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4.2 out of 5 stars73
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 3 July 2012
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.
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on 27 January 2012
Mrs Moneypenny's Careers Advice for Ambitious Women

This is an excellent and inspiring read. Mrs M points out that many women lack a strategy for career success and gives guidance and on how to develop one. The book is full of practical tips and real-life examples from many fields (eg makeup artistry), not just corporate life. She points out some of the differences between men and women (men want to be admired, women want to be liked etc) and gives concrete advice on how to combat these. It's great to hear all this from someone with her level of experience and success. All women can learn from this, though it is perhaps fair to say that it assumes the reader will have a degree of intelligence, ability and application.
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on 6 June 2012
I enjoy Mrs Moneypenny's weekly column in the FT and was hoping for more of the same. The book delivered, and I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of pursuing a career in financial services. If you are thinking of doing something slightly out of the ordinary or creative, the advice may not all apply to you, as it basically goes like this:
1) Network as much as you can
2) Study at Oxford or Cambridge
3) Do a finance qualification like ACCA or CFA
4) Take up a prestigious hobby such as shooting game, flying airplanes or alternatively sit on the board of a well known charity
5) Find a stay at home husband and an unattractive nanny/au pair who'll look after the children.
Although her experience clearly is most relevant to those with some social and monetary capital, I'd still recommend it to everyone else as an amusing read that provides some useful insight for any woman looking to forge an identity outside the home.
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on 8 February 2012
Don't usually go in for self-help books, or writing reviews, but here I am doing both! A fantastically frank and humorous look at being a woman in business today, with hugely practical and challenging advice on making it work for you. At the same time it provides relief from the unattainable image of 'you can have it all at once' often portrayed in the media, while leaving no room for all those excuses which stop you driving for success in the highest priority areas.

It feels hugely relevant for me early-ish in my career, but see that it would be equally useful for both more experienced and also pre-career ambitious women. Have already recommended to lots of girlfriends and still have a few chapters to go.
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on 26 January 2012
I picked up this book after reading some very enlightening pieces in the Mail on Sunday You magazine. As someone who has been in the same job role for quite a few years, it was a very refershing insight into the business world in which we work and how we can learn to cope and thrive on a daily basis. Mrs Moneypenny's describes ways in which we can all get ahead and arm ourselves to achieve success. Even if you are in a careers rut, she helps you to identify interested to assist in what may be the next step forward in your career. The book was a very easy to read with a check list at the end of each chapter, which I will be re-reading with my note book and pen. I particularly liked the section in which Mrs Moneypenny reassures you can't have it all. As a control freak, this section was very useful in ensuring we don't take too much on, something we can all be guilty of. Buy this for yourself, enjoy it and recommend it to friends who may appreciate the advice - as Mrs Moneypenny says, there's a place in Hell for women who don't help others!
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on 15 February 2012
Careers Advice for Ambitious Women gives exactly what the title says. It gives humourous, pragmatic and realistic advice on a variety of topics relating to climbing the greasy pole whilst trying to ensure that no-one beneath you can see your knickers. It is very readable without preaching and doesn't assume that you're over-reaching by trying to have it all. I keep this book (and many others) in the smallest room and whenever I'm in there I read a page or two (I think my husband does too). I come out of there feeling positive, informed, educated and entertained. Not a bad result.
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on 7 February 2012
I have just finished your book and felt compelled to write as I am sure thousands of other women will do and say I wish Mrs MoneyPenny had written it 20, 10 or even 5 years ago but at the age of 46 with 2 CCs and half way through my Open University Degree, the pages of this book have so much encouragement and inspiration.
As a result of reading this I plan to step up and accelerate my learning, improve my financial literacy and behave as a proactive role model for women and girls coming up behind me.
With a following wind and some serendipity along the way, hopefully take my place at the top table.

I think Mrs Moneypenny has made a huge contribution to the empowered revolution which I believe is already taking place. Buy this book and pass on.
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on 9 August 2013
I wasn't sure that this book was for me - I used to be a chartered accountant (Mrs Moneypenny rather idolises accountants) but left to go into teaching, surely I'm not Mrs M's type at all?

However I found lots here to inspire and encourage, I'm mid career and was pleased to find reference to some of the things I already do but also found plenty of hints and tips to try out. The ideas on owning your own choices and network building were some of the most helpful to me but there was plenty of meat in each of the "homework" sections (helpfully divided into early career, mid career and later). I am thoroughly enjoying working out how to apply the advice to my sector.

Also very valuable were Mrs Moneypenny's idiosyncratic ideas on child raising - excellent to really hear someone articulating life as it is for working mothers serious about their careers.

The best recommendation of all is probably that I have gone on to order two of Mrs M's recommended titles.
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on 15 May 2012
The content is a bit simplistic. It says that the book is targeted to all ages, but it is a generation behind -at least for me.
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on 1 October 2013
Some bits are ok, some bits are eyebrow raising, but she is honest and rutheless. I consider myself ambitious, but not so much so to put my job importance at nr 1 and family at nr 3, like she does. Furthermore she writes she gave the whole baby caring things 2 weeks before she hired a nanny and she got on with her job. I wonder why she had 3 kids. Nevermind, not here to judje anyone in parenting, maybe I'm not as ambitious as i thought, and realised I don't even want to be so ambitious. Book itself is just okay.
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