It’s Not How Good You Are, But How Good You Want To Be.
Paul Arden

It's Not How Good You Are
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 metaphor for business. In my view it is not worthy of the comparison.

But 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 sleecting the book over others, so it works.

So it’s a small book, easily read and cheeky. What else. Well it’s cheap (4-95 in the UK) 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. By the same token being wrong opens up the opportunity of trying new things and maybe becoming right.

It won’t make a dent in your wallet or diary and perhaps contains nothing profound, but it illustrates how a simple message can be communicated in a straightforward and concise manner with style so that how you say reinforces what you say.

Steve Unwin
October 8 2004