Morn leaves, it's all over.
?. One person's secret is another person's opportunity. Quark, Devil in the Sky
?. You can tell a great deal about a man from his shoes. Merchant, "False Profits"
?. Time's an asset. Merchant, "False Profits"
?. Your goods are now my goods. Merchant, "False Profits"
?. Exploitation begins at home. Arridor and the Sandalmaker, "False Profits"
?. When you see a good deal, jump on it. Quark, Saratoga
?. A Ferengi without a head for business has no future. Nog, Saratoga
?. Business is business, even among friends. Odo, Saratoga
?. Everything has a price. Pol, Federation
Thanks to Bruce Mitchell for rules no's 2,5,15,30,32,37,43,61,70,103,112,113,117,212...
When no appropriate Rule applies, make one up. (The unwritten rule) [Example: When the messenger comes to appropriate your profits, kill the messenger.] Arridor, "False Profits"
About the Rules
The first Grand Nagus. Gint, is generally regarded as the author of the Rules of Acquisition, the sacred precepts upon which all of Ferengi society is based. But they are just written down, not carved in stone. Even if they were, they're only guideposts; the name "Rules of Acquisition" was only a clever marketing ploy. After all, would you buy a book called "Suggestions of Acquisition"? ("Body Parts")
In fact, Gint only wrote the first Rule of Acquisition, cleverly calling it the 162nd Rule to createa demand for the first 161 (Rules). His successor, Yost, wrote the second Rule, number 104. Many of the Rules were written by the Grand Nagi over the years, but some came from Ferengi businessmen or entertainers. Only one Rule was written by a non-Ferengi: Rule 95 was written by The Masked Breen (the Ferengi didn't know at the time that all Breen are masked). (Legends)
There are 285 Rules of Acquisition altogether (Pel, "Rules of Acquisition"), and there have been since at least stardate 43385 (TNG's "The Price"). As of that stardate, there were 47 commentaries, 900 major and minor adjustments, and over 10,000 considered opinions (Voyager's "False Profits"), though more have likely been added since, including an amendment the Ferengi government was considering on stardate 47829 (TNG's "Bloodlines").
Notes on specific Rules
The second Rules numbered 1, 10, 21, 22, 65, and 285, and the Rule listed as number 23, were "The Rules of Acquisition, Revised For the Modern Ferengi" from "Prophet Motive". These revised Rules were never officially released, as Zek rescinded them after a prophet experience.
Rules 34 and 35, "War is good for business" and "Peace is good for business", respectively, are easy to confuse. In "Destiny", Dax called "Peace" the 34th Rule, but Quark corrected her that "Peace" was Rule 35. However, in Objective: Bajor, Rom called "War" the 35th Rule. The 34th Rule is a novel written by Armin Shimerman and David George, available in February, 1998. It remains to be seen whether peace or war will be good for profit in this book.
Quark may have referred to Rule 60 in "Visionary". When he was accused of lying about his story, he asked, "Which part?" The response was "All of it", and Quark offered "At least I was consistent."
In the hardcover novel Federation, a Romulan Bird-of-Prey owned by Ferengi was named "The 62nd Rule". This was in the third season of TNG, and Data did not understand the reference, so it is likely that the Federation did not know much about Ferengi culture until later.
Pel may have invented what she said for the Rule 103.
The omission of Rules 112 and 113 was necessary to maintain the family-friendliness of this website.
"Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit" was actually the first Rule of Acquisition ever put to parchment, thousands of years ago. Nagus Gint called it the 162nd Rule to increase demand for Rules 1 through 161. (Rules) The second Rule was number 104, written by Gint's successor. (Legends)
Tunk misidentified Rule 191 as 184.
Quark referred to Rule 189 in "Babel". He asked Odo if he wanted to take a spin at the Dabo table. "If it's your reputation you're worried about, nobody has to know."
Quark wasn't certain of the number for the Rule listed as 194. "It's one of the high-numbered ones... 194, I think."
In "Past Tense, Part I", Quark called "You can't free a fish from water" as the 217th Rule, but in Rules, he called it the 117th. He corrected himself in Legends of the Ferengi that it was, in fact, the 217th.
Quark may have been referring to Rule 218 in "The Abandoned" when someone asked him if there was a Rule about checking merchandise before buying it.
Quark mentioned Rule #243 in "Profit and Loss", though he did not quote the text of the Rule.
Rule 286 isn't a real Rule, of course, but it should be, according to Quark.
Rule 299 was invented by Neelix, posing as the Grand Proxy, the official messenger for the Grand Nagus. He claimed that several new Rules of Acquisition had been adopted since Arridor and Kol left the Arpha Quadrant, seven years prior.
Who wrote the Rules?
Legend: 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 27, 31, 33 Grand Nagus Drik: 7 Grand Nagus Frek: 9 Stoonk: 18 Lonz: 22
Rules coming from episodes are considered "canon", and are given higher precedence than Rules coming from comics, novels, and other sources.
The Pocket Books book The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition included most of the Rules from the series and added many more. This source is listed here as simply Rules. Legends of the Ferengi is a collection of one- and two-page stories explaining the source of all of the Rules of Acquisition that were listed in Rules, along with others mentioned in episodes after that book came out.
Maintained by Stephen McInerney
Copyright © 1998 Stephen McInerney