Today I was proud to receive a complementary copy of a new text book about the European Commission by Manuel Szapiro, a young official in the European Commission and a lecturer at the College of Europe (Bruges) and Sciences Po (Paris). The book is entitled: The European Commission, A Practical Guide – What It Is, What it Does, How It Does It and it does just what it says and is therefore priceless to anybody working in or with the institution. On the back-cover blurb Commission Vice-President Marius Sefcovic praises ‘the book’s pragmatic approach and lively content… this in-depth practical look from the inside contributes to fighting … a persistent lack of knowledge regarding this one-of-a-kind institution.’ It is the latest product from the ever-excellent stable of John Harper Books and I commend it warmly. I confess to a personal interest. When I became a professor at the College of Europe in 2000, I was given as assistant a very bright young Franco-Spanish gentleman who had finished top of the previous year as a student. Together, Manuel Szapiro and I built a course (about the European Parliament) from scratch and then implemented it. One of the challenges busy practitioners face in teaching at Bruges is a sheer lack of time to survey the literature. With Manu (as he is known) as my assistant that was never a problem. It was an immense privilege to have Manu as my assistant and I am hugely proud of, though not surprised by, his latest achievement.