It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be: January 2013 Nonfiction Book of the Month


One of the things that make it to my annual goals list is to keep reading at least one book a month. I’m tweaking this year’s goal a bit to add a little challenge: To read 1 nonfiction book and 1 fiction book every month. And, if possible, blog about it.

I know I tried do this before, but I’ve usually just done my book reviews ad hoc. So, I didn’t really get to share as often as I would have liked to. But then, when I started book blogging with a bit more structure through The Reading Studio back in 2010, I didn’t do too well either. I managed to do two months, but the whole thing quickly fizzled out. I didn’t do much book blogging since then, even if most of my book posts seem to go well with folks here.

I think I just complicated it too much by trying to blog about every single book I read for the month in one post through the Reading Studio. Too much pressure. Not enough time.

That’s why this time, I hope to share just one book per post. If I read more than one book, I’ll choose the best one from the lot and review that. Mention the others in the same post, if I’m inclined. But, no pressure.

I hope that with this simplified but structured version of my book blogging, I’ll be able to keep this up better. I think that Best Books of 2012 post inspired me to try this again, thanks to folks’ feedback and input.

So, on with the review of this month’s nonfiction book of the month selection:

It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be* by Paul Arden.

This has been on my wish list since I first heard of it a few years ago. It was first published in 2003 and has been reprinted several times over since. On my way back to Adelaide after a road trip with the family, I saw it at an airport bookstore in Sydney. I finally decided to buy it and read it. Finished most of the book on the flight, save for a handful of pages.

Yes, it’s a small book – only 127 pages long, with massive text and pictures. It was primarily written with advertising / marketing / communications people in mind. However, many of the concepts that were touched in this pocket-sized book can be applicable to many things.

I love the quotes featured. I love the typography. And some of the photos used.

But, most of all: I love how it fed some of my thought processes at the time.

It was a great book to read for the new year, as I ponder on goal setting and focus.

Many of the ideas aren’t new. But, a few were quite thought provoking. Things like:

  • Why do we strive for excellence when mediocrity is required?
  • All creative people need something to rebel against.
  • Do not covet your ideas. Give everything you know, and more will come back to you.
  • Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.
  • It’s wrong to be right.
  • Do not put your cleverness in front of the communication.
  • Don’t give a speech. Put on a show.
  • Rough layout sell the idea better than polished ones.
  • Do not try to win awards.
  • Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better.

--- really made me pause a while to see how I would react to the thought. They made me wonder what they mean to me, and whether or not I agree – and why.

That’s why even though it was a quick read, I can understand why it became a bestseller.  Really glad I finally read it. I’m sure I’ll pick it up again every now and then to digest the concepts some more.

Rating: 5/5


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About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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