Rules of Acquisition

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The Rules of Acquisition were a numbered series of aphorisms, guidelines, and principles that provided the foundation of business philosophy in Ferengi culture. In the mid-22nd century there were 173 rules, but by the 24th century there were 285. Commentaries existed for the Rules. (ENT: "Acquisition", DS9: "Rules of Acquisition")

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[edit]

  • 1 - Once you have their money, you never give it back.(DS9|The Nagus|Heart of Stone)
  • 3 - Never pay more for an acquisition than you have to.(DS9|The Maquis, Part II)
  • 6 - Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity. (ENT|Acquisition; DS9|The Nagus; ENT|Acquisition)
    • 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).
  • 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....until a better one comes along."(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)
  • 33 - Nothing is more important than your health ... except for your money. (ENT|Acquisition)
  • 31 - (Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother...insult something he cares about instead." (DS9|The Siege)
  • 33 - It never hurts to suck up to the boss. (DS9|Rules of Acquisition|The Dogs of War)
    • 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". (DS9|The Dogs of War)
  • 34 - War is good for business. (DS9|Destiny|The Siege of AR-558)
    • Quark has stated a corollary: "only from a distance, the closer to the front lines, the less profitable it gets"
  • 35 - Peace is good for business. (TNG|The Perfect Mate;DS9|Destiny)
    • 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!"
  • 45 - Expand or die. (ENT|Acquisition)
    • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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 your lust for latinum.(DS9|Rules of Acquisition)
    • This rule was interrupted before it could be finished.
  • 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." (ENT|Acquisition)
    • Though not given a number, this rule was clearly official, among the first 173, and considered "the most important one" by Krem
  • 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)
  • 229 - Latinum lasts longer than lust. (DS9|Ferengi Love Songs)
  • 239 - Never be afraid to mislabel a product.(DS9|Prophet Motive)
  • 263 - Never let doubt interfere with your lust for latinum.(DS9|Bar Association)
  • 285 - No good deed ever goes unpunished. (DS9|The Collaborator|The Sound of Her Voice)
    • 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 Star Trek: ENTerprise'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 .

Unofficial Rules[edit]

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.

  • 142 - Only fools sell wholesale. (See Apocrypha Rule 141)
  • 286 - When Morn leaves, it's all over. (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.(VOY|False Profits)
    • 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
  • Exploitation begins at home. (VOY|False Profits)
  • The unwritten rule -When no appropriate rule applies, make one up.(VOY|False Profits)
  • When the messenger comes to appropriate your profits ... kill the messenger. (VOY|False Profits)
  • Time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity.(DS9|Bar Association)
  • Always inspect the merchandise before making a deal.(DS9|The Abandoned)
    • Not quoted word for word, but when Sisko asks if such a rule exists, Quark acknowledges that there is one. Quark may be referring to the apocryphal Rule 218 (see below).
  • Money is money, but females are better.(DS9|Life Support)
    • A personal rule quoted by Nog.
  • Why ask, when you can take? (DS9|Babel)
    • 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).
  • A good lie is easier to believe than the truth. (VOY|Shattered)
    • This un-numbered "rule" provenance derives merely from Janeway quoting it as something "the Ferengi say". It may not, therefore, be a genuine Rule.


Background Information[edit]

The Rules of Acquisition were created at the beginning of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine beginning with (DS9|The Nagus) and were mentioned throughout the Star Trek spinoffs. While a Rule was never heard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, (ENT|Force of Nature) mentioned that the Ferengi were debating changing one of the Rules.


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:

  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 121 - Everything is for sale, even friendship.(Legends of the Ferengi)
  • 133 - 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)
  • 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)
  • 335 - Duck; death is tall. (Twilight)
  • 336 - 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. (Twilight)
    • Not a real Rule, of course, but quoted by Quark.