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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great motivation for anyone doing anything creative
Before you get confused by the "World's best selling book" tagline, read the title of the book again. "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be." Obviously, Arden aspires to have this be the world's best selling book.

All of the advice in this book comes out of Arden's experience in the advertising industry, but it has value for everyone doing...
Published on August 19, 2005 by richard winchell

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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's Not How Bad the Book Is, It's How Good You Thought It Would Be
The title of this book had me very excited to read its content. I thought for sure I'd find some insightful commentary about building and exuding confidence in yourself and your work. Perhaps there would be some helpful tips on re-shaping your thinking and setting goals and ways to achieve aspirations you weren't entirely sure you could reach. Maybe there'd even be some...
Published on December 27, 2010 by designer.eb


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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great motivation for anyone doing anything creative, August 19, 2005
By 
richard winchell (Vancouver + San Francisco) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
Before you get confused by the "World's best selling book" tagline, read the title of the book again. "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be." Obviously, Arden aspires to have this be the world's best selling book.

All of the advice in this book comes out of Arden's experience in the advertising industry, but it has value for everyone doing work in creative fields. (And as many have said, business as a whole is a creative pursuit.) Even the advice that seems to be advertising-centric has wider relevance, if you open your mind a bit.

There's a lot of very good advice in this book, presented in a very easy to digest format. I come back to this book again and again whenever I need a pep talk, and every time it works. How are being unafraid of failure, having ambition, and being open to new ideas not relevant to your life?
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's Not How Bad the Book Is, It's How Good You Thought It Would Be, December 27, 2010
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
The title of this book had me very excited to read its content. I thought for sure I'd find some insightful commentary about building and exuding confidence in yourself and your work. Perhaps there would be some helpful tips on re-shaping your thinking and setting goals and ways to achieve aspirations you weren't entirely sure you could reach. Maybe there'd even be some creative tidbits to appeal to my designer self. I'm sad to say I found very few if any of these things in the book.

I've read some reviews of people complaining that the cover is mis-leading to those not within the advertising industry and I can certainly understand their point. Many of Arden's thoughts are framed from the perspective of an ad exec or creative director. This didn't deter me personally as I have a background in advertising though I've since moved into consulting and user experience design. What did bother me, however, was the old-school mentality of his advice. The advice perpetuates what many now consider to be harmful practices to the industry such as spec work and exaggerating in ways that seem smarmy-leading to consumers' mistrust in the ad industry. I even found some suggestions in this book to be downright offensive. For example, he suggests creating business cards for yourself which twist your title or company in very mis-leading ways. He suggests a "Pump Attendant" create cards for himself that tout "Petroleum Executive" and that a first-year student of architecture print cards which lead the recipient to believe they OWN an architectural firm. I suppose I can see his point if it's that we should not feel hindered by our current title but be willing to explain, with confidence, our true value or future value. But why can't you talk up your good qualities, willingness to learn, strong work ethic and do it all while being confident AND honest? I'd never want to work with someone that I felt intentionally deceived me about their position or status to get ahead.

And lastly, I don't feel the author went into enough depth on any of the topics in this book. His thoughts are sometimes disjointed and mostly superficial. I'd have rathered he choose one or two points in this book and give more in-depth analysis, personal anecdotes and solid advice based on his experiences. I did decide to give this book two stars because I found three or four morsels of valuable insight and there are some nice quotes in the back. I suppose if that's all you're looking for and you're willing to pay $10 for it, then this book isn't all that bad. But, for my expectations and for my money, it just wasn't enough.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's why this is a great book, January 28, 2012
By 
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
Paul Arden's books are among my favorites.

Each time I feel the need for a moral boost, I reach out for "It's not how good you are ..." and the companion book " whatever you think, think the opposite."

Both books contain a collection of aphorism on business and creativity, nicely illustrated.

A lot of reviewers complain about this book . . . It's true that the author has a style that's polarizing -- but it's part of the jolt. This book is a kick in the pants, not an in-depth essay.

One-liners books (or books with quotes) are here to give instant rush of inspiration -- not help solve complex problem. In this context, this book works very nicely.

The first four pages pack serious punch -- they suggest that no matter where we start, it's up to us to make it happen. Arden destroys the idea that "if only we were different" we could succeed in our life. I found this very honest and refreshing.

Pros: fun, fast read, inspiring.
Cons: short, fast read

If you look for something in the same genre, I also recommend You Are a Circle: A Visual Meditation for the Creative Mind
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great little book! With Pick-Me-Up again Quality, December 25, 2005
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
I picked it up because the title grabbed me but when I looked inside the pictures did too! Author Paul Arden has put together a highly illustrated book which integrates the words almost seemlessly with the images.

Definitely a book written with an advertising edge for anyone who is working in any field where creativity is needed (and that's in every job in any part of the world). Because it's small you can pick it up and drive through a few pages without any difficulty. Text is large enough to be read by anyone making it very easy on the eyes.

What is really moving is that the concepts are easy to grasp making it simple to apply the ideas Paul has shared. You'll appreciate this aspect if you're a busy person with hardly no time to read. And if you've read any of my other reviews you know how important and mind growing a book has to be for me to read. So yes, this book has all the right pieces in the construct for you to achieve great mental development and a few laughs along the way. You'll enjoy it if you like books with an upbeat and insightful nature.

Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very inspiring book with the title proving the point, January 6, 2004
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
This is a very inspiring book for open-minded people. If you do not believe in yourself and don't want to listen to anyone who tells you how great you REALLY are, do not waste the money.
If you do - you'll find plenty of common sense gems in this book (like "If you get stuck, draw with a different pen"). One can say: "If they are common sense, why do I need this book - I have enough of common sense myself?". Sure you do. That is why you are where you are, right? :-) Pick up this book to remind yourself about what you know and get inspired about what is possible.
Some people complained that the title is very self-promotional. It is. And that is the point of the book and the title: "It's Not How Good You Are, " (let's say it refers to the reality of sales of the book) "It Is How Good You Want To Be: The World's Best Selling Book by Paul Arden" (it wants to be very good - it wants to be the world's best-selling book).
Who knows - it might just as well become one...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet inspirational, February 20, 2004
By 
Ron (North York, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
This book is a very simple book with a powerful message. You can probably finish reading the entire book in 20 minutes. However, the lessons that are taught in this book are quite memorable. Each "chapter" contains a life lesson in a very succinct and graphic format. Each lesson probably has less than 10 sentences long but i must confess the lessons really stick in your mind and i often find myself revisiting it again whenever self-doubts arise. It's definitely worth checking out.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never a dull moment., April 16, 2004
By 
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
There are lessons within this book that you may have learnt. But with that busy life of yours that once the idea had popped into your head, it popped right out. This just acts out as a little guide book, a reminder perhaps to get you through to remembering what you really want and how to get it. Though it draws on advertising mainly, it can be presented in many levels. There are great examples, pictures... Nothing too boring that would make you set it aside and never touch the damn thing again. Something easy to pick up when you've lost all hope and motivation. Its language and simplistic manner is set out so that there is no "drag time." There are books that span pages to get a point across, making it hard to pinpoint their exact meaning. Others too open to analogical readings. This is not one of them. Easy to reference, inspirational quotes, a great read really. An enjoyable one too.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Title says all, December 10, 2005
By 
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
I knew I had to buy the book when I looked through it at the store. It's pretty and designed well. It's dimensions are pleasing, and the size perfect for one sitting. Since Arden has experience in the advertising industry, he knows how to keep my attention. And that means it's not some how-to book with lots of text. The book is meant to stimulate you, not cram you full of advice. So, it's not "fluff."

Though my copy was taken from me, I still remember many parts of the book and plan to buy another. This book is indeed for everyone, not just those in advertising. Arden merely uses his own experience in his field to make a universal point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One star or five stars, depends, March 31, 2008
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
As a pro trader who read a lot of books on creativity, self improvement and contrarian thinking/trading, I found the author's ideas familiar, but not his interesting presentation through extensive and interesting use of graphs, pictures and page designs. I dare not recommend it to any serious self help book reader or creative professional. Nevertheless, it's a good choice for a 30 minute leisure reading.

p.s. Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference.

Do not seek praise. Seek criticism. If, instead of seeking approval, you ask, "What's wrong with it? How can I make it better?", you are more likely to get a truthful, critical answer. pg 26

If you cant solve a problem, it's because you're playing by the rules. pg 49

There is nothing that is more certain sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different. Einstein pg 51

Fail. Fail again. Fail better. - Samuel Beckett pg 53

It is very difficult for him to imagine anything else if what you show him has such detail. Show the client a scribble. Explain it to him, talk him through, let him use his imagination. Get him involved. pg 81

Different strokes for different folks. pg 82

All these lines (slogans) won the business because all of them made the chairman and staff proud to represent the company they worked for. pg 107

The first thing to decide before you walk into any negotiation is what to do if the other fellow says no. Ernest Bevin
Those who lack courage will always find a philosophy to justify it. Albert Camus
Some people take no mental exercise apart from jumping to conclusions. Harold Acton
What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve. Clement Stone
We dont see things as they are. We see them as we are. Anais Nin
Going to church doesnt make you a christian anymore than going to a garage makes you a mechanic. Laurence J Peter pg 122-3
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational advice for creative individuals!, December 26, 2004
By 
Tim Burness (Brighton, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World's Best Selling Book (Paperback)
"The world's best-selling book" (the tongue-in-cheek subtitle), is a great little collection of ideas, suggestions and practical advice from a man responsible for many successful British advertising campaigns over the last 25 years. Although there is a practical bias towards the business world of advertising and media, this book is likely to appeal to any individual who is interested in creativity and thinking for themselves. It is beautifully designed and very entertaining.

In the first few pages, Paul Arden encourages you to set your goals high and aim beyond what you believe you are capable of. Then there are "The Fundamentals" such as "Do not seek praise. Seek criticism", "Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you", "Don't promise what you can't deliver". My favourite is "It's right to be wrong", where Arden points out how anything is possible when you're not trying to be right. The risk is greater, you are in the unknown, but "there's more chance of it being amazing".

A combination of "common sense", awareness, business advice, communication skills, positive thinking, a few presentation tricks and some quirky strokes of genius. Great stuff.
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