“I have only stolen one book in my life, and that was a copy of the Los Angeles Yellow Pages, which I took from my suite at the Beverly Hilton hotel. This was in 1987 when I attended the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. A Hollywood premiere is an extraordinary event, but in many ways it was outclassed by the LA Yellow Pages, which I read during a bored moment. It struck me that I should hang on to this precious volume which transformed my holiday at the expense of Warner Brothers.
What is interesting about the LA Yellow Pages is the picture it gives of real life in Los Angeles, so different from the glitzy world of film premieres, stars and directors. There are more psychiatrists listed than plumbers, and more dating bureaus than doctors, and more poodle parlours than vets. Like the classified advertisements in newspapers, which provide a picture of the readership, the Yellow Pages of any great city reveals its true underside. The Los Angeles Yellow Pages is richer in human incident than all the novels of Balzac.”