This book is written by Heather McGregor under her alias of Mrs Moneypenny, a fictional character who writes a regular column for the FT Weekend Magazine. A former investment banker who now runs a specialist head-hunting firm focusing on the communications sector, is a visiting professor at Cass Business School, a business commentator and a charity trustee, she has written two other books in the past decade, Survival in the City (2003) and Mrs Moneypenny: E-mail from Tokyo (2006).
Whatever others may say about Mrs Moneypenny, the fact is that she does not pretend to be a superwoman and knows that no one else is either. Her advice is practical, honest, clear, direct and, therefore, relatable to the reader. This is a strongly recommended book for anybody, of either gender, that is interested in hearing from someone with real-world experience about developing strategies for career success.
There are several key areas in this book. One notable area is preparing for the next step in our careers. Mrs Moneypenny says don’t waste resources trying to address every single area of your life simultaneously—it’s unrealistic to think we can have it all, especially when we don’t need it all. She also makes a strong point about self-awareness, knowing your own position and not trying to hide it. If you measure yourself against what you value, it helps your focus and it helps you drive your own career.
For a successful career, the book says, you want to be interesting to people; and to be that to others you have to be interested in people. It also talks about making positive decisions, sorting your priorities out and so on. A lot of this is pertinent to many women who are working out how to make balances throughout all areas of their life.
The book also discusses your alma mater in relation to your CV. On our CVs the college or university we went to is often positioned prominently but even if you’ve obtained a good degree from a good college, if the college goes into a downward spiral by the time you’re, say, 45 or 50, the quality of the degree diminishes. What can you do to assure your school or university’s reputation stays vey much at the academic forefront by continuing to support it after you leave? You can hardly criticise if you don’t contribute in some way.
Mrs Moneypenny points out that to truly build networks and professional relationships with others; you need to find out about their life. What motivates them as a person goes beyond purely their work persona. The book is particularly vocal about people who most often speak too much and don’t listen enough. As it observes, in life people are unlikely to remember and judge you by that one presentation you gave or by the way you looked but they won’t forget how you made them feel. These are arguably the most important words in Mrs Moneypenny’s book. You have to work incredibly hard to make people forget the way they feel about anything, including you.
There are many careers books on the market. As this book is strongest in the areas of the personal and the practical, it makes it one of the best around.