Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


Six months ago, Camelot's chief executive Dianne Thompson said she was 'gutted' when it seemed that Sir Richard Branson had pipped her in the race for the National Lottery licence. But for someone who once described herself as 'a woman with balls of steel', failure was not an option. The 49-year-old single mum steered Camelot to victory to win a second term.

She joins our guest contributors in 'From the Top', which this time asks: How do you handle a failure?


Who hasn't wished at one time or another that they could read their boss's grey matter? Jeffrey Garten's new book The Mind of a CEO investigates that hidden landscape and here to review it is a man who has sat in two of the hottest seats in UK industry - Bob Ayling, the former chief executive of British Airways and chairman of NMEC. Forced to resign from both companies, he is now taking a breather and surveying new career opportunities.


An MT hack since 1998, when he abandoned a career in market research in favour of the glamorous life of a business scribbler, Andrew Saunders waves goodbye this month to the Brain Food and Techknow sections and takes on the role of features editor. Delighted as he is with his new position, Saunders notes that professional advancement has not been without cost: 'When I joined MT I had a full head of hair, now look at it. There'll be nothing left to tear out soon.'


When you've grown up in Kenya, followed Hannibal's trail through the Alps and have two teenage children to keep an eye on, home shopping should really be a piece of cake. But when crime writer and MT editor-at-large Steve Cook decided to order a new car over the internet (and save some money), even he wasn't prepared for the bizarre and maddening events that unfolded. Laugh, squirm and cry as he tells the cautionary tale of the Alfa that never was.


For 12 years, Owen Bowcott reported for the Guardian from Belfast, Turkey, Haiti and Iraq. He's been held up at gunpoint in Albania and put the vital nail into the coffin of Jonathan Aitken. Now a news editor on the paper's foreign desk, he writes this month about tussling of another kind - squash. Bowcott lives in a house recently invaded by a plague of moths and says he'd love to spend more time on his favourite hobby - sailing - but is saving for new suits and carpets.


Portrait and interiors photographer for the likes of the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph, as well as various home improvement magazines, Oscar Paisley first studied advertising and then worked around the world as a photographer's assistant. He has earned his living as a freelance for the past four years and says, home or abroad, he just wants to keep taking photographs. This month you can see his work in 'From the Top'.

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