The first time I heard about Paul Arden was when I received his book It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be when I got my first, official job back in 2007 in advertising. It was one of those gifts where you look the gift horse in the mouth and turn to the person and think “Thank you, but you are an idiot”. As a recent graduate, I usually equated my status to someone who wants to take time off from books, and so I put it on my shelf and got on with life.
It wasn’t until a few months later that I appreciated the gift. Being stuck with writer’s block a mile wide was something that was truly a hassle and I turned to my books as I usually do. I think those who have suffered through this understand the need for something to jump-start your brain. And the jump came from Paul Arden’s book. Granted, most of it was the kind of typical splat of words, some I had even heard from my creative director’s own lips, but it was fun to read.
When reading the book, it was not the book’s content that was “infused” with long standing personal wisdom that drew me in, since there are so many of those out there, but the sensory impact. If you have a passion for beautifully crafted books, this one plays those visual strings beautifully. The feel of the book, the thick texture of the paper, the grooves of the letters, the pictures…that is what draws you into the book – considering that there was no real plot, so to speak.
It was the combination of the senses as well as the words that left an imprint. You have to truly enjoy a book in order to benefit from it and Paul Arden was able to tap into that desire. You can aptly describe any of the titles as a battery charge to the mind. It gets you thinking and lets you move on. I have since collected all three of his books and enjoy them randomly. They are short, quick reads that stimulate the mind to question what it is you are doing and if it is really what you want.