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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Most of History, "Anonymous" Was a Woman., February 8, 2012
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This review is from: Sharpen Your Heels: Mrs. Moneypenny's Career Advice for Women (Hardcover)
This review is being written from the perspective of someone who has worked with women, for women, and (later in life) as an employer of women, some of whom became very successful in their careers and some of whom had a more difficult time climbing the proverbial ladder of success. As I will describe in a moment, the advice is fascinating, and I recommend this book for professional and career women of all ages.

The authors are "Mrs. Moneypenny with Heather McGregor." Mrs. Moneypenny (not to be confused with Miss Moneypenny, the secretary for James Bond's boss, M) is the pseudonym used by a Financial Times columnist who has written on women's topics for 12 years. She runs her own successful business, is married and has three children. McGregor is a leading London headhunter, has three academic degrees, teaches from time to time at the prestigious London Business School and the Cass Business School, and chairs Career Academies UK, an educational charity. Importantly, nobody has ever seen Mrs. Moneypenny and Dr. McGregor at the same place at the same time. In short, we have a very well qualified and successful author.

This book is well written, easy to read, and incorporates a no-nonsense approach that the reader will likely find to be effective and even inspiring. It is substantive, yet you will likely find it hard to put down. It makes use of many years of the author's observations and experience. With a few of clarifying comments here and there, here's how the main part of the book is organized:

1. What You Know. Qualifications matter, because they give you confidence, act as an independent testimony to your capabilities, and provide you with important links to others.

2. Who You Know. The author wrote her PhD thesis on the concept of "social capital."

3. It Is Never Too Late. I loved this chapter. As the author explains, far too many women give up on their ambitions for the stated reason that "it is too late." Truth be told, it's seldom too late.

4. Just Say No. To get a feel for the author's style, here's how she begins this chapter: "No! Say it. Say it again. Say it out loud. There, see? It's not that difficult, is it?"

5. You Can't Have It All. Perhaps the most important chapter in the book, according to the author. I won't spoil what she has to say.

6. ...But You Have To Do It All. This chapter is specifically for working women with children and women with other responsibilities.

7. Financial Literacy. This was my favorite chapter (I'm an economist). Basically, if you want to become successful in business, you need to be able to speak the language of finance.

8. The Third Dimension. Mrs. Moneypenny tells you that it's not enough to be good at your job and run your home life well. You need a "third dimension" (from a number of alternatives) to round out your effectiveness.

9. Doing Your Own PR. Virginia Woolf once said, "For most of history `Anonymous' was a woman." You need to spend about 5 percent of your time doing your own PR, and you need to understand the most effective techniques.

10. You Can't Do It Alone. The author tells young women that there is no such sentence as, "I can't do it." Rather, the real sentence is, "I can't do it alone." There's good advice here for working with others to improve your effectiveness.

At the end of each chapter there is a "homework" section that helps readers summarize the chapter and organize their activities. I will end with Mrs. Moneypenny's closing advice: "A final word to all the ambitious women who will read this book. When you get to the top--and if you follow my advice, you will do so--remember to turn around and reach back to help the generation of women behind you. As Madeleine Albright once said, `There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.'"
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