Sharpen Your Heels
by Mrs Moneypenny with Heather McGregor
Ladies, you can't have it all.
At least, this is the message that Heather McGregor, aka Mrs Moneypenny, wants multi-tasking mothers and career women to take from her book. She debunks the myth of the 'superwoman' who simultaneously excels in all areas of her life, and says 'work-life balance' is nonsense.
Instead, we need to learn to set priorities (for example, the parent-teacher meeting vs that CEO conference), delegate and above all, not apologise for the life choices we make. The problem is, she explains, women - unlike men - are programmed to think about others. As little girls, they learn to please and seek the approval of others.
McGregor, 50, is a London-based columnist for the Financial Times, an entrepreneur and mother to children who she refers to fondly as her three 'cost centres'. Her career advice for women ranges from the obvious and generic - qualifications and experience do matter, as does whom you know - to some more relevant nuggets for today's career woman, such as how to manage your online reputation.
There are also tips on how to network without using social media, gatecrash VIP events, and an easy recipe for creating a powerful circle of girlfriends.
Unfortunately for us, despite not being able to have it all, women are expected to do it all. McGregor believes that even in families with stay-at-home fathers and working mothers, it's the mother who still takes the lioness' share of domestic responsibilities. She offers useful advice on how to delegate, and how to work those management skills on nannies and helpers.
She also stresses the importance of not bringing up a sexist household and programming your children to believe that they can contribute around the house rather than waiting for mother to do it all.
The book is well structured. Each chapter is brought to life with case studies of inspirational women, ends with a summary and provides homework for women at different ages/stages in their careers.
It's written in a lighthearted way, and manages at times to be mildly funny. Whether it's insightful enough to stand out in one of the most saturated corners of the bookstore remains to be seen.