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It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be: The world's best selling book Paperback – June 1, 2003
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"Talented but timid? This noted ad‐man is here to tell you that ambition, not just mere ability, is the key to success in his world ... Arden is punchy and memorable about ’failing better next time’." – i-D
"Saatchi & Saatchi creative legend‐turned‐director Paul Arden has committed his considerable wit and creative thinking to paper in a handy‐sized book on how to succeed. Not just in advertising but in business generally. Far from being one of those excruciating self‐help guides favored by buttoned‐down businessmen, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be is a startlingly refreshing, unputdownable collection of thought‐provoking pearls of wisdom." – Shots
"Chapters such as It’s Right to be Wrong, Have you Noticed How the Cleverest People at School Are Not Those Who Make It In Life? and Do Not Seek Praise, Seek Criticism are accompanied by an entertaining collection of photos and illustrations. Get it and you’ll never think the same way again." – Shots
"The former creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi teaches readers how to smash down life’s impossible barriers using a fresh combination of wit, smart thinking, and horiffic mistakes. Outrageously genius." – The Good Book Guide
". . .A wonderful book by one of the most brilliant men I have ever met. . . I met him when he worked as creative director at Saatchi and Saatchi and he was simply inspirational – as is this practical, unpretentious little book." – Amanda Platell
"...Deliciously rich paperback..." – Chicago Sun‐Times
"British adman Paul Arden’s semi‐parodic study in self‐help is as funny as it is provocative..." – Radar
"Who is this guy Arden anyway? Please forgive my enthusiasm this month for quoting Paul Arden extensively, but his wisdom has recently inspired me. Arden was the creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi from 1977–1992, and his tiny new book out in May, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be (Phaidon , $7.95), packs a big punch. This magnificent little manifesto is for true creative types to read, savor and carry in their pocket. It should remind us all that nothing is impossible." – PAPER magazine"
About the Author
Paul Arden (1940‐2008) spent a stormy 18 years in advertising and then found his Alma Mater in Saatchi & Saatchi in 1977, where he worked for 15 years. During his tenure as Executive Creative Director he was responsible for some of Britain’s most successful advertising campaigns – including British Airways, Silk Cut, Intercity and Fuji – and famous slogans, such as "The Car in front is a Toyota" and "The Independent – It is. Are you?". In 1993 Arden set up the film production company Arden Sutherland‐Dodd and began a successful second career as a writer with a weekly column in The Independent and several publications including Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite (2006) and God Explained In A Taxi Ride (2007)."
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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?
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
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.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An easy read with somewhat dated information. Great reminders nevertheless!Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
Makes you embrace yourself more and gives you so much motivations on how to to achieve your goals in life. It is a must read!Published 11 days ago by Franz
I already read this book and bought it to give it as a present. I really like Paul Arden's books, he writes like if he was talking to his readers as a friend giving advice.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This book is a fast read and something you can carry with you for inspiration. Don't just sit there, do. Go for it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Terry
Quick read. Had good points but I felt they were pretty obvious. I still enjoyed it. It's a good reminder.Published 2 months ago by lilly