When all you have is a hammer

Posted by R. Berg on October 12, 2001

In Reply to: When all you have is a hammer posted by mortimer on October 12, 2001

: Where does this one come from, and what does it usually mean? "When all you have is a hammer"

: mortimer

We (the yobs) submitted that one for consideration for the Phrase Finder database last May. I guess it didn't enter. The full saying goes "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" (exact wording varies among sources). Some Web sites call it Baruch's Law. It describes one kind of narrowness of thought. People who are excessively fond of a particular analytical scheme or problem-solving method--people who have only one tool--will construe any bit of reality as just the kind of thing to which their pet interpretation or solution applies.