The rule of three

omne trium perfectum

— Latin for “everything that comes in threes is perfect.”

Kudos to a previous manager of mine, Murali Krishnan, whom I met while working at Transform for demonstrating true mastery over the rule of three and opening my eyes to its power.

The rule of three (of which there is so much written that it needs a disambiguation page) is an incredibly potent tool to communicate ideas, persuade others, and to tell stories.

  1. A threefold model lends explanatory power to difficult-to-explain topics, simplifying the conceptual model and providing and elegant framework to teach.
  2. Problems often cleanly subdivide into three sub-problems.
  3. The cadence and presentation of threes tend to be inherently agreeable to humans, augmenting credibility and persuasiveness.

See also: The Rule of Three, by Kevlin Henney