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Stephen Meredith Potter (1 February 1900 – 2 December 1969) was a British author best known for his parodies of self-help books, and their film and television derivatives. After leaving school in the last months of the First World War he was commissioned as a junior officer in the British Army, but by the time he had completed his training the war was over and he was demobilised. He then studied English at Oxford, and after some false starts he spent his early working life as an academic, lecturing in English literature at Birkbeck College, part of the University of London, during which time he published several works on Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Finding his income inadequate to support himself and his family, he left the university and took up a post producing and writing for the BBC. He r
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Stephen Potter
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Stephen Meredith Potter (1 February 1900 – 2 December 1969) was a British author best known for his parodies of self-help books, and their film and television derivatives. After leaving school in the last months of the First World War he was commissioned as a junior officer in the British Army, but by the time he had completed his training the war was over and he was demobilised. He then studied English at Oxford, and after some false starts he spent his early working life as an academic, lecturing in English literature at Birkbeck College, part of the University of London, during which time he published several works on Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Finding his income inadequate to support himself and his family, he left the university and took up a post producing and writing for the BBC. He remained with the BBC until after the Second World War, when he became a freelance writer, and remained so for the rest of his life. His series of humorous books on how to secure an unfair advantage began in 1947 with Gamesmanship, purporting to show how poor players can beat better ones by subtle psychological ploys. This sold prodigiously and led to a series of sequels covering other aspects of life. The books were adapted for the cinema in the 1960s and for television in the 1970s.
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