PETER'S PEOPLE by Laurence J. Peter


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In this miscellany of remembrances, imaginary conversations, and pinky-nail sketches of bright notables he's known, Dr. Peter serves up some pungent tidbits. He briefly presents the wit and wisdom, as it were, of (product)mil Cou‚ the drug-less Dr. Feelgood, Le Petomane the flatulent flutist, and a score of diverse others. The character sketches are so abbreviated that the bio of Elbert Hubbard doesn't even mention his best seller, A Message to Garcia. And the imagined colloquies with such wits as Twain, Rogers, Wilde, and Franklin begin to sound somewhat like the late Frank Sullivan's interviews with Mr. Arbuthnot, the Clich‚ Expert. But the real fun of the book isn't in the dab of philosophy, the dollop of gags, the sprinkling of personalities. Rather it may be in the volley of natural whimsical laws and immutable waggish principles. Murphy's Law is fully expounded (and Peter ventures a convincing identification of Murphy the Legislator); Parkinson's Law and Peter's own Principle are linked with other useful secrets of life. From Abel's Conservative Principle (""never do anything for the first time"") to Zymurgy's Law of Evolving Systems Dynamics (""once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can""), the maxims and postulates engagingly collected here are first-rate comments on the human condition. In the decade since he first propounded Peter's Principle, the author seems to have discerned the First Law of the Amanuensis: The wit of others may be just as clever as yours--and it's a damned sight easier to write.

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1979
Publisher: Morrow