Notes from The Honourable Schoolboy

As part of an effort to read more fiction (to better appreciate the creative side of writing) and in honour of our trip to London, I read The Honourable Schoolboy by John le Carre. It was fun to read it while in London, as I was simultaneously discovering the landmarks it mentioned in the storyline and in the real world.

Just a couple citations I marked:


The role of an “intelligence” agency–not much different from user experience design?

The task of an intelligence service, Smiley announced firmly, was not to play chase games but to deliver intelligence to its customers. If it failed to do this, those customers would resort to other, less scrupulous sellers or, worse, indulge in amateurish self-help…not to produce was not to trade, and not to trade was to die. (68-69)

That reminds me of a quote from the Adaptive Path UX Intensive seminar: “People have to make decisions. And if you don’t give them good information to make them by, they’ll just have to guess.”

And why I’ve always struggled doing the intelligence research myself; good to hear a real spy might pull it off.

When you’re my size, sport, you have to have a hell of a good reason for whatever you’re doing. (392)