if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail
Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.
Similar concept by Abraham Kaplan, The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science, 1964, page 28:
- I call it the law of the instrument, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.
Labeled "Baruch's Observation" (after Bernard Baruch) in The Complete Murphy's Law: A Definitive Collection (1991) by Arthur Bloch.
- With limited tools, single-minded people apply them inappropriately or indiscriminately
- If a person is familiar with a certain, single subject, or has with them a certain, single instrument, they may have a confirmation bias to believe that it is the answer to/involved in everything.