25 Principles of Adult Behavior

The 25 Principles of Adult Behavior by John Perry Barlow. Barlow was an American poet, essayist, political activist and cattle rancher. He was also a lyricist for the Grateful Dead.

On 7 February 2018, Barlow passed away. As the tributes an obituaries poured in, Barlow’s 25 Principles of Adult Behavior was frequently referenced. I hadn’t looked at them in a long while but as I reread them, I was reminded of the power in these simple, fundamental principles.

I was also struck by how many of these principles could be—and should be—applied by public speakers.25 Principles of Adult Behavior by John BarlowRest in peace, John.


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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4 Responses to 25 Principles of Adult Behavior

  1. Philip Selby says:


    With regard to happiness, Barlow seems to contradict the American Declaration of Independence : “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal , that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness .”

    He is not alone. In his book: “Sapiens, A brief history of mankind”, Harari considers the pursuit of pleasure, rather than happiness, to be an innate human attribute.

    Best wishes, Philip

    • John Zimmer says:

      Hi Philip. Thanks for the comment.

      I’m not sure that Barlow’s philosophy is an outright contradiction of the Declaration of Independence. I don’t think we can pursue happiness directly; rather, we have to pursue something that has meaning for us and such pursuit / achievement will lead to happiness. In other words, happiness is a by-product of something else.

      “Sapiens” is a great book. I am looking forward to Harari’s follow-up, “Homo Deus”.

  2. Great, thanks for sharing John

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