Independently minded publishing

– Juliette Mead, The Daily Mail, 16th July 1994

‘City insiders will find this book compelling, but it should be required reading for all those, inside or outside the City, who have ever harboured the faintest, niggling suspicion that they are not worth their pay cheque. He is as honest about his own shortcomings as he is about others. His boss thought he was ‘crap’, and he thought his boss was a ‘nasty bastard’. Parton is always economical in his character portrayals, as in the deliciously brief: ‘Let’s be quite honest. He is a bastard and I hate him.’ The book amusingly attacks anyone and everyone who plays a role on the City stage: personnel managers, the Sloanes who haunt dealing rooms flogging men’s shirts and the entire French race, to name a few. The description of his abortive job hunt contains a wonderful indictment of headhunters. I have seen many people in Parton’s shoes and his portrayal is painfully accurate. He is delightful on the subject of responses to the standard interviewing questions, such as ‘What motivates you?’, to which the correct answer is: ‘Lots and lots of money.’ Being honest about the City is a dangerous game. I think it will pay off for Jim Parton, but if he is really nursing any hope of being lured back with a quarter-of-a-million package, he’d be well advised to put that dream in his bottom drawer and forget all about it. Parton is blessed with a lovely, comic turn of phrase, reminiscent of Bill Bryson, and although his publisher let the odd hideously tangled sentence through the editorial net, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. I was more bothered by the occasional moments when his commendable cynicism lapsed into grapes of an exceedingly sour variety, but he clearly had a tough year and he deserves a break. This is a personal testament, and towards the end of it I was asking three questions. Is he a nice chap? Almost definitely. Is he right aout the City? Yes and no; I agree a lot of brokers are overpaid and arrogant, but he seems unlucky to have been surrounded by such dreadfully mediocre specimens. Finally, is he a good writer? Yes, he is. He keeps his knife sheathed for the analysts, but I am sure he would agree with me that far too many are guilty of sitting on the fence when it comes to a recommendation, so I’ll now stick my neck out: It’s a Buy.’