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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2012
Paul Arden was a character of the advertising industry. As an executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi during its heyday, he was responsible for some iconic British advertising campaigns, including British Airways. Billed as `a pocket bible for the talented and timid to make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible', this book was written for advertisers, designers and marketeers; but in reality the wisdom in the book is applicable to anyone who wants to succeed.

Although the book is small (you could almost say unassuming), it's got plenty of tips. The book is organized into 8 sections, including the introduction and covers topics such as having ideas, solving problems, presenting, making a difference, and winning new business. The advice and ideas in the book are very widely known - there's nothing revolutionary here, and there is a lot of repetition, but it's not brainwashing; merely coming back to the main point the author wants to make (that you should be unconventional if you want to succeed). Tips are either a simple statement or a few paragraphs of text. You're not going to get any in-depth analysis or facts to back anything up. Everything in this book has come from the author's experiences in life.

This is not one of those tedious self-help books that claim to make you rich, and it won't tell you the secrets of the world. But what it will do is to make you think about what you want from your life and/or career and provide tips that could possibly help you to attain your goals and succeed in your endeavors. It's an easy read - lots of big text and pictures. I went through it in less than an hour. The reason for three stars is because although I may re-read the book again if I feel I need a quick fix of 'how to succeed', it's not a classic and it's probably not a book I'm going to keep coming back to.

If you know anyone who works in an advertising agency, this would make a great gift.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 25 December 2006
I decided to get this book on a whim, after a recommendation from an Emerging Church theologian. I know that is probably an unusual approach to a marketing book but it intruiged me.

Having read it, it still interests me, even if it hasn't rocked my world to its foundations. I work for the Presbyterian Church some of the assumptions that Arden makes about the motivation for ambition need to be adapted and I will spend some time thinking about whether his ideas apply and if so how, to a setting that doesn't have profit or power as a driving force.

The book is short, pithy, witty, to the point and most importantly of all very thought provoking. I have always hated to hear people condemn marketing as an evil and Arden even has the time in these few short pages to put that myth to bed. It really is a book quite unlike anything I have ever read before. I guess it might bear some resembelance to the art of Jenny Holzer but that would be a conclusion I am unqualified to make. I know nothing about art. At least due to this book I know a little more about marketing.

More importantly, because of the way he has shared his wisdom, I know a lot more about the attitudes and approaches used by this legend of the advertising business to pursue success. I especially liked his passages on not waiting for the perfect opportunity and taking full responsibility for anything you touch.

I dare you to not be challenged, provoked and entertained by this cool little book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Paul Arden is the man!! I tell you, this book is amazing! When reading it, i felt as though I was sat in front of him. I am in the design field which is competitive and quite difficult to get into and this book advises on how best to present yourself! A must-read for anyone regardless of age or professional interest! I reccommend this book as a present too.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2006
Even if you are not in advertising or marketing, this book offers great insights and eyeopeners .. if (IF!) you are willing to think beyond and between what you just have read ...
... because the true lessons emerge from that process.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This books is a great collection of many ideas, thoughts, ironies and creative thinking from the ad industry. Plus a few new thoughts. I've bought loads of these (and Purple Cow) and given them away to clients, desperate to get them to think a little more creatively. I use it with students as well. A must read (and the second book). Quick to read and easy, maybe that's why it's sold over 1/2 million. Paul was regarded as one of the great all time creatives within advertising but sadly he died recently - a great loss to the ad community.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2008
For the price of this book you cannot go wrong buying it . It is a quirky little thing and good fun to read - or rather 'flick through'. I bought it after reading Paul Arden's obituary in the Telegraph in which the book was mentioned. As you would expect from a Creative Director this book has been produced in a very creative way. Frankly, I think it is worth buying just for that. However, in it you will also find lots and lots of useful career and business tips. Well worth having on your bookshelf.
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It was an odd experience reading some of the reviews in that there seemed to be a pride in announcing what a quick and easy read this book is. This should not be very surprising since the book is written in a slogan and advertising style with large writing and use of illustration. The book starts by trying to motivate the reader with powerful thoughts including those of a young lady who wanted to be as famous as "persil automatic" which we can snigger at but cannot deny the outcome. What I found powerful is the bluntly stated graph of levels of success where you are invited to chose how successful you want to be. This for me a least, was a powerful invitation that felt like a decision at a crossroads, where once you chose that direction and stick to it you will arrive where you head for. The truth of this statement is a big commitment to personal responsability, not an easy decision. The book later becomes more about how Paul Arden made it in the advertising world. If you want to follow in his footsteps then a wider range of reading is required although here is as good a place as any. You need to be stand out and different, not a Paul Arden clone, so take a look at Brad Burton and Shed Simove as well as the big players in advertising.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2003
Feeling down? Feeling like life isn't as wonderful as it should be? Or just feeling like everything's pretty good right now thank you very much for asking? However you're feeling read this book and you'll realise that everything IS amazing and can only get better.
Arden condenses his years of advertising experience down to concise, witty page long statements that can either be read as a sequence, or just dipped into when you need inspiration (or a way to pass a few minutes on the loo). With titles such as "It's right to be Wrong" or "Getting Fired can be a Positive Career Move" you know you are seeing into the psyche of someone with an interesting perspective on life.
Although some of the writings are very much advertising focussed, most apply to life in general and are highly inspirational as well as readable. This book is a great present for yourself or someone else - and handily sized to fit nicely near your spare toilet rolls.
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on 3 July 2012
"It's not how good you are" is a short book (126 pages but with very large font) by the late Paul Arden.

Arden wrote this book heavily based on his background and experiences as creative director within the prominent PR/marketing house Saatchi & Saatchi. To that end, although the book states that all it's points can be applied to whatever field of endeavour you choose, in reality some of them are really only useful for the PR/marketing arena.

My favourite quotes from the book are as follows:

"Awards are judged in committee via consensus of what is known, originality cannot be fashionable as it has not yet had the approval of the committee"

"Ideas are open knowledge, don't try to claim ownership"

There are some very valuable and useful ideas discussed in the book, but it also does come over a little "self-helpy" in areas, although this can be forgiven (especially as, given the title, you wouldn't be considering this book if you didn't see the need for a little personal development!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2015
Thought it was probably one of the most average books I have read - sure he is a nice chap, yet it mentions that even managing directors will gain something - I don't see it: it's all common sense and nothing new - nice layout, pictures cover half the book so you on get 60 pages of large text, which doesn't tell you much - sorry, just my opinion.
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