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Sterling’s Gold: How Mad Men’s Fake Memoir Became the Real Deal

Roger Sterling's divine folly-autobiography Sterling’s Gold is now a real book coming out from Grove/Atlantic just in time for the holidays. So, as high-roller Sterling might have advised, we took our questions about the in-show book’s real-world development straight to the top. Grove’s publisher Morgan Entrekin tells us that he first caught up with Mad Men a couple of seasons in, after creator Matt Weiner’s manager, Kieth Addis — a good friend of the social-butterfly publisher — insisted he watch. By this past spring, Entrekin was hooked. “It’s got the kind of sensibility and texture of a good social novel," Entrekin says, "a portrait of an era." That's when Addis asked Entrekin which imprints he should consider pitching on Sterling’s Gold, a then-fictional book that he promised was going to feature big in season four. “I said, ‘How about we do it?’” By August they were working out a complicated deal (given the multiple rights-holders involved) to get Weiner himself to write the preface and the bullet points in the book, in the voice of the character who, Entrekin says, “gets all the good lines.”

As teased on Grove’s website today, Sterling’s Gold will be subtitled “The Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man” and feature the same kitschily framed front cover seen on the show (except for a prominent John Slattery head shot). The text will consist of many of the one-liners you’ve already heard, divided by chapters on "Clients," "Women," "Drinking," and such. “Being with a client is like being in a marriage,” reads one familiar koan. “Sometimes you get into it for the wrong reasons and eventually they hit you in the face.”

A handy gift book, to be sure, and a hell of a toilet read. But Entrekin says there won’t be any full-on juicy anecdotes from Roger’s colorful past. So those of us looking for more salacious sex stories from the heyday of Bert Cooper and the Queen of Perversions Miss Blankenship will be disappointed — or at any rate, will have to settle for more cryptic aperçus along the lines of: “Remember, when God closes a door, he opens a dress.”

Photo: Grove/Atlantic