Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite

24th March 2006 at 00:00
Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite By Paul Arden Penguin pound;7.99

You'll either love page 65 of this book or you'll hate it. I'm not at all keen, but I keep being drawn back to it. That is the kind of book this is: sometimes deeply annoying but always interesting, with frequent flashes of humour or inspiration, or both. It's just a 140-page collection of brief ideas and anecdotes, angled towards business and management, but always with a more general audience in mind.

If there's a theme, it's expressed in the title and, sure enough, most of the thoughts say something a bit different from what you'd expect. So, on page 53: "Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you've got, and fix it as you go." And on page 67: "It is fashionable for so-called thinking people to try to lose their ego. Well they should think a bit harder. Presumably we were given egos for a reason... Life's all about 'me' anyway."

The illustrations - as important as the text - have the same slightly off-centre appeal. There's the piece of art that consists of a Braille message saying "Do not touch", for example, and the advertising agency coup that put a huge poster on the east-facing side of the Berlin Wall just before it fell: "Saatchi and Saatchi, First Over The Wall."

It's a book for its time: funny, thought-provoking, ephemeral. It could be useful, too, as food for discussion in a key stage 4 classroom. Page 65, by the way, is a mirror.

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