On James Bond

So You Want to Be an Evil Genius

How to Avoid the Perennial Mistakes of Would-be World Conquerors

By David Morefield

If all my years of watching Bond movies have taught me anything, it’s how not to take over the world. Sure, fellows like Dr. No, Goldfinger, and Blofeld have hatched some truly brilliant schemes (except for that weird bit about hypnotizing pretty girls into loving chickens, or whatever), and you certainly can’t accuse them of not trying hard enough. But no matter how close they come to succeeding, it seems the same, predictable slip-ups doom them to failure every time.

Sometimes I think I could make good money offering seminars to would-be world conquerors, if only they were the sort to listen to advice. Sadly, their typical response to constructive criticism is to hurl someone into an acid bath. But let’s suppose for a moment you’re an aspiring evil genius yourself, and that you’re willing to take an objective look at what things worked for your predecessors and where you might outdo them. What sort of lessons might be learned from what’s gone before?

First, we know that to be a great Bond villain, you’ve got to think big. Common acts of evil like forgery, embezzlement, and telemarketing are fine for beginners, but Bond’s foes are a more ambitious lot; they aim to break into Fort Knox, snatch space capsules from their orbits, unleash Omega viruses, and maneuver the superpowers into nuclear war. As Auric Goldfinger put it, “Man has climbed Mt. Everest . . . gone to the bottom of the ocean. He has fired rockets to the Moon, split the  …

More from David Morefield

Stay Updated

on our daily essay, giveaways, and other special deals

Our Books

Subscribe via RSS