If the title of this book sounds about as silly as a headline from Mademoiselle
, rest assured: author Gretchen Craft Rubin has highbrow credentials. An adjunct professor at Yale University and former editor in chief of The Yale Law Journal
, she was also a clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court under Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and served as counsel to Federal Communications Commission chairman Reed Hundt. The book's references are highbrow, too, with Rubin quoting and alluding to everyone from Machiavelli and Sun Tzu to Plutarch, Shakespeare, and Edith Wharton.
That said, the book is still rather, well, silly, albeit more fun and dishy than the average book on getting ahead. It's sort of what you'd expect if People magazine or US Weekly were to put out career guides. Here we learn all sorts of traits that mark the powerful (Ronald Reagan reinstated much of the pomp of the presidency after it was clear the public hadn't gone for President Carter's "common man" approach); the rich (Christina Onassis had her 10-seater airplane fly between France and New York once a week to ship her 100 bottles of Diet Coke, which wasn't available in France); the very famous (Madonna's bodyguards forbad the staff of a hotel where she was staying to speak her name, talk to, or so much as directly look at her); and the sexy (Marilyn Monroe was reputed to have cut a quarter-inch off the heel of one shoe to achieve her legendary "wiggling" walk).
Unfortunately, the book is more effective in relating these anecdotes--what people have done once they've achieved power, wealth, fame, or sexiness (which, of course, involves varying amounts of the prior three characteristics, depending on whom one is trying to attract), or what we, humble readers, might do ourselves once we arrive--than it is in telling us how to get there ourselves. It's a bit like a title it even mentions once, the early 1980s hit The Official Preppy Handbook. That little item also purported to be a how-to, but its delineation of a clearly inbred, elitist lifestyle was meant to be laughed at as much as it was to be taken seriously. Not that you won't learn anything here--far from it: Power Money Fame Sex is astute on every page. It's simply that the thing appears designed to entertain more than to actually edify poor slobs like the rest of us. --Timothy Murphy
From Publishers Weekly
Wisdom and fun abound on every page of this delicious hybrid of two popular genres: self-help and lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous. Gleefully offering strategic advice for the unabashedly ambitious (e.g., "If you're charismatic, make sure you have writers and historians around you"), Craft Rubin distills key research findings into True Rules of alarming simplicity, such as "Those who marry for money earn every penny" and "Succs de scandale is better than no succs at all." Decked out in a kicky graphic design, the primary text is interspersed with useful tips ("Never give anonymously"), photographs of celebrities flaunting their privileges and quotations from writers as diverse as Henry Adams and Judith Krantz. An adjunct professor at the Yale Law School, Craft Rubin offers generous servings of dish on such subjects as the number of times a day the late duchess of Windsor had her hair done, and spins through a discussion of crassly calculating tactics with apparent ease, in a tone adeptly balanced between dead-seriousness and tongue-in-cheek humor. Chapters on the blues associated with scaling the heights of power, money, fame and/or sex will prove reassuring to all who have fallen short of their personal goals in these areas. Craft Rubin's hilarious categories of "trustafarians," "split-erati," "fame parasites," "stalker-azzi," "arm candy" and "jackpots" could easily pass into common parlance as exactly the right terms for the most obnoxiously self-absorbed climbers in any chic coterie. Agents, Christy Fletcher and Michael Carlisle. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.