Rules: Shaping Behavior and Knowledge By Ronald G. Ross

Rules: Shaping Behavior and Knowledge

Paperback – $24.95

Kindle – $14.95

Your Guide to Real-World Rules

This book is about rules for groups and communities of people (including their data). The goal? Shaping behavior and communicating business knowledge, not simply mimicking human intelligence. It’s exactly what you need for governance, traceability, and the human touch so often missing in digital solutions.

About Rules

Rules are not actions and not processes. Nor are they instructions or commands. Rules are something else, something special.

Confusion abounds about what rules are. What makes a statement special when you call it a rule? What restrictions does that place on how the statement is expressed? What special opportunities does it raise? These are crucial questions, some of the most fundamental you can ask.

Time for a fresh look. Rules are almost certainly not what you think they are. And that lack of understanding is holding us back.

By the author who literally wrote the book on business rules!

“For the longest time I’ve been encouraged by family, friends and colleagues to write down everything I’ve learned about rules over a lifetime of hands-on consulting, research, and standards work. So, I did. This book is the result. It accurately distills much of what I’ve learned about rules in what is hopefully highly readable form. I believe you’ll benefit from it, no matter what your professional orientation. We literally all have rules in common!”

– Ron Ross

Who Is This Book For?

  • Policy Maker
  • Policy Advisor
  • Policy Interpreter
  • Legislative Drafter
  • Rule Maker
  • Regulator
  • Compliance Officer
  • Legal Staff
  • Contract Drafter
  • Auditor
  • Risk Analyst
  • Decision Modeler
  • Rule Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Requirements Engineer
  • Product Owner
  • Data Quality Professional
  • Data Governance Professional
  • Business Process Manager
  • Business Process Analyst
  • Business System Analyst
  • Business Software Developer

If your role or responsibility involves one or more of the above, you’ll find a treasure trove of practical ideas in this book you can apply in your daily responsibilities.

Being rule-based is the most basic characteristic of Western civilization. If you want to deeply understand rules, look no further. Here’s how to be rule-based about anything involving groups and communities of people, including their knowledge!

Paperback – $24.95

Kindle – $14.95

This Book Will Show You How To:

  • Create better rules
  • Insert sentiment, human discretion, and common sense into real-time business activity
  • Express data constraints in natural language
  • Distinguish rules and requirements
  • Chose the right form to express rules and guidance
  • Communicate guidance clearly and completely
  • Identify defects in rules
  • Reduce ambiguity in all forms of guidance
  • Treat exceptions to rules
  • Handle violations of rules
  • Interpret policy into practicable rules ready to deploy
  • Bridge the gap between laws, regulations, and contracts — and automation
  • Address problems in data quality
  • Disseminate knowledge in real time
  • Improve your governance processes

What Reviewers Say



Part I. About Rules

Chapter I-1. What Rules Do for Us

Chapter I-2. What Rules Are

Chapter I-3. The Two Fundamental Kinds of Rules

Chapter I-4. About Violations of Behavioral Rules

Chapter I-5. About Definitional Rules: What Counts?

Part II. Expressing Rules

Chapter II-1. Being Practicable

Chapter II-2. Being Declarative

Chapter II-3. Being Factual

Chapter II-4. Being Complete

Chapter II-5. Being Unambiguous

Part III. Analyzing Rules

Chapter III-1. Discovery of Rules

Chapter III-2. Discovery of Flash Points

Chapter III-3. Discovery of Messages

Part IV. Rule Quality

Chapter IV-1. Exceptions

Chapter IV-2. Anomalies

Chapter IV-3. Knock-Out Rules

Part V. Permissions, Authorizations, and Rights

Chapter V-1. Permissions

Chapter V-2. Authorizations

Chapter V-3. Rights

Conclusion: Rule Platforms in Business & Government


Appendix A. Concept Model Diagram for Factual Expression of Rules

Appendix B. Ensuring Logical Consistency of Guidance

Appendix C. About Decision Tables

Appendix D. A Word About ‘Decision’

Appendix E. Concept Models and Their Representation

Appendix F. Modalities: Forms of Guidance

Appendix G. Positive Reinforcement and Rewards

Appendix H. Sample Enforcement Levels for Behavioral Rules

Appendix I. Warranties

Appendix J. Usage Constraints for Applicability Conditions

Appendix K. Why Not Use IF-THEN Syntax

Appendix L. The Relationship of Facts and Data

Appendix M. Structural Forms of Expression for Rules

Appendix N. Use of ‘WHEN’

Appendix O. Flash Points and Definitional Rules

Appendix P. Eliminating Programmer Workload for Rules

Appendix Q. Definitions, Rules, and Logical Implications



Ronald G. Ross

Ronald G. Ross

Who is Ron Ross

Ron is one of the world’s foremost authorities on both structured and unstructured data. He is Co-Founder and Principal of Business Rule Solutions, LLC (BRS). At BRS, he has helped create concept models at hundreds of companies and government bodies.

Ron is Chair of Building Business Capabilities (BBC), the official conference of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®). He is best known for his industry-leading work on business rules, and before that, for his contributions in the field of data design and database. He was a founder and is a principal in standards work at OMG on SBVR (Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules), the ground-breaking standard behind concept models.

Ron has keynoted dozens of conferences and given seminars to many thousands of people worldwide. He is currently Executive Editor of and its flagship on-line publication, Business Rules Journal. Ron is recognized internationally as the ‘father of business rules.’

Ron is the author of ten professional books including the first on data dictionaries and data administration in 1981. Books on business rules include the classic Business Rule Concepts: Getting to the Point of Knowledge4th ed. (2013) and Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules 2nd ed. with Gladys S.W. Lam (2015). He is co-author with John Zachman and Roger Burlton of the 2017 Business Agility Manifesto.

Ron received DAMA International’s Individual Achievement Award for 1995. He was formerly Editor of the Data Base Newsletter from 1977 to 1998. Ron holds an M.S. in information science from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.A. from Rice University.