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Open Book 6

Shouting theater in a crowded fire.
It's embarrassing," said the author of this week's book. "You try to overthrow the government, and you wind up on the best-seller's list."

Best known for his membership in the Chicago Seven, the author--a flamboyant leader of several anti-war protests during the 1960s--was sincere about his intent to change society and to beat the system. As he wrote in the book's introduction, "It's perhaps fitting that I write this introduction in jail--that graduate school of survival. Here you learn how to use toothpaste as glue, fashion a shiv out of a spoon and build intricate communication networks. Here, too, you learn the only rehabilitation possible--hatred of oppression."

The book is largely a collection of tips about how to beat the system. Some of the suggestions are outdated, but quite a few probably would still work: making sandals from rubber tires, getting day-old produce from grocery stores, or stopping by a bar mitzvah and explaining how you'd like to bring some leftovers of "good Jewish food" back to your fraternity.

The book is far from harmless, which is why it was rejected by more than 30 publishers. Included are a key to substances the "pigs" might throw at you, and how to choose a gas mask. You'll learn how to construct weapons for street fighting (which might, after all, be useful for IT budget meetings), avoid the draft, and use effective shoplifting techniques. "If you are going to rip off expensive stores (why settle for less), act like you have a chauffeur driven car double parked around the corner."

For a chance to win an InformationWeek prize (surely in the spirit of this book), E-mail [email protected] by noon ET Thursday with the title and author and describe one of the recommended ways to beat the draft. For extra credit: The author started a midnight pizza-delivery service while attending what university in the 1960s? Two respondents will be chosen randomly from correct answers.

Dec. 24 quiz: Bellwether by Connie Willis. Third question: The Robert Browning poem referred to frequently in the story is "Pippa Passes." Winners were Clif Kranish and Tim Turner.