Power Money Fame Sex: A User's Guide

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9780671041281: Power Money Fame Sex: A User's Guide

Instructive, ruthless, subversive, and entertaining, Power Money Fame Sex reveals the mysteries of office politics and personal posturing. Whether you're gunning for a promotion at work, a trophy wife, the cover of Time, or a very early retirement, you'll find the secrets laid bare in this indispensable guide. What magazines should adorn your coffee table? Why does your boss flaunt a string of identical blonde girlfriends? How can you create a bidding war -- for yourself? Here you'll find clear explanations with illustrations, tips, and quizzes, ready for use Monday morning. Rubin deciphers the strategies of Warren Buffett, Muhammad Ali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Nixon, and Princess Diana. Vital new concepts emerge, such as the principle of disexpectation (think of a CEO in shorts and a T-shirt); the platinum rule (To whom much is given, more is given); and fame frottage (to get fame, rub up against somebody famous). And if you don't have time to study the classics by Plutarch, Sun-tzu, or Casanova, read on for a synthesis of their most important ideas. Once you understand these tactics, it's up to you to decide how to use them or abuse them. Whether the intricate code exposed in Power Money Fame Sex inspires or infuriates you, remember: if these rules aren't working for you, they're working against you.

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Review:

If the title of this book sounds about as silly as a headline from Mademoiselle or Cosmopolitan, 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

About the Author:

Gretchen Craft Rubin received her undergraduate and law degrees from Yale and was editor in chief of the Yale Law Journal. She clerked on the United States Supreme Court for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and served as counsel to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt. She took off a year in college to work on a U.S. Senate campaign and on Capitol Hill. Rubin teaches at Yale's law and management schools. She lives with her husband, Jamie, and toddler, Eliza, in New York City.

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