Hustling, Happiness and a Blow-Up Doll Named Percy - with a title like that, you just know a book is going to be an interesting ride. The book in question, by Dale Hefer, lived up to its eccentric title and cover art.
Dale Hefer has lived (and indeed is still living) an exciting life. She is a former Businesswoman of the Year winner - most well-known for founding and selling the well renowned full service advertising and communications agency, Chillibush. However, she is much more than a successful entrepreneur, she’s also a mother, a writer - and as she reveals quite frankly and unselfconsciously in this book - a recovering alcoholic.
The book itself is a highly irreverent and entertaining mishmash of business tips and self-help homilies interspersed with personal stories drawn from Dale’s colourful life. Much of the advice Dale gives is drawn from her experience as a member of the AA. She explains just how useful the programme’s steps are to life in general - for everyone, even teetotallers - especially in the chaotic times we find ourselves in right now, where all too many of us have adopted all too many new bad habits since we started working from home.
What is most striking about the book is just how extraordinarily, unflinchingly honest and human it is (mom jokes and all).
Sometimes that honesty is brutal. For example, Dale explains the virtue in giving up hope: in order to let go of and move on from a bad job, a failing relationship, or a business that is no longer serving you. A sentiment I tend to agree with - as does Stephen Fry, in his take on the cursed creature, Hope, which was left behind in Pandora’s Box in greek mythology.
But all the puns, the anecdotes, the vignettes and the tell-it-like-it-is advice ultimately point in the same very positive direction - you need to rely on yourself.
When it comes to all the things that really matter in life, you need to go get them and take care of them yourself.
If you are not offered a seat at the boardroom table? Just pull up your own chair - or better yet, go and build your own table.
If you want a family but your genetics have left you down and you don’t have a suitable man on hand anyway? Well, go out and find a surrogate and persuade a friend to lend you some sperm.