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…it’s how good you want to be

I’m re-reading It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden, who sadly passed away in April. It’s one of those short books that has lots of evocative images and pithy paragraphs in large text. It is, bluntly, a gem.

It’s a book about marketing, campaigns and design, but anyone who has to manage deadlines, clients and creative briefs (like copywriters and project managers) can get a lot out of it. It reminds you that your desire to deliver mind-blowingly good quality results is right, even when the world around you demands mediocrity.

Mediocrity? Really? Yes; clients and bosses are rarely prepared for novel ideas or groundbreaking designs – they want something ‘new’ but basically like something else they’ve done in the past. I have been asked to lower my standards and ‘just get the job done’ which hurts when I want to deliver added value and rich communications. Paul Arden assures us that it’s right to be wrong, wrong to be right, and that risk taking and mistake making is all part of the journey to excellence.

(Being ‘right’ is safe; it’s rigid, it’s cold, it’s absolute; the very opposite of ‘creative’.)

Considering that it’s published by Phaidon, it’s ridiculously cheap. You can get it for £4.95 from Borders and Amazon, or £3.47 from Waterstones. Or, you know, buy it ‘used’ from Amazon.

Care to let me know of any other inspiring books I should read?


About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

3 thoughts on “…it’s how good you want to be

  • I find it sad that anyone would be asked to *lower* their standards, and for a perfectionist such as yourself it must have difficult to hear.

    I haven’t read the book, but I’m liking Paul Arden already. If my risk taking and mistake making are part of my journey to excellence, then I’ve travelled a great distance indeed!

  • One of my all time favorite inspirational books is “Easier Than You Think” by Richard Carlson. It’s not a “business” book, but I think you’d like it.

    I’ve also recently picked up a few books my John Maxwell based on the recommendation of a colleague. “The 360 Degree Leader” looks to be interesting.

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