Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


As author of our 'Failure is the New Success' feature, Helen Kirwan-Taylor drew on experience. 'Failure is a subject close to my heart,' she admits. 'If I hadn't been fired from my job at the US embassy in Moscow, I wouldn't have been hired by the FT.' Kirwan-Taylor, who now writes for the Sunday Times and the Telegraph, is an advocate of defensive pessimism. 'If an editor calls, I assume I've done something wrong, then remember that, as a freelancer, only I can fire myself.'


His friends may be surprised to find Stefan Stern writing this month in praise of mental toughness and unflinching management. 'Macho' is not a word that has ever been used to describe him. But Stern says it's time to cut some of the 'emotional intelligence' talk, in favour of a more direct approach in keeping with these sober times. Our picture tells a different story. But then, even tough guys can have a soft side. He may be losing his hair, but at least he got the girl.


As the BBC's economics editor and a former Newsnight house economist, Evan Davis is most familiar popping up on the news to talk about the economy. He's been described as Tigger-like by Jeremy Paxman; as one of the ugliest men on TV by the Radio Times; and as Broadcaster of the Year by the Harold Wincott Foundation. Davis, who writes MT's Cutting Room column, is keen to move economics reporting away from the old staples of interest rates and house prices.


In his new book Brandchild, Martin Lindstrom gets to grips with marketing to tweens (eight- to 14-year-olds). Here to review it for MT is one of Britain's most successful branding practitioners, Rita Clifton, CEO of Interbrand, former vice-chairman of Saatchi & Co - and a mother of two tweens. Her current branding project is Dave Stewart's new members' club, The Hospital, due to open later this year. Clifton also sits on the UK Sustainable Development Commission and Forum for the Future.


Enron raised unsettling questions for the corporate world. This month, business writer Philip Augar reviews John Plender's Going off the Rails to find some answers. Augar is co-author of The Rise of the Player Manager and a visiting fellow at Cranfield School of Management. Out of hours, he does the things a 'boring, middle-aged man does: family, skiing, tennis and running' - but swaps golf for football: 'Depressingly, I'm a Leeds United season-ticket holder.'


Photographer and occasional angler Jake Walters poses here with a 14lb carp. 'Don't tell my girlfriend, but my friend Carl caught this one,' he says. This month, for our 'No Dummies' feature, he went to Madame Tussaud's to photograph its CEO alongside Kylie's wax alter ego. Walters, no stranger to meeting celebs in the flesh (Dennis Hopper, Tom Jones and Robbie Williams have all posed for him), found wax Kylie to be 'quite lifelike'. He also found that if he stood still, he was mistaken for one of the exhibits.

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