Thursday 10 November 2011

Book Review: Paul Arden – Whatever You Think Think The Opposite.

I have been an avid reader of self-help books since my teenage years. Since then I have become a little more cynical about them and fewer convince me they are worth reading. Nevertheless, between the good ones (Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, Barbara Sher, Lawrence Boldt) I have picked up enough good advice to stand me in good stead over the years.

After a day in which my mind has been going round in circles for hours and I needed a kick up the backside to get myself up and motivated, I thought I might find some peace in my local bookshop, especially with the book token that Fashionista Sister gave me. I headed straight for the self-help and after browsing and sneaking peeks for rather a long time, this striking little book caught my attention.

The book is short and very visual. It took me half an hour to read the 143 or so pages. The author is a former executive creative director of Saatchi and Saatchi, the famous advertising company and the book feels like a cross between lessons from a successful businessman and the anarchist’s handbook.

Its aim seems to be to make you think, to look at things from a different perspective and to question the accepted wisdom of what leads to success.

My first thought on finishing the book, was what a rip-off! I spent all that money on a book that’s very short and that’s just a series of things I have probably read in other books already. But it was probably worth the price for the one or two pieces of advice that stuck with me.

On the one hand, I didn’t agree with everything in the book. It seems to say that if you conform, if you work hard, if you toe the line and do the right thing then you are a loser, you are destined to fail. On the other hand it made me think; it reinforced that it’s okay to be different (a Muslimah, a hijabi, a geek, a nerd, a working mother) and it is right to stand up for that difference.

A word of warning the book contains a few of pictures of naked men (adding nothing to the book, but you know advertising types love the value of shock).

You can find a summary of the book’s messages here. Would be interested to know what reaction other people have to the book.


  1. Asalaamu Alaikum

    Love this one: If you must have a meeting, lose the chairs. Sounds so islamic! Reminds me of the first day I walked into a mosque and was surprised to see just carpet!

  2. Walaikam-assalam,
    I hate long meetings, so that was one of my favourite ones too. Now I'm going to see if I can get a chance to implement it!