Rules of Wizardry
are revealed one by one to Richard Rahl throughout the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. They are one of the core elements of the series as well as being ostensibly a good set of life rules for all of us.
These rules constitute a spoiler so do not read on unless you have read the book or don't mind seeing secrets unveiled before hand.
Rule One: "People are stupid" Wizard's First Rule, Chapter 36, Page 397.
The most important of the rules of wizardry, this rule teaches the fundamental concepts of manipulation and deception - people will believe whatever they want to believe or whatever they have been trained to believe.
Rule Two: "The greatest harm can result from the best intentions" Stone of Tears, Chapter 63, Page 634.
Go on - help every blind person you meet cross a road and see what happens. This rule covers fixing that which is not broken as well as trying to help before you know the details of a situation.
Rule Three: "Passion rules reason." Blood of the Fold, Chapter 43, Page 360.
As Goodkind says "Imagine you are called upon to pick up a sword and kill a man. No way. What if you knew that the man would murder your family if you didn't kill him right now? Then what? No time to think or call for help." The reasoned, rational response may be not to do something, when passion is evoked however, reason is soon overcome.
Rule Four: There is magic in forgiveness. "The Wizard's Fourth Rule, he called it. He said that there was magic in forgiveness, in the Fourth Rule. Magic to heal. In forgiveness you grant, and more so in the forgiveness you receive." Temple of the Winds, Chapter 41, Page 318.
I think this one is self explanatory.
Rule Five: "Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie."
Soul of the Fire, Chapter 28, Page 205.
No matter what someone says, they will give themselves away fairly fast in their actions if their intention is to deceive.
Rule Six: "The only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason." Faith of the Fallen, Chapter 41, Page 319.
While quite obviously at odds with rule three this rule and the paradox it reveals explains much about the turmoil and inner struggle going on in each person between the rational mind and the passions.
Rule Seven: "life is the future, not the past" Pillars of Creation, Chapter 60 Page 549.
Live for tomorrow - not yesterday. One needs to be forward looking to succeed in anything.
In all, these "rules" give a decent, if somewhat moralistic, framework for life.