July 1972

The Principle of Parsimony in Medicine and Other Essays.

Author Affiliations

Iowa City


By IM Tarlov, MD. Price $4.75. Pp 65, with no illustrations. Charles C Thomas Publisher, 301-327 E Lawrence Ave, Springfield, Ill 62703, 1969.

Arch Intern Med. 1972;130(1):148. doi:10.1001/archinte.1972.03650010126027

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Albert J. Nock thought that modern man stood a much better chance of making some sense out of contemporary history if he kept constantly before him certain epitomes of shrewd common sense. He realized that as a phenomenon of banking manipulation it had long been observed that "bad money drives out good." But Sir Thomas Gresham reduced these observations to order under a formula as simple as Newton's law. This became known as Gresham's law. The next was the "law of diminishing returns." Nock concocted as the third essential law knowledge "Man always tends to satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion." This he named after Mr. Epstean. Nock realized that these laws operated as inexorably in the realm of culture, of politics (religious and secular), and of social organization, as in the realms of economics, business, and physics.

It was not for nothing that William

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