It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be
For those of you who have never heard of Paul Arden, he was an executive creative director for Saatchi & Satchi a powerhouse advertisement agency which handled many large accounts such as British Airways and Toyota. The image he developed for these companies is still a part of our popular culture today. Although he is not an architect, his insights into becoming successful within creative fields is invaluable. In It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, Arden identifies many of the pitfalls that creative professionals fall into, and these shortcomings eventually lead to a career which prevents one from reaching their full potential. The title itself is the theme for the whole book, in which Arden repeatedly emphasizes the fact that he was not always been the best, but has always strive to be better than the best, and presented that image to his peers and clients. In one section he notes that sometimes the most creative individuals that he worked with were unable to socialize or sell their ideas to clients, and that it does not matter how good the people you work with think you are, if the people outside of the firm are unaware of your talents. Below is a passage that I think is a strong representation of the book and the philosophy that Arden discusses in his book. The book is an incredibly easy read, and can be completed in a single evening as I did last night. If you find yourself motivated to succeed and reach the same goals or better, as the company you work for, then you will be unable to put this book down, until you have finished reading the last page. And for those of you who do not consider yourself designers or exceptionally creative, Arden says that it does not matter as long as you define how GOOD you want to be.
WE ALL want to be proud of the company we work for:
It enhances our reputation, makes us look good, feel good and gives us access to the best people.
The majority of us want to work for companies with glamorous reputations.
If you work for one of these companies, you are probably working for them for what they can do for you.
But not everybody is fortunate enough to be able to work for the outfit that is currently favoured.
So, given that not everyone in your company is an idiot, what are you personally going to do to make it company of the year?
Start by talking it up.
Begin thinking and behaving like a winner.
It will stop the rot. It will temporarily halt negative thinking and a defeatist attitude.
If you find people talking it down, take issue with them, tell others about them. If it persists, get them fired or, as a friend of mine did, fight somebody for talking disparagingly about the company he worked for.
People will soon get the idea.
Don’t expect top management to lead the way. They are too busy running the company.
Decide you are going to make the company great; at least decide you are going to make a difference.
It is also important to note that Arden, aside from discussing his philosphy in the workplace, he also develops a series of strategies which are directly applicable to the design process in any profession. This is a must have and the kind of book you need to read from time to time when you are in need of a pep talk. If you wish to purchase It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, please purchase the book through our site so that we can continue to bring you great content with minimal advertisements. Remember that a portion off all revenues generated from this site go towards our featured architectural charity. Used prices start at around $2.00 and new around $9.00.
Author: Paul Arden
Publication Date: June 1, 2003
Length: 128 pages
Publisher: Phaidon Press
The first in-depth biographical study of the brilliant but elusive architect who fundamentally redefined twentieth-century architecture. Now ranked with Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe, Louis I. Kahn brought a reverence for history back into modern architecture while translating it into a uniquely contemporary idiom.
Drawing on more than one hundred interviews with colleagues, coworkers, clients, and family members and illustrated with many previously unpublished photographs this book documents the uniquely American rise of a poor immigrant to the pinnacle of the international architectural world.
It illuminates the richly diverse personal relationships Kahn had with such clients as Jonas Salk and Paul Mellon, and the romantic entanglements that mystified even those closest to him. While celebrating the genius of Kahn’s art, the book provides an invaluable portrait of the man who created it.