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

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  14,148 ratings  ·  1,206 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 2003)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  14,148 ratings  ·  1,206 reviews

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Will M.
Mar 26, 2016 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
Feb 13, 2011 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
Jan 04, 2010 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.
Nada  Abandah
Dec 16, 2010 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.
Apr 24, 2015 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 04, 2015 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
Eric Franklin
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: creative professionals
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. ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Equal parts tacky and great.
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Someone who is creative and thoughtful!
Paul Arden is a fantastic speaker; he clearly knows what he s talking about when it comes to being successful. There are lots of uplifting tips and you can dip into the book easily or read it from cover to cover. It’s a short book but compact with useful information. It’s one of the best ‘Self Help’ books I’ve ever read!
Ben Weiner
Nov 08, 2010 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. ...more
Apr 19, 2014 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
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A short read full of meaningful words. 📖
Andreea Neamțu
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read this in one day and at first, I thought it would be something short and very light, that will give me some spark or an edge of motivation through this quarantine.
As I read through the first 50 pages, I felt a small desire to start some work and challenge myself and work on myself.
But the rest of the book was unfortunately just about advertising. And I can say that is not my field or my interest. I got bored and all I got from this book is some basic motivational quotes that you can also
Dec 26, 2013 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
Diana Ouma
Mar 20, 2016 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
Ons Majouli
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
it was a waste of time 😑
Mar 02, 2011 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
Rita van Eck
Oct 25, 2015 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
Suad Alhalwachi
I know that the author was a pivotal person at Saatchi and Saatchi but I expected a better book (like the book I read ages ago that was called love mark). This one was full of bumper sticker words and sentences that didn’t make me learn anything new. But someone will say why did I complete it then if it was not that great. Well, in my annual resolution this year I said that I will finish every book I start. So far so good, the only one that is not done is a book by JKL. Hopefully I will read it ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a book for people who think that they suck at something or say they can't to something. A book to restore faith in yourself ...more
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A book for advertising made by an advertising professional. Contains insightful pieces on creativity and tips for doing client pitches. Enjoyable, but it's a niche book. ...more
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lot of wits and wisdom , a book that makes you push harder on your profession or anything in life .

What we get from Paul Arden's wisdom is that being Experienced is lazy and boring , being creative and rebel against cliches and everything that you think you can't change is the real deal . A well known example is Elon Musk , he wanted a cheaper money transfer online , he created PayPal , he wanted to go in space for less money he created SpaceX , so even you , if you want to change something
Apr 28, 2016 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was an OK read during short moments of spare time, but I expected something different of it. But maybe that's my own fault 'cause I thought it would also be inspiring for those not working in advertising. In the end I didn't really got motivated by it, just bored by all the 'witty lines'... ...more
Lujain XD
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
One star for the catchy title and another for the cute images ;)
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Picked this up earlier today and didn't put it down until I'd finished it. The author had me all in from page 1. Literally page 1, before the contents section.

Paul Arden's brilliance is inspiring.

Ideas covered in this book seemed to fall under 2 categories; 1. Things I thought I knew but apparently didn't, given that the degree to which they're articulated far surpassed any consideration I'd ever given them. 2. Things I hadn't considered at all.

A short, concise, and pleasant read that I would
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-help
[2.5.5 stars]
A very spontaneous read. Not really one to read self-help since I find they can be somewhat redundant, but this one was short enough that I enjoyed it.

Some parts seem to be specifically curated for those who work in advertisement/specific businesses which do not really apply to me but I still enjoyed some parts as well.
Mircea Țara
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
A short and sweet book about what advertising is about and what you need/should do if you want to stay creative and love what you do.
General laws applied to the ad world, so itțs a good fit for those who don't work in advertising.
Laura Martinez
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's like a bible of how to succeed in the world, anyone can read it. Was motivational for me, I read quotes that I already know but sometimes you need to remember. The examples also are great and you can visualise yourself in that position. ...more
María .
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
this book is mainly about business and business-thinking. This isn’t my strong suit, nor do I want it to be, but I thought this book would include more talk about general topics, instead of strictly about business. This book might Interest the business lover, but that is obviously not me.
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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

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31 likes · 6 comments
“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.” 62 likes
“If you can't solve a problem, it's because you're playing by the rules” 46 likes
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