Paul Arden: “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be”

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There’s pretty much and endless number of books related to design, business and creativity out there, and I’m slooooowly making my way through them all (ha!). The problem is sometimes I have a little trouble remembering which ones I’ve read and what bit’s of information I’ve got from where, sooo I thought I’d include some posts on here around the books I read… They’re not going to be full-on book reviews, just some general notes and thoughts.

First up is Paul Arden’s “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be”.

It was a pretty quick read and even though it was aimed more at people working in advertising and agencies, there’s still some practical info to take away for me…

  • Need to aim high, have a goal and be prepared for hard work and sacrifices in order to be great.
  • Don’t go looking for praise or approval. Ask for criticism, ask how you could improve. Experience and mistakes are the only ways to learn.
  • Don’t run down your competition.
  • Under promise and over deliver.
  • Work out the motivation and real intention behind a client’s brief. It’s not usually what is put up front.
  • Give the client what they want: a big logo; company colours, etc. The client has to feel included in the work.
  • Don’t be scared to think out of the box. That’s where all the original ideas are.
  • Mistakes, failures and false starts are all part of the creative process.
  • Stop trying to be right all the time. This doesn’t produce innovative or original ideas.
  • Everyone gets mental blocks. Lower your inhibitions. Stop trying to be right. Again, get out of the box.
  • Fact of life: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
  • When presenting, don’t just give a speech, make it a performance.
  • No shame in being fired. It usually just means it was the wrong job for you.
  • Go to clients with rough drafts, not refined finals – they want to have input and feel involved.
  • Don’t follow trends.
  • Use different materials, i.e. watercolours, charcoal, paint, etc, to unblock creativity.
  • Inspiration comes from unexpected sources.

As a side note, I did get slightly frustrated with all of the references to clients and business people as being ‘him’, ‘his’ or ‘he’, but I’m just going to attribute that to the generational differences between the author and today…

If you’re interested in getting a copy, you can find it here at Booktopia.

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