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Rules of Acquisition

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For additional meanings of "Rules of Acquisition", please see Rules of Acquisition.
Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, False profits

A copy of the Rules of Acquisition, cheapest binding possible

"He goes to the Rules of Acquisition. Unabridged and fully annotated, with all 47 commentaries, all 900 major and minor judgments, all 10,000 considered opinions. There's a rule for every conceivable situation."

- Arridor in 2373

The Rules of Acquisition were a numbered series of aphorisms, guidelines, and principles that provided the foundation of business philosophy in Ferengi culture. They were first written ten thousand years ago by Gint, the first Grand Nagus. In the mid-22nd century there were 173 rules, and by the 24th century there were 285. In theory, every Ferengi business transaction strictly follows all 285 rules. (ENT: "Acquisition", DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "The Maquis, Part I", VOY: "False Profits")

There was also a short-lived revised edition of the Rules written by Grand Nagus Zek after having his state of mind changed by the Bajoran Prophets. These rules were almost complete opposites of the original rules and promoted honesty and charity. After Zek recovered, he ordered all copies of the new rules to be destroyed. (DS9: "Prophet Motive")

Official Rules

Number Rule Source
1
Once you have their money, you never give it back. DS9: "The Nagus", "Heart of Stone"
3
Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to. DS9: "The Maquis, Part II"
6
Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.[1] DS9: "The Nagus"; ENT: "Acquisition"
7
Keep your ears open. DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets"
9
Opportunity plus instinct equals profit. DS9: "The Storyteller"
10
Greed is eternal. DS9: "Prophet Motive"; VOY: "False Profits"
16
A deal is a deal.[2] DS9: "Melora"
17
A contract is a contract is a contract ... but only between Ferengi. DS9: "Body Parts"
18
A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all. DS9: "Heart of Stone"
21
Never place friendship above profit. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"
22
A wise man can hear profit in the wind. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"; VOY: "False Profits"
23
Nothing is more important than your health ... except for your money. ENT: "Acquisition"
31
Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother.[3] DS9: "The Siege"
33
It never hurts to suck up to the boss.[4] DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "The Dogs of War"
34
War is good for business[5] DS9: "Destiny", "The Siege of AR-558"
35
Peace is good for business.[6] TNG: "The Perfect Mate"; DS9: "Destiny"
45
Expand or die.[7] ENT: "Acquisition" VOY: "False Profits"
47
Never trust a man wearing a better suit than your own. DS9: "Rivals"
48
The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"
57
Good customers are as rare as latinum. Treasure them. DS9: "Armageddon Game"
59
Free advice is seldom cheap. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"
62
The riskier the road, the greater the profit. DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "Little Green Men", "Business as Usual"
74
Knowledge equals profit. VOY: "Inside Man"
75
Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum. DS9: "Civil Defense"
76
Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies. DS9: "The Homecoming"
94
Females and finances don't mix. DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs", "Profit and Lace"
95
Expand or die. VOY: "False Profits"; ENT: "Acquisition"[7]
98
Every man has his price. DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight"
102
Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever. DS9: "The Jem'Hadar"
103
Sleep can interfere with...[8] DS9: "Rules of Acquisition"
109
Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack. DS9: "Rivals"
111
Treat people in your debt like family ... exploit them. DS9: "Past Tense, Part I", "The Darkness and the Light"
112
Never have sex with the boss's sister. DS9: "Playing God"
125
You can't make a deal if you're dead. DS9: "The Siege of AR-558"
139
Wives serve, brothers inherit. DS9: "Necessary Evil"
168
Whisper your way to success. DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River"
- A man is only worth the sum of his possessions.[9] ENT: "Acquisition"
190
Hear all, trust nothing. DS9: "Call to Arms"
194
It's always good to know about new customers before they walk in your door. DS9: "Whispers"
203
New customers are like razor-toothed gree-worms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back. DS9: "Little Green Men"
208
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs"
211
Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them. DS9: "Bar Association"
214
Never begin a negotiation on an empty stomach. DS9: "The Maquis, Part I"
217
You can't free a fish from water. DS9: "Past Tense, Part I"
223
(incomplete, but presumably concerned the relationship between "keeping busy" and "being successful") DS9: "Profit and Loss"
229
Latinum lasts longer than lust. DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs"
239
Never be afraid to mislabel a product.[10] DS9: "Body Parts"
263
Never allow doubt to tarnish your lust for latinum. DS9: "Bar Association"
285
No good deed ever goes unpunished. DS9: "The Collaborator", "The Sound of Her Voice"

Unofficial Rules

The following sayings were either not given a number, not explicitly stated to be a Rule, or were not part of the generally-accepted canon by the Ferengi Commerce Authority.

Number Rule Source
286 When Morn leaves, it's all over.[11] DS9: "The House of Quark"
299 After you've exploited someone, it never hurts to thank them. That way, it's easier to exploit them next time.[12] VOY: "False Profits"
Exploitation begins at home.[13] VOY: "False Profits"
(The unwritten rule) When no appropriate rule applies, make one up.[14] VOY: "False Profits"
When the messenger comes to appropriate your profits ... kill the messenger.[15] VOY: "False Profits"
Time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity.[16] DS9: "Bar Association"
Always inspect the merchandise before making a deal.[17] DS9: "The Abandoned"
Money is money, but females are better.[18] DS9: "Life Support"
Why ask, when you can take?[19] DS9: "Babel"
A good lie is easier to believe than the truth.[20] VOY: "Shattered"
If that's what's written, then that's what's written.[21] DS9: "Favor the Bold"

Notes

  1. As late as 2151 the rule was quoted as being slightly different. "Never allow family to stand in the way of profit" (where profit replaces opportunity). (ENT: "Acquisition")
  2. Legends of the Ferengi concludes Rule #16 with "...until a better one comes along."
  3. Legends of the Ferengi concludes Rule #31 with "...insult something he cares about instead."
  4. Brunt stated a variation of this Rule (without referring to it by number) with: "It's never too early to suck up to the boss".
  5. Quark has stated a corollary: "only from a distance, the closer to the front lines, the less profitable it gets"
  6. Although spoken before the production staff's creation of the Rules of Acquisition, Par Lenor stated something quite similar to this rule: "Peace is good for trade ... unless you happen to be an arms merchant!"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Rule of Acquisition #95 was quoted as Rule #45 in ENT: "Acquisition". It might be possible though, that in the roughly 200 years between the two episodes, the arrangement of the Rules of Acquisition slightly changed. Alternatively, it may have been decided that the rule bears repeating. Indeed, this may be self-referential.
  8. This rule was interrupted before it could be finished.
  9. Though not given a number, this rule was clearly official, among the first 173, and considered "the most important one" by Krem
  10. In DS9: "Body Parts", it is suggested in a dream of Quark's, that the Rules of Acquisition themselves are merely guidelines, and the book was mislabeled by Gint so as to sell more copies than the "Suggestions of Acquisition." However, this may be no more than Quark trying to justify breaking rule #17, since this rule is obviously higher than ENT's "original" 173 rules. It could also be noted that the Grand Nagus has the power to change the Rules of Acquisition, so it is still possible this rule changed position over time (DS9: "Prophet Motive").
  11. Personal rule of Quark's. Rom noted there was no such rule, to which Quark replied that there should be.
  12. May be a purely fictional rule, as it was quoted by Neelix, who had no previous contact with Ferengi, and it did not exist by the time the target Ferengi became stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
  13. Arridor and Kol taught the Takarians this saying. It was not stated whether it was an official rule or not.
  14. According to Arridor.
  15. Invented by Arridor.
  16. This saying was quoted by Brunt to Quark. It is unknown whether it is an official rule or not.
  17. Not quoted word for word, but when Sisko asks if such a rule exists, Quark acknowledges that there is. Quark may be referring to the apocryphal Rule 218 (see below).
  18. A personal rule quoted by Nog despite its direct contradiction to rules 94 and 229.
  19. As told to Odo by Quark when the latter illegally uses replicators in empty crew quarters. He seems to have been paraphrasing the apocryphal Rule 52 (see below).
  20. This un-numbered "rule"'s provenance derives merely from Janeway quoting it as something "the Ferengi say". It may not, therefore, be a genuine Rule.
  21. Rom says this to Quark when urging him to complete a very important mission that could end with the two being killed. From the implicit understanding Quark displays, and the lack of prior reference to any "written" materials, it's likely that this is in fact a Rule, probably referring to the finality of a business contract, here used out of this original context.

Appendices

Background Information

The Rules of Acquisition were created at the beginning of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (beginning with "The Nagus") and were mentioned throughout the Star Trek spinoffs.

Apocrypha

Deep Space Nine writers Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe expanded upon the Rules and Ferengi culture in the non-canon books, The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition and Legends of the Ferengi.

The following rules are derived from non-canon sources:

Number Rule Source
2 The best deal is the one that brings the most profit. The 34th Rule (1999)
2 Money is everything. Strange New Worlds 9 (2006)
8 Small print leads to large risk. Legends of the Ferengi
13 Anything worth doing is worth doing for money. Legends of the Ferengi
19 Satisfaction is not guaranteed. Legends of the Ferengi
27 There is nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman. Legends of the Ferengi
40 She can touch your lobes, but never your latinum. Legends of the Ferengi
41 Profit is its own reward. Legends of the Ferengi
44 Never confuse wisdom with luck. Legends of the Ferengi
52 Never ask when you can take. Legends of the Ferengi
53 Never trust anybody taller than you. Twilight
54 Rate divided by time equals profit. (also known as the "velocity of wealth") Raise the Dawn
55 Take joy from profit and profit from joy. Raise the Dawn
58 There is no substitute for success. Legends of the Ferengi
60 Keep your lies consistent. Legends of the Ferengi
65 Win or lose, there's always Hupyrian beetle snuff. Legends of the Ferengi
68 Risk doesn't always equal reward. Star Trek Online
77 If you break it, I'll charge you for it. Star Trek Online
79 Beware of the Vulcan greed for knowledge. Legends of the Ferengi
82 The flimsier the product, the higher the price. Legends of the Ferengi
85 Never let the competition know what you're thinking. Legends of the Ferengi
87 Learn the customer's weaknesses so you can better take advantage of them. Star Trek: Elite Force II
89 Ask not what your profits can do for you, but what you can do for your profits. Legends of the Ferengi
97 Enough... is never enough. Legends of the Ferengi
97 If you can't take it with you, don't go. I, Q
99 Trust is the biggest liability of all. Legends of the Ferengi
104 Faith moves mountains... of inventory. Legends of the Ferengi
106 There is no honor in poverty. Legends of the Ferengi
113 Always have sex with the boss. Legends of the Ferengi, The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
121 Everything is for sale, even friendship. Legends of the Ferengi
123 Even a blind man can recognize the glow of latinum. Legends of the Ferengi
141 Only fools pay retail. Legends of the Ferengi
144 There's nothing wrong with charity... as long as it winds up in your pocket. Legends of the Ferengi
147 People love the bartender. Fearful Symmetry
162 Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit. Legends of the Ferengi
177 Know your enemies... but do business with them always. Legends of the Ferengi
181 Not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit. Legends of the Ferengi
189 Let others keep their reputation. You keep their latinum. Legends of the Ferengi
192 Never cheat a Klingon... unless you can get away with it. Legends of the Ferengi
193 It's never too late to fire the staff Cathedral
193 Trouble comes in threes. Star Trek Online
202 The justification for profit is profit. Legends of the Ferengi
218 Always know what you're buying. Legends of the Ferengi
218 Sometimes what you get free costs entirely too much. Malibu DS9: "Baby on Board"
223 Beware the man who doesn't make time for oo-mox. Legends of the Ferengi
235 Duck; death is tall. Twilight
236 You can't buy fate. Legends of the Ferengi
242 More is good. All is better. Legends of the Ferengi
255 A wife is a luxury... a smart accountant a necessity. Legends of the Ferengi
261 A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. Legends of the Ferengi
266 When in doubt, lie. Legends of the Ferengi
267 If you believe it, they believe it. Star Trek Titan: Taking Wing
284 Deep down, everyone's a Ferengi. Legends of the Ferengi
305 Always be considerate. (Not a real Rule, of course, but quoted by Quark.) Twilight

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