The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates is a parody of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In the webcomic Schlock Mercenary by Howard Tayler it has in the past 2.5 years featured highly in the comic.

It first debuted in the comic Thursday, November 21 2002, which can be found here:

On the site, there is a blurb which mentions a comedy troupe that apparently wrote a sketch lampooning SHHEP. I sent Mr Tayler an email about this and this is the reply I recieved:

The Garrens Comedy Troupe really existed (1992-2002, I think), but the planned lampooning of SHHEP never happened on stage -- it was only discussed, circa 1996, I believe. I think there's a website that has the seven habits lampooned, pirate-style, and whether or not that predates the troupe's creative endeavors is irrelevant. Eric D. Snider, blogger, humorist, and journalist, can tell you more about the Garrens--

To further explain, the Garrens Comedy Troupe started in Brigham Young University and eventually became nationally renowned before disbanding in 2002. The rest of the story of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates is told through the blurb from the site.

Their sketch, The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Pirates, went completely unnoticed for several centuries, until the day an archeobibliologist named Joel happened across the script in the Gates Memorial Archive Of Stupid Things From Ye Olde Internet. Our story would have ended there, except that Joel's younger brother Linc was in prison for privateering, and it occurred Joel that perhaps his wanna-be pirate brother would get a kick out of reading it.

Unfortunately, Linc realized as he chuckled at the script ("Bury the hatchet! Hah!") that he was in prison because he was NOT an effective person, and was an even less effective pirate. So he began to write.

In the comic the book is a popular guide to life in high energy, read highly volatile, flammable, radioactive, etc. galactic politics. Not just lowly privateers read it, but everyone up, or down depending on one's view point, the situational ethics ladder.

In the storyline the captain and crew are often found citing it in making fast decisions about the situations they find themselves in. They usually cite the numerous rules that saturate the book. The list, as I have found so far, follows:

  • Rule #1: Pillage, then burn.
  • Rule #2: A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn't know what's going on.
  • Rule #3: An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks EVERYBODY.
  • Rule #4: Close air support covereth a multitude of sins.
  • Rule #5: Close air support and friendly fire should be easier to tell apart.
  • Rule #6: If violence wasn't your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it.
  • Rule #8: Mockery and derision have their place. Usually, it's on the far side of the airlock.
  • Rule #9: Never turn your back on an enemy.
  • Rule #10: Sometimes the only way out is through...through the hull
  • Rule #11: Everything is air-droppable at least once
  • Rule #12: A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head.
  • Rule #13: Do unto others.
  • Rule #15: Only you can prevent Friendly Fire. (It has also been observed: "Ask politely before firing into someone else's Charlie Foxtrot")
  • Rule #16: Your name is in the mouth of others: be sure it has teeth.
  • Rule #27: Don't be afraid to be the first to resort to violence.
  • Rule #29: The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy, no more, no less.
  • Rule #30: A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you'll go.
  • Rule #31: Only cheaters prosper.
  • Rule #34: If you're leaving scorch-marks, you need a bigger gun.
  • Rule #35: That which does not kill you has made a tactical error.
  • Rule #36: When the going gets tough, the tough call for close air support.
  • Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.

There are two other entries whose number wasn't given in the strips in question:

1: Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Take his fish away and tell him he's lucky just to be alive, and he'll figure out how to catch another one for you to take tomorrow.

2: Just because it's easy for you doesn't mean it can't be hard on your clients.

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