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God Explained in a Taxi Ride Paperback – 1 Nov 2007

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God Explained in a Taxi Ride + Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite + It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be: The world's best-selling book by Paul Arden
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141032227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141032221
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Brilliant, bad, charming, irascible and totally off the wall, Paul Arden is an original with extraordinary drive and energy, blessed with a creative genius allied to a kind of common sense that just isn't, well, common (Roger Kennedy, Saatchi and Saatchi)

About the Author

Paul Arden was executive creative director for many years of the advertising behemoth Saatchi and Saatchi. He has written two previous books, and now owns a photographic art gallery in West Sussex. He continues to be in high demand as a public speaker on matters relating to the creative industries.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. ARNOLD on 4 May 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read Paul's two books on creative thinking, this was not as interesting or as mind opening. In fact it's not at all in the same category as it's about God. A few interesting ironies about religion (many I've read before). The comment about the price different religions charge - Christianity is free, Scientologists demand all is an interesting marketing thought. It's tone is a bit mixed. And yes you can read it in 20 minutes. Though I read mine in the bathroom, cheaper than a taxi. Sadly, Paul is now on the other side having died recently. A great loss to the creative community.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jane Krenn on 21 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
God Explained in a Taxi Ride was a delight to read over Christmas. Since Blaise Pascal, who thought that, on balance, the odds are in favour of believing than not believing, the wise conclusion that if God did not exist, we would have to invent him has been a controversial subject and so Paul Arden steps in and tells us what is what, throwing light on atheism, communism, creationism but always in a light-hearted way, on our level (i.e. 'not too much time to spare for a heavy volume or a ponderous approach'). Men have created God or rather several versions of God in their own image, and invented new beliefs to fill the void if they did not opt to believe. As he says, most religions are different ways of saying the same thing, we just misunderstand other people's approach, and are even prepared to go to war to attempt to prove that we are right.

I specially liked 'When things go wrong', 'You don't need a religion', 'An awkward parishioner', 'It ain't necessarily so' and 'The greatest story ever told', 'A cool religion' and the pithy advice to would-be suicide bombers.

The only chapter where I disagreed with Paul Arden was about 'Miracles'. The disciples were not roadies. The Master was in charge and told them what to do, not the other way round. He was the star but he was also the manager. He had the power. They did not. The mind has tremendous power to create visions, illusions and to change water into wine, i.e. to actually change material matters. I have not witnessed the miracle of changing water into wine but I have read that someone at present on our planet claims they can do it, using only the power of the mind. We should not underestimate Jesus' contemporaries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CMB on 4 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
I loved this book and by the time I got to the end, Paul Arden's conclusion was what I suspected all along. If you think it's not for you, he isn't asking you to believe in God, even if you you're a staunch atheist. You'll find this book gives you food for thought. It's so easy to read (10 mins tops!!!) and he asks all the right questions.
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Format: Paperback
I don't want to sound judgemental, but this is a book only someone in marketing or advertising could have written.

First of all, there's the conceit and arrogance. History's greatest philosophers have spent years thinking about God and millions of words attempting to understand and explain the idea. But Paul Arden can do it in about one hundred pages? That seems unlikely.

Secondly, there's the simplistic, childish approach and layout. In advertising, there's value in presenting your ideas in short, punchy pages, because you're presenting simple ideas: buy this, think that. In philosophy, you're not trying to sell anything, and any attempt to reduce complex ideas to the level of an advert is bound to miss the point.

I find it difficult to understand why this book was published, other than the obvious and reductive reason that people might pay money for it. It's a collection of vague, random thoughts on God and religion, with no obvious organisation or direction. Here's a page that suggests building a mosque at ground zero; there's one with St. Anselm's proof of God's existence (with the footnote that the "proof" might require "another taxi ride to think about!", when in fact it could be countered by a child, or in a two panel comic). Each brief thought is given its own two page spread. The only insightful comment is marketing related, which speculates that Scientologists are perhaps more committed because they have invested more.

Finally, Arden gets to his point. Something caused our universe to come into existence, call it "creation" or "evolution" or "chance"; these are just names, as is "God". So why not call it "God"?
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Format: Paperback
A speedy, tongue-in-cheek ride through the Central Questions of Existence--a small book about big things...

Its wisdom lies in its simplicity and sincerity. Unlike the cool, noncommittal detachment of a pop philosopher like (say) Alain de Botton, Paul Arden's approach, although far from intense, is intensely personal, and he's unafraid to spell out his own beliefs--which adds a dollop of charm and persuasiveness. The naïve, simple illustrations match this approach perfectly, as do the typeface, layouts, and quotes from Paul's own (grand)kids.

Alongside them, it's good to see Anselm's Proof of God given an outing, as well as some striking thoughts about miracles (which Arden reckons could be tricks), the Resurrection (which could be a metaphor), organised religion (which could be unnecessary) and the classic advertising insight that the more you ask customers to pay, the more they'll value their purchase. Arden applies that insight to a comparison between the Church of England, which is "free" -- passing round a voluntary collection plate -- and Scientology, where you pay "whatever they tell you to pay". Paul Arden cannily suggests that charging a fiver per service would give mainstream Christianity "a bigger and more committed congregation.").

I also liked "Sunday's Thought of the Day" where, contrasting the Hindu reverence of the Holy Cow with a typical Anglican's Sunday lunch, Paul Arden observes, "One man's sin is another's roast dinner".

As a colleague of Paul Arden's during Saatchi's "Golden Age" I think I learned more from him about advertising then than about God in this book, but that may be because his beliefs--non-religious, sceptical, anti-authoritarian, irradiated by faith--chime in with a spiritual rebel's. I recommend this attractive, thought-provoking little book to anyone with a couple of minutes to spare for God, life, and the meaning of it all.
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