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on 4 May 2008
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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on 21 January 2010
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. If all the miracles were conjurors' tricks, engineered between themselves, would they have left everything to follow him and be prepared to be tortured and put to death for bearing witness?

Just as disagreement makes for a more lively conversation, I found this stimulating rather than off-putting, and will buy the book for my son as a thank you for introducing me to Paul Arden by giving me 'Whatever you think, think the opposite' a few years ago. I have become a fan!

P.S. I liked the halo over the taxi and the Penguin sign. Wicked!
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on 4 February 2008
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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on 2 March 2014
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"? But giving something a name doesn't explain anything - whereas actually, those other names do at least embody an attempt at explanation (and real explanations are complex).

This is a simple book for simple minds. It's tempting to say that it's by a simple mind. Paul Arden appears to have been a successful advertising executive, but judging by this and what I have seen of his other books, his skill is in stating the obvious in simple, attractive ways. There's no depth here - and, ultimately, no explanation.
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on 30 April 2013
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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on 13 February 2010
God explained in a tax ride is a great book only if you approach it with the right mindset - if you want to question things and think critically about them, if you have doubts about religion and faith rather than a strong opinion (on both sides of the spectrum). And no, it's not true that "this little book explains once and for all" as the title says, but that's exactly the beauty of this little book, which doesn't tell you what is right or wrong but it allows the reader to think about it and find their own truth and belief.
Arden's observations made me think well beyond what the words printed on paper say. If you don't approach the book that way and take your time to think through it you'll be surely disappointed and give it a negative rating... and you'll surely read it in 20 minutes, which is not nearly enough to have a serious thought about the message Arden tries (very well in my opinion) to communicate.
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on 7 June 2008
Okay, this book won't change the world or finally resolve the debate over the existence of God. But, hey, what do you expect from a book with this title and at a cost of £3.99? So, previous 1-star reviewers, get some perspective. Likewise, it is definitely not a 5-star either. On balance, I'd say a 3.5 or a 4, so it has to be a 4. As with a fellow reviewer, I too have all Arden's books. For anyone new to him, expect a very different and personal slant on whatever subject Arden is tackling - and here it is Arden's take on the concept of God. Some stuff you'll definitely disagree with, but I suspect Arden would be disappointed if that wasn't the case.
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on 18 May 2013
This book is short... This works both for and against it, in my opinion. It quickly read through and the key messages is very compressed and clear but I am also left with a feeling of wanting to know more of his thoughts on the subject and this is just a teaser to a full version...

Paul Arden gives a quick and objective (and fun) view on religion with no taken sides but rather focus on how the idea that religion is supposed to help people and breed good.

So, okay book, it is what it is (God explained in a taxi ride)...
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on 23 December 2014
I love Paul Arden and he has produced two other excellent books. This is my least favourite of the three but still has merit. Essentially he says we all find our own God as a coping mechanism for life.
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2010
Paul Arden's other books - It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be and Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite are excellent - both five stars - but something went really wrong with this book.

Firstly, it's not about advertising, which is Paul Arden's background.

Secondly, his "notes" sound like teenage angst and posters of unicorns and dolphins rather than any serious or comic/serious look at God.

Thirdly - the artwork in his first two books was very original. The "illustrations" in this book are terrible - unimaginative and uncreative.

I started to read it - then scanned it - then put it down - which is what the publishers should have done with this "book".

I like Paul Adren's work, I love his other books and I don't like giving one star - but here it is.
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