Isaac Newton on Inertia

Isaac Newton defined inertia in his first law of motion. Here’s how his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica describes inertia:

The vis insita, or innate force of matter, is a power of resisting by which every body, as much as in it lies, endeavours to preserve its present state, whether it be of rest or of moving uniformly forward in a straight line.

If I were inclined to compile laws pertaining to the contract process, I’d follow Newton by making inertia the focus of my first law. That’s because it sometimes seems that almost every contract-drafting organization I encounter exhibits “a power of resisting” to preserve its present dysfunction, no matter how much time and money it wastes, and unnecessary risk it assumes, in the process.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.