Review: "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be" by Paul Arden

For this week's review, I read Paul Arden's It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be. This book provided several helpful sentimentssome that I will likely apply to my own creative processin a very digestible book. This book says exactly what it means with no "fluff," especially when compared to Simon Sinek's "Start With Why," a book that talked in circles for 300 pages. In a book meant to teach lessons and be a helpful reference (as the book describes itself, a pocket 'bible'), it helps to be short and sweet. I might even argue that because of its conciseness, I gained more lessons out of Arden's book than I did from Sinek's. Here are a few that I thought were most helpful:

Firstly, I thought Arden's advice to aim for a goal beyond what you are capable of achieving was an interesting concept. As he says it, "you must develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end." If you are not constantly focused on what you cannot do, you are likely to have little fear of doing things you've never done before. Therefore, you're more likely to try, learn, and eventually succeed at new things. I think this is good advice for trying new things, but it also worries me that if my goals are not realistically achievable, I may never be satisfied with my accomplishments. Perhaps there is a balance between the two mindsets.

I also found his discussion on résumés interesting. Essentially, Arden suggests that a history of successful solutions does not necessarily make one qualified to solve another problem. If a solution is successful, that same solution is unlikely to resolve a different problem. A creative solution is not a universal solution.

Finally, I appreciated his advice on presenting solutions to a client. He suggested that you shouldn't show your final solution to a client right away. Instead, show the client exactly what they wanted, and then lead them to your more creative solution. A client may be more receptive to a different solution after they have seen their own. Better yet, Arden suggests you should show your client a sketch of an idea and encourage them to use their imagination to envision the final project. In this process, the client feels as if they played a more significant role in creating the final project, and are likely to form an attachment to it.

There were several other small lessons and pieces of advice that I appreciated in this small book that I will be keeping and referring to in my own creative process.


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