There Are Two Types of People…

It’s estimated that there are 7.9 billion people in the world, and counting. But in many ways, it’s fairly easy to divide us all into two types.

There are two types of people:

• Those who think the world can be divided into two types of people.
• Those who don’t.

The earliest known usage of the two-types format was by Mark Twain:

There are basically two types of people: people who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.

The potential origin of the two-types meme, as we know it today, may have been this ubiquitous math and computer science joke:

There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

A modification of that joke has appeared more recently for the uber-geeks:

There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand ternary, those who don’t, and those who mistake it for binary.

Physicist C. N. Yang, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957, is credited with this version:

There are two types of math books: those you cannot read beyond the first sentence, and those you cannot read beyond the first page.

Two of my favorites were included in More Jokes 4 Mathy Folks:

There are three types of people: positive, negative, and relative.

There are two types of people: those who are wise, and those who are otherwise.

The number of modifications to the format are nearly infinite. To create your own, choose the number of things you wish to compare; choose the type of things you wish to compare; describe that number of things, making sure that two of them are diametrically opposed, as to cause an incongruous and humorous result; if possible, be self-deprecating in one of the descriptions; and finally, determine if you want it in paragraph form or as a bulleted list. For instance,

There are two types of math jokes:

• Those that are funny.
• Those that have appeared on this blog.

See? It’s not hard. Now you try. The following mathy examples can serve as inspiration.

There are three things I hate:

• People who can’t do simple math.
• Irony.

There are three things I hate:

• Bulleted lists.
• Lazy people.

There are two kinds of statistics:

• Those you look up.
• Those you make up.

There are three kinds of lies:

• Lies.
• Damned lies.
• Statistics.

There are two kinds of people. Avoid both of them.

There are two kinds of people:

• Those you want to drink with.
• Those who make you want to drink.

On the web, you’ll find all manner of visual adaptations of the meme.

There are two types of people:

There are two types of people:

And finally, there are two types of bloggers:

• Those who would write a blog post about the world containing two types of people.
• Those who would Google it first to see that there about 24,000,000 results for “there are two types of people.”

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The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.