I am a great admirer of Douglas Adams. He shows great insight, originality and humour in his science fiction books such as Hitchhiker’s Guide series and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and everyone should read Last Chance to See. It is such a shame that he died so young. He had so much more to give.
Of course, in his writing there are many quotable quotes, but one which struck a chord with me.
“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
Having worked in technology for most of my life, I have striven to write programs that trap all possible errors. It is impossible! No matter what I anticipate, users will always find some way of breaking the software solution. I fix that problem, and they manage to find another way to break it.
I’ve noticed the same with writing. I have read novels which I think are marvelous. When I read the reviews, I find that many people agree with me, but there are always some who will find fault. I am not saying that those reviewers who disagree with the majority are fools. What I am saying is that no author can possibly hope to write the perfect book. No designer can design the perfect, or foolproof, solution.
But that is no reason to give up. We should all try. We should all strive for perfection, no matter what we do.
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