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Black and white photo of Dr. Laurence Johnston Peter wearing a suit jacket and striped tie, seated at his desk with feather quill and stacks of books.

Dr. Laurence Johnston Peter


Dr. Laurence Johnston Peter was a Canadian author, educator, psychologist, and management theorist in the US. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, he started out as a teacher in 1941. He received his Doctor of Education degree from Washington State University in 1963 and moved to California the next year. He became an Associate Professor of Education, Director of the Evelyn Frieden Centre for Prescriptive Teaching, and Coordinator of Programs for Emotionally Disturbed Children at the University of Southern California.

In 1968, he published The Peter Principle, which states: "In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." He also wrote:

  • Prescriptive Teaching (1965)

  • The Peter Prescription: How to be Creative, Confident, and Competent (1972)

  • Competencies for Teaching: Individual Instruction, Classroom Instruction, Therapeutic Instruction, Teacher Education (1975)

  • The Peter Plan: A Proposal for Survival (1975)

  • Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Times (1977)

  • Peter's People (1979)

  • Peter's Almanac (1982)

  • The Laughter Prescription: The Tools of Humour and How To Use Them (1982)

  • Why Things Go Wrong, or, The Peter Principle Revisited (1985)

  • The Peter Pyramid, or, Will We Ever Get the Point? (1986)

[Vincenta Irene (6), William Herbert (5), Manoah (4), Andrew (3), Frederick (2), Heinrich (1)]

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