R. T. Fishall
Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1982, 1981, English
Nonfiction, General
ISBN: 9780283987854

Humorous tales of how the author set out to irritate and subvert British middle managers and other bureaucrats.

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Sam Hecht

I was given this book as a child by my mother when she first opened a bank account for me. I have kept it ever since, and I look back at it quite regularly. It is a book that says a lot about what makes a designer. A designer is someone who must understand how systems work. He must then acknowledge that all systems are artificial, and then adopt them and alter them for his own means. I am not suggesting anarchy, and neither does this book—rather, it is a small and legal subversion. For instance, when we receive a form from a company or government department, our instinct is to fill it out and return it. But maybe next time you find yourself having to write to a company, why not create your own official form—designed, of course, with all of those details like “please leave blank for official use”—and make the company fill it out and return it. Oh, and the book was actually written by Sir Patrick Moore (R. T. Fishall was his pen name), the astronomer who spent his life making sense of the universe.

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