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How to make a career part of a happy life

<strong>WOMEN, WORK AND THE ART OF SAVOIR FAIRE</strong><br />BY MIREILLE GUILIANO<br /><strong>Simon and Schuster, &pound;12.99</strong><br />****<br /><br />BEFORE WRITING the bestseller, French Women Don&rsquo;t Get Fat, Guiliano was a top business woman &ndash; she took Veuve Cliquot&rsquo;s American subsidiary from a three-person band with zero market presence to a 25 per cent market share and purchase by French luxury giant LMVH. And after years of listening to the women she lectured at business schools implore her to write a business book &ndash; she did. Only this doesn&rsquo;t look like a business book at all.<br /><br />With pastel blue cover and a jolly illustration of a woman in a suit, it looks more like chick lit. And it reads like a really good, really long conversation with your mother, or some other sage female figure that you trust. It&rsquo;s a soothing mixture of general life wisdom (you can&rsquo;t control everything, sometimes your best-laid plans are uprooted by chance as Giuliano&rsquo;s was when she fell in love with her now-husband and moved to New York) and cold truths derived from years of being a boss (going to a good university matters a lot; wear an un-ironed shirt to an interview and you can kiss the job goodbye).<br /><br />The best bit is the advice about approaching your career. Guiliano says you must find a way to fuse what you love with what you are talented at, and make the most of your opportunities.<br /><br />Guiliano&rsquo;s magic ingredient is her voice, with its singsong way of dispensing common sense, the worldly calmness she exudes. She&rsquo;s not interested in being angry at men, but in helping women make their lives better, making small adjustments to keep quality of life good while remaining passionate about work in a field that appeals.<br /><br /><strong>Zoe Strimpel</strong><br /><br /><strong>THE 50TH LAW </strong><br />BY 50 CENT AND ROBERT GREENE<br /><strong>Profile, &pound;15.00</strong><br />**<br /><br />ROBERT GREENE is a best-selling writer of management books whose previous works include the 33 Strategies of War and the 48 Laws of Power. He obviously knows that books with numbers in the title sell well. It was a small step to write a book whose author&rsquo;s name has a number in it.<br /><br />And so we have this tome, co-authored with the drug dealer turned rapper 50 Cent, who according to Forbes earned $150m in 2008. Greene&rsquo;s previous tough-talking books have been lapped up by hip-hop stars, who have quoted from the 48 Laws on their records.<br /><br />50 Cent &ndash; real name Curtis Jackson &ndash; grew up in Queens with no father, and a mother who was murdered when he was eight. He had a successful crack-dealing career (until he was shot). Greene sees him as an example of that American archetype, &ldquo;the hustler&rdquo;, or alternatively, &ldquo;a kind of hip-hop Napoleon Bonaparte&rdquo;. Greene accompanied him to business meetings and says that he is an effective negotiator.<br /><br />Jackson&rsquo;s story is remarkable, no doubt. The entrepreneurial attitude that had helped him flourish on the streets helped him in the music business &ndash; he has set up his own label and production company, taking control of his own destiny.<br /><br />The book is a mix of Machiavelli and &ldquo;Confucius say&hellip;&rdquo; pop business psychology, and the gist is that fearlessness, hard work and ingenuity will get you to the top. Not groundbreaking stuff. The real genius here is Greene, who has made the sort of business book that corporate types have been lapping up for years attractive to a whole new audience.<br /><br /><strong>Jeremy Hazlehurst</strong>