This marvelous careers advice book is aimed at women (it says so in the title of course!) but if you are a man - or if you know a man - who is standing at the bottom of the greasy pole looking up, or stalled, clinging on at the halfway mark, then recommend him this. Maybe advise him to buy the Kindle edition, so no-one will see he's reading it - after all, as Mrs Moneypenny points out, image is important. She herself, she reports, is often seen carrying a copy of the FT rolled under her arm, thus demonstrating she is a business-like person.
I feel slightly ashamed to admit I'm not a regular reader of the FT or the Economist - I just can't seem to tear myself away from the Guardian. Neither do I work in the City or possess a degree in accounting (Mrs Moneypenny is currently studying for one and somewhat regrets she didn't do this earlier in life but personally, I couldn't imagine a duller way to spend my time). I haven't attended the World Economic Forum (as yet) or ever been invited to a shooting party at a country house, both of which Mrs Moneypenny recommends as a fine means to improve one's network of contacts and oil the wheels of business. Nonetheless, I rather enjoyed reading about this high-flying, megabucks world, which is testament to Mrs Moneypenny's humorous style, so finely honed over a number of years in her FT column of the same name.
Although Mrs Moneypenny clearly intends, at one level, for her advice for to be taken literally - attend the poshest university you possibly can, study finance, network with the right people, hire a great nanny, sit on the board of a charity and so on - it was the principle of the thing that I really took away: plan ahead, work hard, seek out opportunities, grow some cojones, help others and (some of them) may later help you. In this respect the book has something for you whether you are a primary school teacher aspiring to become a deputy head, a newly-qualified nurse-practitioner looking for your first higher-level prescribing position, an optician studying sports science at night in the hope of becoming a personal trainer, or a mum of toddlers working very part-time whilst looking to the future. Did you guess it? Yes, these ladies are all real people, my chums, and I shall be recommending this book to all of them.
And if your goal is to become a fully paid-up member of the Establishment or to advise an ambitious, clever but not-very-socially-well-connected girl on how to become one (and by this I mean that daddy can't fix her up the right internships), then this book is also for you. Although I think they probably broke the mould after they made Mrs Moneypenny, her advice on how to reach the dizzy heights of blue-chip CEO is solid gold, as well it should be given that, in real life, she runs a headhunting firm.
Do I plan to take up shooting as a result of reading this book? Probably not. But I'm having a very hard think about what the equivalent activity is for my own industry.