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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 by Paul Arden Paperback – 30 May 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 01 edition (30 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714843377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714843377
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 1.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"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 horrific 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 & Saatchi and he was simply inspirational - as is this practical, unpretentious little book."―Amanda Platell

"...Deliciously rich paperback..."―Chicago Sun-Time

"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 , 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).


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The world's best-selling book" (the tongue-in-cheek subtitle), is a great little collection of ideas, suggestions and practical advice from a man responsible for many successful British advertising campaigns over the last 25 years. Although there is a practical bias towards the business world of advertising and media, this book is likely to appeal to any individual who is interested in creativity and thinking for themselves. It is beautifully designed and very entertaining indeed!
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.
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Format: Paperback
A fabulous little book. And I mean little. You can read this in an hour but the messages will stay with you for much longer. I would recommend it to anyone looking to rediscover their edge or seeking ways to inject new energy and meaning into their lives.
No bull, this is a great little read. You will not be disappointed.
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By A Customer on 19 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this book shortly before quitting my job.
I was lacking in focus and short of confidence, this is going to sound really cheesy, but this book changed my life.
It gave me the confidence and strength to go for a job in the media which I wouldn't have had the guts to go for before.
One of the quotes from the book is
'If you're in control, you're not going fast enough'
I put myself up there and rose to the occasion
I'm now working as picture editor on a major UK magazine.
This is from someone who's turned around their life in 4 months.
Paul Arden, you are the daddy!
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Format: Paperback
The ultimate aim of this book is to inspire the reader to take his destiny in his own hands, rather than leaving it to others or to chance. For that to happen first of all the reader needs to have a clear idea of where he wants to be in the future. Then it's a question of getting there.
Paul Arden is, or has been, an advertising executive for decades. And although many of his examples are related to the advertising world the 'advice' is always general enough so that any reader from any background can make use of it. Also, it's no irony that you need a advertising executive's suggestions to advertise yourself.
Unlike many other books talking about success, this one is highly readable and interesting for many varied reasons.
For one, it makes the reader understand a totally unorthodox approach to life, work and many generally established ideas. Who says experience matters? If so, what conslation is that to a school leaver? And who says you should respect your cliente 100%?
Secondly, the presentation is very sparse, with only a page or two maximum to cover a subject. Also, there would really be only a handful of pages if the fonte were a little smaller, the sentences a little wider and the nearly empty pages were taken out. However, don't let that fool you, for this isn't a simple book, for the author crams as much possible information in the smallest number words.
Finally, this gives the reader a new kind of hope, one that simply makes sense and because it makes sense, it just has to work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a short one, at around 100 pages. But every page or two is a new chapter containing a new quote / paragraphs about different aspects of rating success. There are sections on business, work and many more. It is a good book to reference, when you are in a situation where you could utilise this book it can be seen as helpful. For example, if have just been given a new project to work on, you could open up the few chapters that are targeted towards gathering requirements, working in teams etc. to give you good advice towards the task you are about to undergo.

Overall, it is a good book and it is a good gift to give to someone as a motivational read.
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Format: Paperback
This is a little book, you can read it in an hour and maybe I should describe it as a cheeky little book. In the inside front cover it sets out to compare itself to Sun Tzu's Art of War and Machiavellis The Prince as a metaphore for business. In my view it is not worthy of the comparison. however I still like the book because with the book the writer is living the key message of the book.

To be big, good, great, you have to think yourself big, good, great, and that's what the book does. It proudly claims to be `The world's best-selling book by Paul Arden. For all I know this might be because it's the only book by Paul Arden. But that doesn't matter, it isn't being deceitful, it's the very point of the book. It presents itself as a best seller as part of becoming a best seller. I bought the book at the airport en route to a conference and I suspect that this bold claim tipped the balance in favour of selecting the book over others, so it works.

So it's a small book, easily read and cheeky. What else. Well it's cheap and does have one or two useful ideas. Often the lasting effect of a visit to a conference may be one or two new ideas, so at the price it's a bargain. The book contains lessons, or thoughts from the experience of a marketing man. The final few pages began to feel specific to this target audience, but for the most part the thoughts are widely applicable. It's nicely produced and has plenty of pictures again projecting the message `be what you want to become'.

As an example of what you'll read, I liked the thoughts about right being wrong being right. In a changing world if you think you know the right answer, then it's highly likely to be wrong as the world will have changed since it was right.
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