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Seq Chapter: The Gospel according to Sir James

02 June, 2008

For those who wish to be more like Bond, what better source of advice than that of his "own" which we find in the Ian Fleming books? Amidst all of the action (violent and otherwise) in which we find 007, there are his gems of quips, comments and counsel, mandates and maxims that can aid the would be Bond on his road to greater Bondom.

ian fleming novels

Let's go to Casino Royale for a start, which is appropriate, since that was Fleming's first (Champagne) magnum opus which introduced Bond to the world.

"He always knew when his body or his mind had had enough and he always acted on the knowledge. This helped him to avoid staleness and the sensual bluntness that breeds mistakes."

Sound advice for those times when we are not exactly mens sana in corpore sano, and in need of some down time to refresh our batteries. Plenty of water, eight hours shuteye a night and you'll be able to kiss kiss bang bang with the best of them.

For those of us are fond of gustatory adventures, Bond tells us in CR, "I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat or drink." Why not? Eat drink and be merry, for maybe tomorrow never dies, but sooner or later we will. Better a life filled with filet mignon than Salisbury steak, no?

In furtherance of the above, let's listen to Vesper, when she says in CR, "I like doing everything fully. Getting the most out of everything one does." (Good thing, too, for Vesper didn't exactly prove the infallibility of the standard mortality charts for women in the book or the movie. Overdosed in the book, drowned in the movie. Vesper certainly got the most out of everything she did, including dying.)

Moving to Goldfinger, Bond gives us some 24 karat advice with "Regret was unprofessional." It's also unproductive.

Bond also tells us that "He was prepared to listen to anyone who was a master of his subject - any subject." Not only polite, but frequently profitable, that maxim. How often do we get ideas we can use in our life, from listening to experts in other fields, other lifestyles, other cultures? If you're open to it, the answer should be pretty often.

On our journey getting to Yes, there is some good advice to be had from Dr. No. In that work, the evil genius with the silver Tong, gives the following pearls of wisdom to us:

"When one wants a thing, one gets it. If you fail at the large things, it means you have not large ambitions. Concentration, focus, that is all. The aptitudes come, the tools forge themselves. Dissipation of energy, fragmentation of vision, loss of momentum, the lack of follow through, these are the vices of the herd."

That advice, for many of us, is just what the Doctor ordered. It's the magic of thinking big with duck sauce and an egg roll, but it is time tested advice regardless of the plate its put on.

Even secret agents have bad days. Bond gets balled up in Casino Royale, and gets the point in From Russia With Love - the hard way. Bond has some words to the wise in From Russia With Love, with respect to ruminations about bad luck and bad times.

"Never job backwards. What might have been was a waste of time. Follow your fate and be satisfied with it and be glad not to be a second hand motor salesman, or a yellow press journalist pickled in gin and nicotine, or a cripple or dead."

(Apologies to any second hand motor salesman and yellow journalists reading the above).

How often do we think back on the sale, the woman, or the fish that got away. Bond's right again. That kind of woulda coulda shoulda thinking is a waste of time. Don't engage in it.

And while we're at it in FRWL, you men out there take note of the following sartorial advice, "Bond mistrusted anyone who tied his tie with a Windsor knot. It showed too much vanity. It was often the mark of a cad." This from a guy who wore spread collars in the movies. Well, the four in hand serves just as well.

And while you're untying the Windsor, remember this also From Russia With Love:

"J'aime les sensations fortes," You should have enough French to be able to translate Bond's words without my help. (If you have any strong feelings about the subject, you're on the right track).

Here's some golden wisdom from The Man With the Golden Gun:

"The first law for a secret agent is to get his geography right, his means of access and exit, and assure his communications with the outside world." That's good advice for any executive type, secret or otherwise. It cuts down on worry.

And that's a good thing, because Bond tells us in On Her Majesty's Secret Service"Worry is a dividend paid to disaster before it is due." Besides, "When the odds are hopeless, when all seems to be lost, then is the time to be calm, to make a show of authority - at least of indifference."
That piece of advice comes to you from high atop Piz Gloria.

Thus, if we follow the above maxims, we will find ourselves not only being more like Bond, but enjoying our own lives more.

As 007 said in You Only Live Twice,

"Might as well make oneself comfortable before one went for the big sleep."

© 2008 W. Adam Mandelbaum Esq. -

Author of The Born Again Bachelor's Bible - Great tips for divorced or divorcing men
Member Association For Intelligence Officers
Former operative at NSA
Present New York Attorney

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