Evil Overlord Rules to Live By

Peter Yang, a med student at Yale, has devised [posts] an Evil Overlord List setting forth 100 things he will not do if he ever becomes, well, an evil overlord. Some excerpts:

1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.
2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.
5. The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.
7. When I’ve captured my adversary and he says, “Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?” I’ll say, “No.” and shoot him. No, on second thought I’ll shoot him then say “No.”
8. After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks’ time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.
9. I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled “Danger: Do Not Push”. The big red button marked “Do Not Push” will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch will not clearly be labelled as such.
12. One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.

via Megan McArdle

Correction: The list was originally compiled by Peter Anspach. Coincidentally, the fellow whose site Megan linked is also named “Peter,” thus my confusion. Yang does not claim authorship–the copyright info crediting Anspach is actually at the bottom of the page after the list of contributors. And, yes, I’ve seen variants of this before but never the entire compilation.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Original copyright on the list is said to be Peter Anspach’s, if anyone’s counting.

  2. Scott_T says:


    This is been around since ’96-’97, and you are just now hearing about this?

    Thanks Grandpa. 🙂

  3. pennywit says:

    Ummm … I don’t think he authored it.

    This page discusses the genesis of the “evil overlord” list.


  4. Alexi_Leonov says:

    The list is obsolete and far too long. Nowdays just getting nominated to be UN Ambassador is enough…