I used to own a copy of The meaning of Liff
On the cover there was a large orange
which said This book will change your life
When you looked at the meaning
it said (approximately as this is from memory)
Any book whose contents are belied
by its cover, for example a book which
has an orange sticker on the cover saying
This book will change your life
but which is actually about nonexistent words
I gave the book to an acquaintance
and never saw it again. A few years later
I bought another copy, a newer edition,
but it didn't have the sticker on it.
In the new edition the meaning of Liff had changed
Now it meant
Any common experience for which
there is not yet a word
I imagine that the cost
of placing an
orange sticker on the cover was too high
for the publishers and they had changed
the meaning to make the sticker redundant.
The book was written while the authors were on holiday.
The holiday was supposed to be a working holiday during which
they would thrash out an outline for one of
the hitch-hiker sequels, but Douglas Adams didn't feel like working
on the project. They had a road map of Britain with them and were
inspired by some strange place names.
Although it has been many years since I have read the book a few
of the names/definitions remain with me.
The sequel was called The Deeper Meaning of Liff