What is Sturgeon’s Law?
It’s simple: Ninety percent of everything is crud.
Sturgeon’s Law is named after science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon, who coined it in 1951. He originally referred to it as Sturgeon’s Revelation regarding science fiction when he said, “Ninety percent of [science fiction] is crud, but then, ninety percent of everything is crud.”
He said that the original law was, “Nothing is always absolutely so.” Regardless, today his revelation is now known as Sturgeon’s Law.
In the March 1958 edition of the science fiction magazine Venture he expanded on it:
I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other art forms.
Sturgeon’s law is similar to the Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 Rule.
Evidence of Sturgeon’s Law
How many restaurants are actually good? McDonald’s is one of the most ubiquitous, profitable chain restaurants in the world—and it’s not even that good. The food and nutritional quality are subpar. How about TV shows? Even with 500+ satellite channels most of the programming is utter garbage. Clothing? Most clothing these days falls apart after 2-5 washes. Politicians? Not even going there!
What Does Sturgeon’s Law Have to Do With You?
Keep your eyes open- have discernment. This doesn’t mean that you turn into Percival the Pessismist, finding gloom and doom everywhere you look. It means that stay away from slippery situations and slippery people. Instead of complaining at work and gossiping away in the lunchroom, rise above the negative influence and choose to be in the top ten percent of positivity and productivity, regardless of what drama swirls around you. Even if most people around you are choosing self-sabotage, procrastination, fear over faith, and diving into debauchery–that doesn’t mean you need to need to follow them off a cliff. Speak up, take a stand, and do something!
Most likely, you’ll find a handful of people in that 90% who were too afraid to speak up, and are glad that you did so. Now it’s up to YOU to lead them to make a change together.