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The Complete Yes Minister

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  2,722 ratings  ·  95 reviews
'We have had diaries from other Cabinet Ministers, but none I
think which have been quite so illuminating... It is a
fascinating diary... It is shorter than Barbara Castle's... and
although it is rather more accurate than Dick Crossman's, it
is distinctly funnier' - Lord Allen of Abbeydale (formerly
Permanent Secretary at the Home Office) in The Times

'It has an entertainment
Paperback, 528 pages
Published June 1988 by BBC Books (first published 1981)
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Srinivas Badekila No! The book is much more hilarious than the series (which, surprisingly is well made).

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 ·  2,722 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is obviously for die-hard fans of the show, and I know no bigger fan than myself. Each character's facial expressions and the way in which they delivered their lines are thoroughly etched into my memories. I suspect that I wouldn't have found this book as witty and funny as I did if that wasn't the case and I had never seen the show.

For the most part the book follows the script of the show with added commentary and personal thoughts from the protagonists and editors. These additions wo
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most witty and humorous books I have read. The characterizations are vivid and funny, the plot-lines ingenious. I could not have imagined that it was possible to find such humor in political dealings. The language is razor-sharp. In fact, the authors generated humor from verbosity. Where one may have skimmed through certain parts in other books, here one simply goes over such parts again and again to enjoy the humor more.

The best part is the consistency in quality. At no point
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-white-square
Funnily enough, the first joke is that this was put together from Hacker's diaries, Sir Humphrey's diaries, released Government papers and interviews with Bernard in .... July 2017! Which is now!
John Kirk
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This isn't simply a transcript or a novelisation: it's quite a creative approach, by showing a mixture of diaries, memos, etc. Mind you, I think that would make it difficult to read as an ebook, since you'd lose the handwriting and letterhead.

I particularly like the footnotes which give historical precedents for the topics raised in the story, i.e. they show that real-life politicians have done the same thing.

The main thing I disliked about this book is that the issues all seem trivial: they mos
Jan 20, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: humor-satire
This is waht politicians do everywhere including India :

"It is the law of Inverse Relevance: the less you intend to do about something, the more you have to keep talking about it."
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paperbacks
If someone tells you Friends and Seinfeld are the funniest shows they've ever seen, hit them over the head with this book.

Then lock them in a room with it.

Make them read it.

Then make them watch all the episodes of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister.

(The other way around works too; watch the show and then read the books).

If they still haven't changed their mind, leave them to rot in the room, because you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
John Defrog
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Yes, Minister is probably one of my all-time favorite sitcoms, not least for its smart writing and savage-yet-subtle political satire. That said, when I saw this in a charity book sale, I only hesitated because I didn’t know if I just wanted to read the show scripts. But this omnibus (which covers all three seasons of the series) isn’t just scripts, but all the shows rewritten as short stories in the form of Minister Jim Hacker’s recorded diaries, along with other memos, BBC transcripts and inte ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
On one hand a political comparative novice with reasonably lofty ideals and some political necessities; on the other hand the master of art and craft of administration and his skills of rising and staying at the top - and being in charge which the political master would rather take over; and then the third, the rather nice and naive secretary who has to satisfy two masters just to keep his job and yet keep a semblance of self respect as well.

What a delight the series and what a consistent educa
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Happy to start new year with this wonderful book. I was astonished that a book written in 1980's could still mesmerize the readers still today. Read the book especially for it's memorable quotes

"If people don't know what you're doing, they don't know what you're doing wrong."

"'The matter is under consideration' means we have lost the file. 'The matter is under active consideration' means we are trying to find the file."

"If Civil Servants did not fight for the budgets of their departments they co
Andy Love
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-fiction
This is a tie-in book for the British series of the same name, but it's very funny (I read this the first time in the 1990s before I saw the series), criticizing both the politician lead (a member of Parliament newly appointed as a Minister (equivalent in American terms to a Congressman being appointed as a Cabinet Secretary, except in Britain, he remains a member of Parliament while serving as Minister)), and his opponents in the Civil Service. Jim Hacker, the Minister, is vain, indecisive, and ...more
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2003
Brilliant. Witty. So true. Having worked in the government sector I have seen many of the situations portrayed here in real life. This and anything Dilbert by Scott Adams should be mandatory reading as 'How Not To' guides. I watched a lot of the shows with my Dad when they were shown on the ABC years and years ago. Reading this book, and its sequel The Complete Yes Prime Minister, brought back so many good memories. You can just hear the idealist Minister Jim Hacker (the 'narrator') and the care ...more
Pixie Dust
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I seem to be going down nostalgia lane, rereading a number of books that I enjoyed years ago and seeing if they withstand the test of time. I first read Yes, Minister 13 years ago and still find it uproariously funny. The puns are deliciously appropriate, the satirical tone entirely apt and hilarious. I find it hard to believe the TV series came first, not the book, for the concept is wonderfully suited to the written form. Told in the form of diary entries, newspaper cuttings, interview excerpt ...more
Nigel Street
Was inspired to take this from the bookshelf and read it after seeing the touring production at the theatre last month - great fun! While a little dated in places, everyone sending memos to each other, the humour and amusing anecdotes are as relevant today as they were then. I can remember as a lad sitting with my father watching this and not getting a fair chunk of it - reading this has definitely lead me to want to watch the series again - have to look on Apple TV. In the meantime if you want ...more
Rajiv Chopra
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! Absolutely. It is a classic, and a must read for anyone who wishes to build a career in politics, or in the corporate world!

Jonathan Lynn has created a masterpiece, and he should know it

Many years ago, I watched the series, and was laughing all the time. Then, I read the book, and I keep laughing. A few years later, and wiser I hope, I read it with a new appreciation of the nuances. This is the third reading, and I read it again, with a greater appreciation of the games that ar
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had forgotten how good this is as it is 30 years since I last read it. It isn't often that you can laugh out loud while reading but the similarity between then and now is very poignant. Will be reading Yes Prime Minister after this.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Political Junkies of an Anglophile Tilt
This has been collecting dust on my bookshelves for years. It's based upon a popular BBC comedy series in the 1980s about a cabinet minister all too ably er... managed by the bureaucrats who purportedly serve under him. I think my problem with this book is I know both too much and too little. On the "too little" side, I've never seen the program. I get the feeling there are all these subtle jokes and ironies whizzing by above my head. I'm also not British and have spent only a few weeks in Engla ...more
Virag Padalkar
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A superbly written series of stories. Apart from the cut-and-thrust banter that the inimitable Sir Humphrey and Woolley get up to with Hacker; what is even more apparent from this imbroglio of the British "functional anarchy" is that we (as Indians) have taken from the Brits what we should have left well alone and left alone what we should have learnt from them and incorporated into our own system.

What is heartening though, is that even Thatcher provided inputs to the writers about Whitehall an
Lucia Robson
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LOL material
Sean O'Reilly
Oct 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing
I used to watch Yes Minister back in the 80's and I think I might even have read this book when it was first published. Even so I was quite surprised at how familiar it was as I didn't think I remembered it all that well. If you know the programme then you will know what to expect. If not then I hope that, like me, you enjoy the cynically humorous take on Government. The story lines were never really topical so the book doesn't feel dated. I had many wry grins and even a chuckle out loud at a co ...more
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I forget the name of the band but there's this song entitled "I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me" that I really quite enjoy.

Also, I wrote my very first Wal-Mart joke this morning:

As I completed my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart I wheeled the cart up toward the series of registers only to notice a sign above each register stating "Tattooed Patrons Only." I stopped the manager and asked him where the non-tattooed patrons checked out. He answered
Geoff Gander
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Yes Minister" is a masterful work of satire, which manages to touch upon a lot of fundamental truths about working in government, as well as how the civil service and politicians interact...and how things get done in spite of everything. Although many of the scenarios seem over-the-top, I can say that I have experienced a handful of situations that could have been taken from the pages of this book. Art *does* imitate life, in this case.

And even if you don't work in government, the dry humour an
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys politics and political satire
Yes Minister was - and is - one of the best written set of political satire and/or comedy I have had the privilege to lay my eyes on, either in writing or the superb BBC series. I heartily recommend the book to anyone who's enjoyed the series.

The book is set sometime into the (then) future, as an academic/documentary writing of the late minister and subsequent prime minister James Hacker. It includes diary entries of Jim Hacker peppered with editorial comments of Lynn & Jay and interviews of his
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: funny
Third listen in the last couple of years, Just love it, firm favourite, along with Yes Prime Minister. An audio version of a massive hug, box of chocolates, smelly candle and duvet all in one. All three main cast are simply brilliant... but Sir Humphrey has been my favourite from being a little girl.

Just bought a used copy of Nigel Hawthorne's autobiography "Straight Face" on Amazon actually, for fab price of 2.80. Would have bought new but the cheapest was £75, which TBH I'm pleased about, tes
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is one of the few books that are both funny as well as informative . It chronicles the journey of Hacker as Cabinet Minister and his trials with the bureaucracy , whether he success in controlling him or getting "house trained" is for the readers to find out . But one finds that Hacker's attempts at reforming the DAA are confounded by the dilatory and stalling tactics of Humphrey and Bernard ! So lay back and enjoy the utterly confusing tirade of the British Bureaucracy .
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Timeless classic and sheer joy to read - this book never gets old and the reader never tires of being thoroughly entertained by the satirical, tongue in cheek British humor. One does wonder though how much of this is genuinely from the minister s logs and how much is embellished- for if this were true the whole enterprise of politics would just be a pointless facade hiding behind the real powers that rule the world -the bureaucrats !
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A biting satire that takes a look at the relationship between elected officials and their civil service counterparts. Things have probably changed a great deal since this was written. I am quite certain the control the civil service have has diminished considerably. Many elected leaders have come from a background in public administration, think Stephen Harper. But still a very insightful book to accompany the tv series.
KV Taylor
Oct 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I confess that I like the show better, just because the delivery is so amazing. However, there are a lot of fun bits in the book that you don't get with the TV version so it's worth it if you're a fan. Hilarious in either format, though.
Apoorva Mohan
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I haven't watched the TV show. However based on my father's recommendation I read this book and I am not disappointed. the sarcastic comments are a hoot and a half. a great read. You can't help but crack up. The play with words, political innuendos, amazing language all make up this book.
Clement Ying
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The most educational and entertaining book. Worths more than ten goodreads in the topic of politics.

If the administration is a super-organism, it has no ends. What is left, is only means.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you loved the show, this won't disappoint you. Even otherwise, a hilarious read that gently laments the truths about the civil service. Set under the roof of Whitehall, this book bears episodes that will leave you in splits!
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Jonathan Lynn has directed 10 feature films including the cult classic Clue (he also wrote the screenplay), Nuns on the Run (also written by Mr Lynn), My Cousin Vinny, The Distinguished Gentleman, Sgt. Bilko, Greedy, Trial And Error, The Whole Nine Yards, The Fighting Temptations and most recently, Wild Target. His first produced screenplay was The Internecine Project (1974).

For television, Jonath

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