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Economy 101: Best of Ferengi’s Rules of Acquisition

ferengi rules of acquisition economy business

Before I started watching Star Trek Deep Space Nine over Netflix, the Ferengi must have been one of the ugliest, most snobbish and profit-minded alien race in the Star Trek universe. But then watching Quark in Star Trek Deep Space Nine gave another interesting perspective on the Ferengis. Image source: Star

Read these first:-

TV Shows 101: A Quick Guide to Star Trek – Part 1
TV Shows 101: A Quick Guide to Star Trek – Part 2

Some Background

It was interesting to note that Gene Roddenberry – the creator of Star Trek and the Star Trek: The Next Generation’s writers decided to introduce a new alien species to serve as antagonists for the crew of the USS Enterprise-D and they decided on the Ferengi. But they then decided that the Ferengi was not menacing enough and replaced the Ferengi with the Romulans and then the Borg as primary antagonists.

In the fictional Star Trek universe, the Rules of Acquisition are a collection of sacred business proverbs of the ultra-capitalist race known as the Ferengi.

The first Rule was made by Gint, the first Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance, a role with political, economic, and even quasi-religious duties. The Rules were said to be divinely inspired and sacred (thus furthering the original marketing ploy.)

Although it has been stated within Star Trek that there are 285 Rules, not all of them have been stated in canon. Most of the Rules were written by Ira Steven Behr, a writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in a book The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

The book’s cover credits authorship as being “By Quark as told to Ira Steven Behr.” Additional rules were published in Legends of the Ferengi by Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe, another writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when Behr was the executive producer of the series.


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My Personal Favourites

Out of the many hundred rules in the Ferengi’s Rules of Acquisition, there are some prominent and interesting ones that I have applied in the past. Some of my personal favourites and my comments are these:-

Rules of Acquisition No 3

Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.
Comment: I still recall pondering on this very rule when someone suggested me to consider buying the overrated, overpriced Perodua Myvi over another cheaper, better-equipped and roomier model. I just don’t see the point of paying for something that should not worth the money on the sale.

Rules of Acquisition No 7

Keep your ears open.
Comment: You may just never know what you may overhear that may be beneficial to you in the near future.

Rules of Acquisition No 8

Small print leads to large risk.
Comment: Of course, the bankers and money lenders favourite and probably the oldest trick in the book – the details in the fine print which no ones ever read.

Rules of Acquisition No 27

There’s nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman.
Comment: This was a lesson well learned and taught in the movie “Rocket Singh – The Salesman of the Year”. The issue is it is dangerous to whom.

Rules of Acquisition No 29

What’s in it for me?
Comment: Nothing is free in this world – all work done must be paid in form of cash or benefits. After all, your time is as valuable as others. I learned this when I did a job for someone to prepare bidding papers but I did not get paid in return once the job was done.

Rules of Acquisition No 33

It never hurts to suck up to the boss.
Comment: Over the years, I have learned that good bosses do not look for only good praises and sweet words from the subordinates but instead direct and genuine appraisals and feedback. They appreciate it if when one tells them of their shortcomings and weaknesses so that they can continue to improve and be better leaders.

Rules of Acquisition No 43

Feed your greed, but not enough to choke it.
Comment: Never take your eyes from the end objectives and go all out for it but then again, be prepared to retreat when it is impossible or when your luck is up.

Rules of Acquisition No 48

The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife
Comment: This statement is self-evident especially when you are dealing with your competitors who always waiting to outbid and outdo you.

Rules of Acquisition No 57

Good customers are as rare as latinum—treasure them.
Comment: I lost count of businesses that had lost good customers (or customers) with their poor service or low-quality products. This also includes restaurants and food stalls that think that you owe them something.

Rules of Acquisition No 85

Never let the competition know what you’re thinking
Comment: In businesses, dealing with your competitors is like playing chess – you will be losing if you show your strategy upfront.

Rules of Acquisition No 88

It ain’t over ’til its over.
Comment: Something I often use in my projects – even if we have only minutes to spare, we will still push to get things done. In other words, it is not over till the fat lady sings. It has indeed worked wonders over the years.

Rules of Acquisition No 103

Sleep can interfere with opportunity.
Comment: Wake up early to seize the day – same goes for opening business during the holidays when others have closed their business.

Rules of Acquisition No 108

Hope doesn’t keep the lights on
Comment: No action, talk only will not bring any positive results and so is hoping for something will not cause the results to happen. Real action must take place if you want to see results.

Rules of Acquisition No 151

Even when you’re a customer, sell yourself.
Comment: So is true when you are a staff in a large organisation and appraisal time is around the corner – if you are unknown, then no one will know your talents and skills. It is the same during interviews.

Rules of Acquisition No 208

Sometimes, the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer.
Comment: Always remember to think and pause for a moment before you answer anyone anything. Sometimes the direct and simple answer would do in reply to a difficult question.

Rules of Acquisition No 217

Always know what you’re buying.
Comment: Always do your research and check past reviews, comments and feedback before you proceed to purchase anything. Impulse buying is bad even with the trickery of huge discounts and hard to miss sales.

Final Say on Rules of Acquisition

You don’t have to be a Ferengi to be governed by the rules of acquisition and these itself is not something new considering we have heard the same somewhere before (start with “Confucious says…”).

Some of these Ferengi rules are of course will not make any sense in this part of the galaxy but then again some others apply to the dot with a slight twist.

Unlike in the Star Trek world of fantasy, some of these rules not necessarily be used to drive higher profit. These rules are a good base for personal development and are useful for both businesses and customers to apply the same business savvy wisdom.

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