Talk:Law of the instrument

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"...everything looks like a nail" source[edit]

Searching for the source of the saying, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" (with variations), I find it here, attributed to Abraham Maslow, but without citation. If there is a citation, please provide it (and maybe it should go to Wikiquote too); otherwise, please drop it or correct it. One of my favorite sayings, it'd be great to find a definitive source for it. --Davecampbell (talk) 18:01, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

I've added various citations. However, I'm unsure still. I've credited Maslow's 1962 book, per this source. But everyone else cites his 1966 book. So I've ordered a copy of the 1962 book to see if it's really in there; if not, I'll have to change back to giving Kaplan priority. Dicklyon (talk) 05:16, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I got the Maslow 1962 book and I can't find the hammer in it at all. So I have to assume now that the one source that cited it for that was probably wrong, and all the 1966 citations right. So priority goes to the 1964 Kaplan source, and the article should move to "Law of the instrument". Any objections if I do that? Dicklyon (talk) 19:13, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Dicklyon - Thank you for doing the research. I will make the change to the date in the first sentence. If someone else doesn't want a 1966 reference starting the article then they can rearrange things. Rlitwin (talk) 20:24, 21 January 2010 (UTC)


Although this quote is widely attributed to Maslow, I believe it likely has a much older Germanic origin. My Grandfather from Switzerland, said a variant of this quote for decades (1950's and 1960's), frequently referring to my father (his son in law) in those terms. He was not highly educated. Secondary school only in Switzerland, and essentially a dairy farmer and day laborer until his death in the mid 1970's. It is highly unlikely that he EVER read or heard of Maslow. I find the fact that all internet references attribute it to Maslow rather unconvincing.

There were probably ancient Greeks who said, "If all you have is a wine press, everything looks like a grape." Younger people today seem to be fixated on quantifying and documenting things that can't be tied up in nice tidy worlds like that. But it keeps them off the streets, I guess. We rode motorcycles and chased girls :) 116.231.75.71 (talk) 06:50, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

Relation to the Beatles song ?[edit]

Isn't the song by the Beatles connected to this ? I mean "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". Apart from the protagonist's name (it also begins with an M !) and it being silver instead of gold, it fits quite nicely into the concept of the "Golden Hammer", I think. Alrik Fassbauer (talk) 15:02, 18 February 2017 (UTC)