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VINE VOICEon May 3, 2011
Pushing sixty and laid off from my last job of a decade made me put things into perspective. I started out at my last company (over a decade ago) able to be creative and resolve tense situations and technical snafus with total carte blanche. But due to several company merges, the last five years found my creativity shut down in lieu of taking direction (with no input allowed) for day to day operations. I turned my brain off and just waited as the layoffs got closer and closer to me. Now that I am free again, I found this book a great help in kick starting my brain. After reading it I decided I would take a "Roman Holiday" - just spend the summer doing what I want to do before I choose a "job" or "career" to go back to.

I am taking all sorts of classes - music, writing, painting, investing (so I do not waste any money and do not stress out about having the summer off), meditation, tai chi.

I read through this book once. Now I am taking a page a day, and journaling my own thoughts to what I have read. What I am finding out is that I am birthing a different person from a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago. And that new person will have something fun and wonderful to offer in the new work I choose that brings me joy.

I highly recommend this book if you feel your creativity has abandoned you. Your mojo has not left you - it is just waiting for you to awaken it from a long nap and for you to start playing together again.
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on April 1, 2008
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. On the other hand, I read this right after the author's another book "It's not how good you are. It's...". The two books are very similar and so I had written two nearly identical reviews for each. Pardon me!

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

Salomon Brothers met with prospective clients not once a month or once a day, but three times a day. That is unreasonable. But it works. Most people are reasonable, that's why they only do reasonably well.pg 42

A young man worked as a runner in an advertising firm. One day he said to his manager, "I'm leaving. I'm going to be a drummer." The manager said, "I didnt know you played the drums." He replied, "I dont, but I'm going to." A few years later that young man played in a band with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce...He became what he wanted to become before he knew he could do it. He had a goal. pg 62

Rememberwhat Jean Luc Godard said: It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to. pg 92

An interviewer with a wooden leg said to Frank Zappa, "With your long hair, from where I am sitting you could be a woman." He replied, "From where I am sitting you could be a table." pg 126
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on July 29, 2006
Arden's second book, like his first, is a zen take on your life in business. He does not tell you what to think as much as he tells you want he thinks and then challenges you to react, to think, to imagine. Great story on steady eddie v. reckless erica and how playing it safe is the least safe thing to do. Forces you to wonder which you are. His advice is anything but typical. To creative types he says don't worry about the medium you want , focus on the money you'll make---"it's honest." The juxtaposing of ideas with art and photos is well done---I liked the ask for a slap in the face advice(ask others to tell you what you did wrong, not what you did right) with the photo of a woman wincing at the slap to come. Why not 5 stars? If I read him right, it'd be an insult.
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on January 8, 2007
This book caught my attention at SF-MOMA. Ever since I bought it, it has grabbed the attention of all friends who visit me. It's a quick read where each page you flip has a certain controversial wisdom. I guess everything about the book screams that Paul Arden is practicing what he is preaching. It is easy to disagree with every conclusion he draws, but that's the very point of the book that conventional wisdom must be questioned.

Paul Arden also fits the profile of successful ad gurus. These personalities would trade off controversy over correctness any day. Just by engaging you in an argument about a certain topic, they have achieved their purpose. That of making you have an opinion about that topic and not be indifferent.

I wouldn't live my life by this book. But certainly flip a page every once in a while to review my life.

Makes it a good coffee table book too. A person who spends 60 seconds would stand to gain something, as would a person who spends 60 minutes.
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on September 24, 2008
I bought this book because it was required reading for a class. It's pretty common sense stuff. It's alright, but if you can borrow it from a friend, go that route.
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on January 16, 2016
Kinda eh, like a senior design student's final project if said student read some Nietzsche and though that haphazardly flipping common sense on its head is inherently valuable. There wasn't one single redeeming insight or piece of advice that stuck or made it worth my time, something you should not assume applies to you. The redeeming quality, worth two of the stars I'm giving, was that the book wasted very little of my time, I read it in one sitting, less than an hour. I've read much longer books with no payoff and no recourse.
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on December 7, 2015
I love Paul Arden and this book was my first "Arden experience". Witty, full of good humor and some serious "food for thought". It doesn't matter what your position in life or what your goals are, this book will help you look at things from different angles, and challenge your own ideas about the way it is. A fun and short, casual read good for a quick travel or time-killer.
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on January 24, 2015
This along with his others are short, insightful, and must haves in actual book form. The ability to have this and peruse through when ideas or insights just aren't coming is priceless. It helps jar your thought process and helps you too think. This is an invaluable little tool of a book you'll refer to for years. This is my second copy to replace my former.
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on February 25, 2016
Things to think about even if you "knew it already". Of course knowing isn't doing but it is more motivating to act when you take a new approach, perhaps with a different perspective. You will get more value if you read it mindfully rather than quickly.
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on June 25, 2009
It took me about an hour of slow reading to devour the book. It'll probably take me some time to master the principles.

In that sense, it is like Tao Te Ching.

So here is a review in accord with the spirit of the book:

Instead of spending your time reading books from Malcolm Gladwell, read what Paul Arden has to say about life, business, success and failure.
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