One of the big appeals of James Bond is the way in which he can seemingly handle himself in whatever situation he finds himself and possesses the social skills to get by anywhere.
Whether he’s playing the high stakes gambling tables of Montecarlo, Montenegro or Las Vegas, or at a gypsy camp near Istanbul he can get by and his language skills – French and German in the books and Oriental Languages in You Only Live Twice at least – certainly help him out to extraordinary effect.
At the casino he knows how to play a variety of games, and play them well; he also has a variety of skills such as skiing, diving and fast driving that can help him out when the mission gets physical.
While in the films he became a know it all from Goldfinger onwards – probably the worst excess was in Moonraker when 007 identified an orchid by its molecular diagram, obviously having studied molecular biology in his spare time – although Daniel Craig’s Bond hasn’t yet shown that trait.
In the book On Her Majesty’s Secret Service he manages to escape from Piz Gloria on skis – as he does in the film, although in the book he can barely ski thanks to being so out of practise; in fact it was so many years since he had skied that the style of skiing since he’d last hit the slopes had changed completely thanks to more flexible bindings.
And when he has had to scuba dive – Live And Let Die and Thunderball spring to mind – he shows he is capable rather than expert. So, James Bond -particularly in the film incarnation, anyway – has a range of skills that mean he is well equipped to face pretty much whatever the villains may throw at him.
Now, a couple of years back I came across a podcast that discusses some of these skills in great detail. It also has a lively forum where people discuss improving their lives using James Bond as an inspiration. The website and podcast is called Being James Bond and its slogan – “If James Bond Can Do It… You Can Do It!” – sums it up in its entirety.
In a way it compliments Paul Kyriazi’s How to Live The James Bond Lifestyle audiobook, which is also worth grabbing by the way. The podcasts have covered things like how to play Texas Holdem, Piloting a Plane, Drinks and Health and Fitness so quite comprehensive. There are also bonus podcasts with reviews of the DVDs, and other pits and pieces, which are also worth a listen.
So, recently the guy behind Being James Bond, Joe Darlington, updated and transcribed some of his podcasts and compiled them in a book; the result is Being James Bond – Volume One.
Since the content basically consists of transcriptions of some of the podcasts it means that if you’re already familiar with the podcasts you’ll know what to expect. However, it is good to get the same information in a different format – while I love listening to podcasts, I also love to be able to flip through a book too. As well as being available as a paperback you can also download it in PDF format and it’s just been made available for the Kindle too.
Whether this book will appeal to you depends on how much you would like to emulate James Bond. It discusses specific skills such as bungee jumping, skiing and Texas Holdem, which may or may not appeal to you but act as an interesting primer to these even if you’re not.
Where to buy Being James Bond – Volume One