Rule of Three

Mon Feb 9 15:16:09 UTC 2004

        I'll open the bidding for earliest examplar, though I'm sure Barry or Sam can do much better.  From a 4/16/84 article in Time about the young Donald Trump: "When asked the three rules for making money in real estate, most promoters answer with the hackneyed "Location, location, location." "

        Notwithstanding the prevalence of the Z, Z, Z formation, I do think that it's relatively recent (perhaps as little as 25 to 40 years old) and that the real estate joke is the original form.  It obviously has spread since then.  A Google search for "location location location" produces 223,000 hits; a search for "location location location" and "real estate" has 62,300 hits.

        I'm not at all convinced that the Carnegie Hall joke is the same thing, except in the general sense that people have been saying things three times for emphasis for a long time.  "Location, location, location" is an invariable form, but the Carnegie Hall punch line is often given as "practice, X, practice," where X is "son," "boy," or another form of address.

John Baker

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