Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be” as Want to Read:
It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,561 Ratings  ·  618 Reviews
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be is a handbook of how to succeed in the world: a pocket bible for the talented and timid alike to help make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible.

The world’s top advertising guru, Paul Arden, offers up his wisdom on issues as diverse as problem solving, responding to a brief, communicating, playing your
Paperback, 128 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Phaidon Press (first published January 1st 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Will M.
Mar 27, 2016 Will M. rated it it was ok
My brother recommended this book because I was looking for a good self-help book. I wanted something to motivate me. This book is not about motivating the reader in general, but rather its focus is on the business side of life.

I read this without reading the summary at the back, or even reviews of people here on goodreads. I wanted to read it because of the title. I had no idea it is about business, if I had prior knowledge about the book, I wouldn't have read it.

It's not that I'm not intereste
Sep 28, 2013 Emily rated it did not like it
Just another book I read during one of those sunday sessions at my brother's house. Honestly, I didn't enjoy it more than I did with Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite. The main idea of the book is the same, which is to do things the unconventional way and how it would lead you to achieving something greater than you thought you could.

Frankly, I am sick of these 'advices'. Don't be afraid to make mistakes (yes, acceptable), mistakes is okay (OK, but not so much), NOT GETTING GOOD GRADES IN
Nada  Abandah
Dec 16, 2010 Nada Abandah rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
Great little book.
If you’re thinking that you will get something new, totally revolutionary, and out of the box, you will be very disappointed. The advise and ideas in the book are very widely known, things you already do, and in most cases, the author keeps repeating himself.
However, its really sweet, easy read, and provides a great positive reenforcement to you, and assures you that you will get your desired success.
I recomend this book to anyone from fresh grads to seasoned executives.
Jan 04, 2010 Mon rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: kids with drawing materials
Recommended to Mon by: lunch break with nothing to do
Before you read this, ask yourself, Why do you want to be good?

Because Arden is incapable of answering it.
Unless you figure it out, you're more miserable than the failures he describes in this book.
Clare Herbert
Jul 16, 2012 Clare Herbert rated it liked it
“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.”

I read Paul Arden’s classic in less than an hour. Billed as ‘a pocket bible for the talented and timid to make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible’, the book was written for advertisers, designers and marketeers. In reality, there’s useful knowledge in these pages for entrepreneurs and creatives of all kinds.

A practical, action-able read, it will boost your
Jan 19, 2014 Amal_a_240526 rated it it was amazing
A very inspiring self motivating book. One of the books that I will keep near my bed to read it whenever I feel like reading. This book has many inspiring quotes. Even though it was published in 2003, you still could relate to what the book is talking about to our recent time. I loved the way the book delivers its messages. For example, some quotes are writen in a whole page with big a font, some of them are in bold and some are attached to pictures and stories. Very simple and straightforward b ...more
Ben Weiner
Nov 08, 2010 Ben Weiner rated it really liked it
Nicely designed book with some interesting ideas. Super quick read and worth the 30 mins you'll spend with it. It's written by the late, ad guy Paul Arden, but a lot of his advice can be applied more generally to anyone doing creative work.
Apr 24, 2015 Palmyrah rated it did not like it
This, at first glance, is a rather mysterious book. From its title, you might think it was a motivational tract for athletes or performing artists, or possibly a training manual for aspirants to sainthood. It claims to be ‘the world’s best-selling book’, yet this is an obvious lie. Most mysterious of all, it is published by Phaidon, a house specializing in pricey coffee-table picture-books, yet it is a paperback, no larger than the average newsstand bestseller, and the few pictures it contains a ...more
Mario Tomic
May 08, 2015 Mario Tomic rated it really liked it
Solid little book, the main 2 things that I got out of it was:
1- “Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.” - I myself fall victim to this mindset often. Generally for a lot of things we do our ego and self-image is attached to it so we never really bother to seek out criticism from others. And the truth is the only way to keep improving yourself and what you do is to be open minded and actively ask those around you what you can make better.
2 - “The person who doesn't make mistakes is unlikely to mak
Diana Ouma
Mar 20, 2016 Diana Ouma rated it really liked it
Once again, another superb novel by Paul Arden. Such a atheistically pleasing book. Such a talented writer. Such an inspirational story! :3
Eric Franklin
Mar 31, 2016 Eric Franklin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: creative professionals
Shelves: business, 2014
A slender volume and a quick read, exactly what you need to catch up on your reading goals. The typography, layout, and artwork are exquisite, and the subject matter utilizes novel examples and metaphors to get you fired up about excelling in your work. If your work involves creativity, this book will inspire you to push your limits and communicate your ideas at the right level to your clients. It's a lot of fun.
Akhfhin Rahardhiyanto
I actually started this book god knows when and decided to re-start it again today since I'm looking for a light read. It's a good book, gives you insight on how to maximize your efforts if you're in the field of marketing (if you are this book would be super useful for you). Sadly, I'm not in that field so this book just provides new knowledge for me.
Apr 15, 2016 Eng.Noura rated it it was ok
الكتاب خفيف جداا شكله حلوو اوراقه مرتبه وجميله ،، لا يختلف كثيرا عن كتب تطوير الذات نصائح نصائح ولكن المميز انه بعيد جدا عن الحشوو هذا احلى شي توصل الفكره بصفحه او صفحتين .. والصدق كل عنوان رئيسي تلخص في جمله من كل صفحه يعني لو انحذف كل الكلام وبقت هالجمله مابيأثر على المعنى وبتوصل الفكره .. استفدت يمكن من نصيحتين بس بطبقها في عملي ان شاء الله ..

بشكل عام الكتاب جيدا جدا للناس اللي يعشقون الكتب الخفيفه جدا ويبحثون عن نصائح تطوير الاعمال ..

بشكل خاص بيستفيد منه كثيرا الناس اللي يعملون في مجال الاع
Feb 13, 2016 Sheila rated it liked it
Gleaned knowledge:

You must develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end. Try to do the things that you're incapable of.

*****She not only dreamed about it, but wanted it enough to about getting it. That in itself makes her different than most of us. *****

People who are conventionally clever get jobs on their qualifications (the past), not on their desire to succeed (the future).

Ask for criticism because you may improve and you are still in a position to reject the criticism if you
Jul 11, 2010 Harkinna rated it it was amazing
We ran across this book at our local used bookstore. The book is small and unassuming, but is really full of great tips, not only if you work in advertising, as Mr. Arden did, but also for the average Joe. Full of quotes like, “Without having a goal it’s difficult to score” the book quickly floats along. Only later do you remember something Mr. Arden said, like his remark that while momentarily upsetting, getting fired all five times actually moved his career along, and incorporate his view poin ...more
Dec 23, 2009 Troy rated it it was amazing
This was a great little read. Since the book weighs in at a deceptive 121 pages (big print, short pithy sentences, and loads of pictures/illustrations to help communicate the point), I was able to polish this one of in just under over an hour.

Paul Arden is one of the advertising industries "mad scientists"... the kind of guy that comes up with ideas that are so far removed from convention that he might look like a fool as he presents them, but it takes a second for the genius to hit. Like a good
Aug 04, 2015 Yulenka rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
Quick read, I liked it. The advice was very good. Compared to Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition, I felt that this book was more harsh but not necessarily as insightful. Or maybe it just felt not-as memorable because it was not anecdotal - it was almost a litany of points.

The harshness was well needed, I feel like when you need a kick in the pants to produce better work, this is the book you need to pick up for a quick fix. I'd recommend this book to ot
Estevo Raposo
Phaidon edita este pequeño y aparentemente caótico libro de Paul Arden. El autor fue el director creativo de la conocida agencia de publicidad Saatchi and Saatchi.

Llama la atención la gran cantidad de imágenes que acompañan al texto y la extraña tipografía (distintos tipos y tamaños de letra, con variedad de colores). Lo del texto, como se explica en la penúltima página, se debe a que lo diseñó Roger Keneddy, que fue director de tipografía de Saatchi & Saatchi durante 20 años.

Las primeras pá
Rita van Eck
Nov 06, 2015 Rita van Eck rated it liked it
If you don’t like reading, this book is perfect for you.
Aimed at creative professionals, it contains bite-sized bits of information that are meant to inspire you and keep you entertained for the hour that it will take you to finish this self-help style book.
Filled with clever remarks, thought-provoking pictures and anecdotes, it will challenge the norm around what it takes to succeed in the advertising industry.
Definitely worth the read – you’ll get a fresh perspective on what it means to be su
Menglong Youk
A short self-development book that can be finished in a single sit or lie down. The only new (not really) advice I learnt from this book is, seek criticism, not praise. Quite agree since we ALL want to read, hear and listen to only other people's agreements. Let the praise come to us itself; don't seek for it. And there are some more ideas on business and work. So if you're an employee, this book might be for you.
Mar 02, 2011 Heather rated it it was ok
Shelves: leadership
This is a short little book about marketing and advertising. It makes a couple of interesting points about marketing yourself, but it was definitely written for a group of people with personalities, skills, and talents very different from me. :)

I like the ideas to:
* strive for excellence
* have a vision for yourself
* share your ideas freely
* don't look for the next opportunity, but realize the one in hand is the opportunity
* accentuate the positive
* don't be afraid to make mistakes
* take responsi
Afnan Aldimasi
Aug 10, 2014 Afnan Aldimasi rated it liked it
Recommended to Afnan by: My father
Shelves: favorites, 2013
Here are some quotes that touched me:

"What you learn at school are facts, known facts.
Your job at school is to accumulate and remember facts. The more you can remember, the better you do.
Those who fail at school are not interested in facts; or maybe the facts are not put to them in a way they find interesting.
Some people simply don't have a great faculty for memory."

"Don't seek praise. Seek criticism."

"Don't look for the next opportunity. The one you have in hand is the opportunity."

"Don't be a
Fidah (Reatrigue)
Nov 04, 2014 Fidah (Reatrigue) rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
A very quick and short read. It tells you what you've already known yet easily forgotten. Therefore, it's really inspiring and motivational as it reminds you and enforces positive thinking. I think it'd make a great little side book whenever you're in doubt.
Jul 24, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
The intended audience for this book is, I believe, the advertising industry, but much of what it says is applicable to anyone who's interested in succeeding in their chosen field.

This is a super-quick read, making each point succinctly, and then moving on to the next. And, while this book kind of seems like it's part of the "Throw away the templates; be bold" school of thought, it doesn't become overbearing with its own self-importance, but keeps its suggestions digestible, and often surprising
Mar 31, 2016 Nurulhazira rated it really liked it
This is an inspiring book that reinforces positive thinking to whoever reading it. It provides you general tips to help you strive better in a work environment. If you are into a quick and easy to digest mentally kind of book, this book is probably for you.
Feb 01, 2015 وفاء rated it it was amazing
I like the book motivating me

full of advice that always lesson them but this time with example and picture

the book very useful
full of devices, wisdom, ideas,
I totally recommended for anyone looking to change, or be a different person
Jan 20, 2015 Pernille rated it it was amazing
A quick read, however the words will set deeper inside you than you would ever believe, when you began reding this book. It gives you motivation to reach for the stars (and beyond), at the same time as it gives you a view on life you didn't knew you desperately needed. Definitely a book I will recommend to everyone, both young and old!
Spiros Staridas
Sep 15, 2014 Spiros Staridas rated it it was amazing
Το βιβλίο που με έκανε να πονάω κάθε φορά που δεν έκανα αυτό που πραγματικά επιθυμούσα και βεβαίως το βιβλίο που με έκανε να κυνηγήσω και να συνεχίζω να κυνηγάω την υλοποίηση των ονείρων μου..!!
Oct 08, 2014 Omar rated it liked it
At first thought it's one of the self help books because of some reviews but it's not a self help I can put it in "ideas" category
Some of ideas written are quite nice & he is quite artistic in making such a book.
Well this book is about advertising yourself as he claims that everyone does so in his daily life which I think he is quite true specially for some personalities...
This is a small book often used as a desert book between the great meals(works) : )
Have nothing to summarize more than
Jun 28, 2015 Nicholas rated it did not like it
If you want inspiration this book will give it to you, not because it's full of Aha moments or well articulated advice but because it's been written so poorly you wonder how it even made it to the printing press, which means even YOU could write a better book and get it published.

If there's one thing you can take away from it, it's the value of having a good cover title and name, the rest is just hyperbole and generic advice.

In Summary:

It's a predictable and horribly unoriginal book preaching a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential by America's Master Communicator, George Lois
  • How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
  • Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far
  • Creative Advertising: Ideas and Techniques from the World's Best Campaigns
  • Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop
  • How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer
  • Do Good Design: How Designers Can Change the World
  • A Technique for Producing Ideas
  • Sagmeister: Made You Look
  • Lovemarks
  • Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads
  • 79 Short Essays on Design
  • Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World's Best for Brands in the 21st Century
  • Pick Me: Breaking Into Advertising and Staying There
  • Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning
  • The Brand Gap
  • Marks of Excellence
  • Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles (Volume 1, 1628-1900)
Paul Arden (7 April 1940 – 2 April 2008) was an influential author of several books on advertising and motivation including "Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite" and "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be" and a former creative director for Saatchi and Saatchi at the height of their advertising might.
In 1987 Arden was appointed executive creative director. He has spent 14 year
More about Paul Arden...

Share This Book

“Being right is based upon knowledge and experience and is often provable. Knowledge comes from the past, so it's safe. It is also out of date. It's the opposite of originality. Experience is built from solutions to old situations and problems. The old situations are probably different from the present ones, so that old solutions will have to be bent to fit new problems (and possibly fit badly). Also the likelihood is that, if you've got the experience, you'll probably use it. This is lazy. Experience is the opposite of being creative. If you can prove you're right you're set in concrete. You cannot move with the times or with other people. Being right is also being boring. Your mind is closed. You are not open to new ideas. You are rooted in your own rightness, which is arrogant. Arrogance is a valuable tool, but only if used very sparingly. Worst of all, being right has a tone of morality about it. To be anything else sounds weak or fallible, and people who are right would hate to be thought fallible. So: it's wrong to be right, because people who are right are rooted in the past, rigid-minded, dull and smug. There's no talking to them.” 49 likes
“Risks are a measure of people. People who won't take them are trying to preserve what they have. People who do take them often end up having more.

Some risks have a future, and some people call them wrong. But being right may be like walking backwards proving where you've been.

Being wrong isn't in the future, or in the past.

Being wrong isn't anywhere but being here.

Best place to be, eh?”
More quotes…