PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 September, 2010, 12:00am

by Keri Smith
Perigee, HK$112

Perfectionists will either baulk at this book or find release. Mess seeks randomly (how else?) to guide readers to do the opposite of what they've been taught. 'The only three rules you'll find in this book: do not try to make something beautiful, do not think too much (there is no 'wrong') and continue under all circumstances.' But why take author Keri Smith's advice, which can also be read as: aim for the substandard; think superficially and continue being mediocre. Her objective, apparently, is to encourage people to open themselves to the unknown and create a 'habit' of experimentation, which, she believes, can lead to bigger things. That explains (sort of) the mostly bare pages with simple instructions on each, such as: 'Drop some kind of coloured liquid here from a good height', 'For an entire day do all of your necessary tasks using your 'wrong' hand' and 'Mess up the cover of this book'. Smith, who wrote How to be an Explorer of the World, describes the giddy fear that comes from leaping into the unknown. If that appeals, buy the book and follow her directives. One is to abolish grammar and spell creatively. Idiotic.