Paul Arden -RIP
4th April 2008 11:04AM, posted by david
On the day I was thinking about my dad dying, Paul Arden died.
He was executive creative director of one of the most creative agencies in the world.
I was lucky to have worked for him for 7-8 years.
Very lucky indeed
Here’s a few words about Paul Arden
The only thing that mattered to him was everything. He was about the detail, from his suit to his flowers and, of course, to his ads. He was surefire proof that obsessive-ness wasn’t a young mans game.
It was not easy working with him. He drove us all nuts. I remember Ajab had done a lovely idea for Goodmans. Helmut Newton had shot it. After seeing the shots he walked into our office. He didnt say anything for a minute or two. It’s a long time when youre wondering whether you’re either going to get fired or get a pay rise. The shots are shit. SHIT. SHITTTT. Who’s going to call him and tell him you’re coming back over for a re-shoot? I remember the words now. Then he walked out and didn’t speak to us for weeks.
But that was the deal with Paul. No matter how much he liked you, it was only ever about the work. The work was king.
I learnt from him. He shaped me. He shaped us all.
My last story was from the day he resigned. I heard the news while getting some toast in Charlotte Street. I didn’t eat the toast. I was just too gutted.
I remember that half the department jumped for joy on the news. They were the half who were doing average work. They wanted an easy life. And Paul would never let them have one. The other half looked like someone had died. They were the hungry crowd. I could see John Pallant’s face from my office. I could see the pain on his face. Its etched on my mind even today. He knew it. We all knew it. It wouldn’t be the same anymore.
Paul Arden was the spirit of the place. He was Saatchi’s. It wasn’t Charles or Maurice. It was Paul’s agency with their name on the door.
But when that spirit walks out of building, it is never replaced. It can’t be.
Thank you for your words David.
I am a HUGE fan of Paul Arden, I call his books my bibles and read them weekly. I never met Paul Arden but after reading his books I knew we were made of the same stuff.
” It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” was on my reading list when I started university, it was the one book that was really truly inspirational to me and I thank him for that. His work will live on to inspire others. Thanks Paul.
I had the great pleasure/fear working under Paul at Saatchis for 6 years.
He was inspirational.
He was terrifying.
He was subborn.
He was passionate.
He was an account mans nightmare.
He was a creatives dream.
He was a pain in the arse.
He was a great tutor.
He was brilliant.
Most of all, he was a good bloke.
The world’s a duller place without Paul.
Posted by David Hillyard on 03/04/08, 2:36 pm
Comment by David Hillyard — April 7, 2008 @ 4:45 pm
I read “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” just the other day (whilst under the English channel) and absolutely loved it. It was somehow simultaneously forehead-slappingly obvious and mind-blowingly inspirational – much like his best work.
Paul Arden was one of the most exceptional creative directors I’ve known, with an individualism and passion for perfection that resulted in some of the best advertising of the 80s and 90s.
He was awarded numerous Yellow Pencils throughout his career, and a Black Pencil in 1991 while still at Saatchi & Saatchi. Graham Fink presented him with the President’s Award in 1996 for a contribution to creativity that really can be considered outstanding.
Paul Arden’s passing will leave a hole in British advertising – his idiosyncrasies made him unforgettable and his generosity and encouragement to students and young creatives is an example to all.
Posted by Anthony Simonds-Gooding on 03/04/08, 3:36 pm
Comment by Anthony Simonds-Gooding — April 7, 2008 @ 4:47 pm
I’m currently reading ‘It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be’ and it has been, and will continue to be, an immense source of inspiration for me not just on a creative level but on a life level.
I think he will leave a great void in the creative arena. The consolation is that he left a vast body of inspirational work for everyone to enjoy and be inspired by for a long long time to come.
As an Advertising student, his books were some of the first I read, they opened my mind and gave me a passion for the industry. It is not only his passion for the industry that comes across in his books, but also his obvious passion for life. Without even meeting the man, he has been an inspiration to all my classmates and me.
This is very sad news for not only the Ad industry but all the business industry to, I think books such as “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be” is an eye opener to far beyond the ad creatives & marketing execs.
As the true great he was, Paul will live forever.
My heart is with his family & friends. It must of been a real honor to know him.
One evening, before going to a celebration, we (his creative group at Saatchis) were summoned by Paul to gather in his office to figure out how we were all going to get there. “Er yes…yes. Mike er, you’ve got a car! Chris you’ve got a car! Tim you’ve got a car! …There’s someone else…some one else who’s got a car…”
Paul repeated this litany several times more before suddenly concluding excitingly “It’s-it’s me…I’ve got a car!
I shall miss his lunacy and his genius. Rest in peace Paul. With much love. Digby.
Posted by Digby Atkinson on 03/04/08, 10:24 pm
Comment by Digby Atkinson — April 7, 2008 @ 4:51 pm
Paul Arden was a mentor & inspiration. He literally changed my life plucking me out of art school at 19 and what a roller coaster ride that was. He taught me how to listen to your gut and to always do the unexpected. He recognized the unique quality in all things. The world will look a little less beautiful without him. Condolences to his family and friends.
Posted by Judyth Greenburgh on 03/04/08, 11:21 pm
Comment by Judyth Greenburgh — April 7, 2008 @ 4:53 pm
I first met Paul as a student and have now worked on many collaborative projects with him, out of which bloomed a great friendship. Paul was an inspiration to everyone who met him and no moment was boring in Paul’s presence. His declaration of love for Amy Winehouse’s music during a phone call 2 weeks back will make me think of him every time I hear her songs. He told me last year that when he leaves this world he wants it to be to the sound of a New Orleans marching band, so Paul this ones for you….
Paul was the best boss I ever had, an inspiration not only in advertising but in life, totally irreplaceable. I had the honour to be his PA in the golden years from 1986-92 and my daughter has the honour to be his goddaughter.
He set so many CDs on their path to glory and so many of today’s creative bigwigs owe him so much.
I can still recall his voice yelling “Jeanette” and cannot believe I will never hear it again.
I cannot think of anything big enough to say that does not sound trite but indeed “there was a man”. We are the richer for knowing him and the ad world is indeed impoverished by his loss.
Jeanette Nielson (formerly Marshall)
Posted by Jeanette Nielson on 04/04/08, 1:01 pm
Comment by Jeanette Nielson — April 7, 2008 @ 5:04 pm
You never knew what you were going to do next with Paul. I went round to work on God Explained… with him last summer. ‘I don’t feel like doing anything today.’ he said, ‘Shall we go and watch some cricket?’
Half an hour later we were sitting down to a nice lunch at Andover watching Surrey v Sussex.
I loved working with him, it was just great and I am so sad that I’m saying this in the past tense.
Posted by Mark Buck(ingham) on 04/04/08, 3:06 pm
Comment by Mark Buck(ingham) — April 7, 2008 @ 5:05 pm
The sad loss of a truly great genius of impeccable taste and originality, but with a wicked sense of humour.
He will continue forever to inspire the route of my life with his vast collection of work and unique ideas.
I told paul at the end of last year how I felt the luckiest girl to have spent the first six informative years of my career under the rather unorthodox mentorship of both Paul and Nick. I also reminded him of the fun, the tears, the wine, the trepidation and the insults he encouraged in the office, not knowing which I would pluck from the mix if I could only have one.
His secret little wink reassuring you he knew he was misbehaving made you feel part of his mischief.
Just 2 years ago after a dinner paul insisted on continuing the night with us all dancing and drinking in Shoreditch until the early hours. So much fun.
It’s a sad day to have lost Paul from our party. Jax.
It feels rather strange that he has now gone. I’ve spent some valuable time with him recently, in fact I’ve spent some valuable and inspirational times with him since 1980, the time I first worked with Paul.
I’m an only child but I feel I have lost my grown up brother. All the time I’m seeing his face in my minds eye, his mannerisms and his joviality.
He died at the same age as my father, and my father died whilst I was working for Paul.
The loss of Paul is immense to me although at times we had some terrible disagreements, some of which lingered on for years. I just needed to feel he was there.
More importantly my heart goes out to his dear wife Toni and to his children.
Posted by Brian Griffin on 04/04/08, 3:51 pm
Comment by Brian Griffin — April 7, 2008 @ 5:09 pm
Paul was the biggest, most anarchic, fresh and radical influence on my thinking and attitude to advertising when he was my boss at Saatchi & Saatchi from 1984-1994.
He was the most endearing, outrageous, inspirational, legendary, talked about person in the Creative department. (People used to go to est courses to learn how to walk into a room that he was in.)
For me he wasn’t scary, or difficult to show work to. His was always a huge support, and got very excited if you wanted to do anything new. His influence has formed a great deal of who I am today.
Everyone will say the same thing about his Creative Directorship at Saatchi & Saatchi.
What they won’t know about is how generous he and Toni have been to my students at Kingston University over the past two years.
He taught, supported, offered his gallery in Petworth, entertained, tutored and fed my students on inumerable occasions, and curated two shows for them, one on Nudes (”Shock me!”, surely his mantra for life ) and the most recent “Unphotography”
Students are ungrateful but I am not.
Thank you Paul, for everything you have given me.
Much love, from Zelda
The world is indeed a much duller place without Paul. True original. I’m sure anyone who ever worked with him still carries his influence today. Everyone seems to have a Paul Arden story. He will be deeply missed but his was a life that should be celebrated.
Hilarious, mad, generous, brilliant and authentic.
Posted by Patrick Milling Smith on 04/04/08, 5:41 pm
Comment by Patrick Milling Smith — April 7, 2008 @ 5:12 pm
I was about 5 or 6 and my dad and I went to see Paul and Toni. Dad was there to discuss some building works, and I was there because their garden was MASSIVE and they always had loads of fizzy drinks! We arrived and Dad went down to the house while I stayed out in the garden.
Now, I don’t remember how or why… all I remember is that it was Paul’s idea, Toni wasn’t around to tell him off, and I liked the sound of it.
We secretly collected all the necessary tools for the job and set out to complete the task.
So now there’s Paul, petrol can in one hand, matches in the other, and I had a ‘safety’ stick in mine. The Task was to “get rid of those bloody Rabbits”.
What we would do first is find a rabbit hole in the middle of the garden, pour the petrol down one end and then Paul would go to the other end of the garden and stand in the ditch facing the bank where all the rabbits seemed to come out of. He’d do a bit of guesswork and find the other end of the hole by smelling for petrol. Once he’d found it, he would call out to me ‘Right, got it’, then he’d step to one side, and I would prep a match on the end of a stick.
With me an arms length away and with Paul out of the firing line, I’d hover the lit match above the 4Star filled Rabbit hole.
The thing to remember with Rabbit warrens is that there is a third hole called a bolt hole, a hole which Paul forgot about…
BOOM, the match caught, I looked up to see not one but two huge flames blast out of the bank. One flame out of the hole that Paul found and another flame out of the hole Paul was standing right in front of. He shouted out “Arrh!” as the flames engulfed him and fell backwards into the ditch.
Shocked, I looked up to see what had happened. I couldn’t see him, I thought I’d killed him.
A moment passed and then Paul got up out of the ditch. He was fine, he still even had his eye brows.
That’s as much as I can remember, though I think we even carried on with the rest of the holes.
That moment at the Ardens I’ll never forget, and I’ll treasure it forever. Whether I was helping to hang paintings, lay floors, gaining career guidance or getting rid of rabbits, it’s always been so much fun going to the Ardens.
I grew up seeing Paul not as the creative genius that he was, but as an exciting and eccentric man who lived across the woods from me. The advice he gave me and the things we did together had a profound impact on my life, he is most certainly one of the biggest reasons I do what I do now and I will miss him very much.
Posted by Oliver Hammerton on 04/04/08, 7:49 pm
Comment by Oliver Hammerton — April 7, 2008 @ 5:13 pm
Im working on a brief at the moment where i need simple ideas to communicate complex issues, fast.Having just read these testomonials and had a quick flick through my copy of whatever you think… i set myself a task to come up with a good idea in half an hour…
I was scared to start with
I got an idea. (or at least the essence of one) I like it.
The second luckiest thing ever to happen to me professionally was to join Garland Compton as a junior writer just before they were taken over by Saatchis. The luckiest was, subsequently, to find myself in Paul’s group.
And ‘find myself’ is exactly what I did. Although I heard Paul say more than once that “people don’t read words, they only read pictures” – a slightly dismaying thought at first to a budding copywriter – he opened my eyes not only to the nature of creativity, but also to how much fun it can be. Thanks to him, and the lovely, clever people he gathered round him, it was the most fulfilling period of my agency career.
Thanks Paul, I will always be in your debt. And I miss you already.
Paul to us was not just Paul, he was half of Paul-and-Toni. They were the most wonderful couple and it is lovely to know that they were together when he finally died after his horrible illness. I remember him telling me that the most important thing to know about your spouse was that you would like it to be that person who was holding your hand when you died. I am glad he got that.
As for us, we only met him three years ago but in that short time he changed our lives and brought us great inspiration and happiness, not to mention a lot of fun. There is no one else like Paul, although his taste for simplicity in all things reminded me of William Carlos Williams.
As for Paul the advertising man; a mystery. To me he only talked about the past once, remembering a yellow mini dress Toni used to wear in the 60s. All I knew about his career was what I gathered from his book jackets. He will remain a great example for us of how to grow old – consistently generous and willing to renew himself, in love, creative, funny, and surounded by family and young friends to whom he was almost-crazily kind. We loved him.
Kate, Clement, Gabriel and Alexandra Daudy
Paul Arden taught me more than I previously thought possible to absorb. Nor did I think it possible to love, hate, fear, admire, dread or or be in awe of a fellow human being. To call him a unique genius is no exaggeration.
The host of anecdotes about both this genius and his lunacy would fill a book on its own, but my favourite is this.
We were working on a pitch late at night at an art studio in town and Paul arrived to assess the progress. Whilst waiting to be shown the work, he took a stroll around the studio looking at the ads being prepared for some the other big agencies. Manic interferer that he was, he changed layouts, type sizes, picture croppings, etc, within minutes. The following morning art directors and typographers across London looked in either amazement or consternation at the results of his unexpected input. They don’t make ‘em like that any more.
Will I miss him? What do you think.
Posted by ROGER KENNEDY on 07/04/08, 4:36 pm
Comment by ROGER KENNEDY — April 7, 2008 @ 5:19 pm
The very first time I presented to Paul, our new creative director, a selected print for a press advertisement I had art directed he looked at it for a few seconds, flung it onto the floor with a sweep of his had and said “What the fuck do you call this David?….I’ll expect to see the reshoot tomorrow morning!” Thus was advertising, as I had known it, turned on its (and mine) head. A great guy, as everyone has already said, a huge inspiration. Funny,frightening,fearsome in his support of the creative department. A good friend, a generous friend. Will there ever be another like him? He would be overwhelmed to read all the wonderful things said about him. Twenty years or so since I last worked with Paul and I’m quite emotional today. Thinking of you Toni.
Considering I am still only 20, I never had the pleasure of working with or meeting the great Paul Arden, but still his influence has been great on me; ‘It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be’ is quite possibly the only book I can admit to reading cover to cover more than once and finding it more interesting, stimulating and damn right clever the more times I read it.
Arden was not just a creative genius, but a talent who defied the laws of complexity and simplified everything he touched, whilst still encouraging a brilliantly intellectual outcome.
As a human being I am sure he will be missed greatly, as a writer and inspirer his presence will probably never disappear.
I saw Paul Arden years and years ago at an IPA evening where top creatives presented their favourite ads. Paul Arden hardly spoke. He just showed slide after slide of amazing photos of mud men with purple silk. It was one of the best moments of my career in advertising. He was a genius.
Comment by Susan Imgrund — April 7, 2008 @ 5:22 pm
I had the pleasure of working for Paul for 3 years when i started as a runner in the industry. The occasions he was in the office were always unpredictable in the best way. He spoke his mind and opened my eyes!!
Comment by Mark Jenkinson — April 7, 2008 @ 5:23 pm
very sad day..i worked with Paul at Ardens , and he taught me a huge amount of knowledge, he trusted the young and listened to the underdog…he was charming, and bright, eccentric and ballsy…we need people like him right now…he will be very missed.
Comment by dan dickenson — April 7, 2008 @ 5:23 pm
I was Paul’s PA in the golden years from 1986-92 until he left Saatchis – he was a one off, an irreplaceable genius and the best boss I ever had. He started so many CDs on their careers and taught so many people so much. Advertising has so much to thank him for. More than that he was someone I was privileged to call my friend and godfather to my daughter. We do indeed need people like him yesterday, now and always.
Comment by JEANETTE NIELSON — April 7, 2008 @ 5:24 pm
Very sad news…. Paul was great and great to have around.. if he was involved in anything, you knew the one thing it wouldn’t be was boring… he was incisive, quirky, original, subversive, naughty and cheeky, often all at the same time. He also always had the courage of his convictions (not such a common trait in his line of work). He was only 67 so even when he died he was ahead of his time.
I got a phone call today from my mate Ajab today to tell me that Paul had died. I was driving home from a bookshop in a daze just thinking of all the stories. One time he gave me $500 to go buy some interesting books when I was in New York. We spent an evening going through them when we got back. He was always so hungry to learn, to see new stuff.
I can see him now packing his canvas bag with books to read that night and waddling off to his car with them. I count myself lucky to have shown him work. To have learnt from him. Sure he was difficult. But no grit. No pearl.
We were discussing some work in Paul’s office. A young account lady joined us. She was wearing a suit with a startlingly large hounds tooth pattern, which sort of ‘preceded’ her. After the meeting was over, Paul, in a very earnest manner, leaned across his vast desk and said to her “Did you really mean to buy that suit?”
Most people would have been mortally offended by the question, but having worked with the great man for some time, she understood that he was genuinely concerned.
This was what endeared Paul to those who worked with him. Honesty. Simplicity and directness.
Having been fortunate enough to have worked with him for many years, I know how much the industry lost when he retired from agency life. I now beginning to realize what I have lost as a friend and mentor. Digby.
Comment by Digby Atkinson - 04/04/2008 — April 7, 2008 @ 5:26 pm
For those of us who knew him, were trained by him, and who worked under his hands-on regime as struggling young creative people, he was more than an inspiration. Anyone who knew him can testify to his single-minded demand for quality, both in ideas and execution, and he transformed Saatchis’ work practically singlehandedly, giving it a look and feel it had never had before.
At a personal level he was quite often insane, impossible, ruthless, scary even.
But many of us owe our careers to him. People who trained under him simply couldn’t have been trained any better, and this applied as much to writers as art directors.
The stories about Paul are like the stories about no other people – they really are true.
A remarkable and utterly unique man.
Comment by Simon Carbery — April 7, 2008 @ 5:27 pm
I never had the pleasure of working with Paul (though my twin brother did) but he inspired a generation (or two) with his values. His influence was still evident at Saatchi’s long after he’d gone. His books were great too.
Canna Kendall and Adrian Holmes have passed on the message that Paul’s wish was that there shouldn’t be a funeral, but Christian and Toni Arden have suggested that people who want to celebrate Paul’s life might want to go to the new exhibition at Paul’s gallery in Petworth on Sunday 13th instead.
Comment by Simon Carbery — April 7, 2008 @ 5:30 pm
It was 1994. I was the executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Amsterdam at that time. Our biggest client, Rabobank, wanted me to work with someone from the London agencv. I talked to Jeremy Sinclair about this and to my surprise he suggested Paul Arden. Paul had already left the agency to set up his production company but he was still on the Saatchi paylist.
That is how I met this incredible, inspiring man. Yes, he could be very difficult, acting like a little boy. But that made him so special. On one occasion he explained his behaviour to me. “It’s more fun”, he said.
I can’t claim to have been a friend of Paul’s but I did work close to him in the early 90’s at Charlotte Street. I was PA to David Kershaw and Pete Watkins and sat next to his PA Jeanette (great times). The creative teams used to quake in their boots as they waited to show Paul their work and always asked us what kind of mood he was in. Such a perfectionist was he that it was common place for creative ideas to be literally destroyed on presentation. I think it’s a shame that there is so little of this kind of passion left in the business – Paul used to say to the creatives Be Brave. He also tap danced on my desk to entertain us all on a quiet morning. I remember him very fondly and am very sad to know that he’s gone.
I worked with Paul from 1986-7 – not a long time, but in some ways they were the most extraordinary years of my career. Paul’s approach to idea-generation was unlike any other I’d come across. We’d be in his office trying to do an ad for Anchor Butter or Babycham, and suddenly he’d sit bolt upright and shout out “giraffes…that’s it, giraffes!” It had absolutely fuck-all to do with the job in hand, but the weird thing was that in trying to steer Paul gently away from the giraffe angle, we’d trip over a really good idea that would never have occurred to us otherwise.
One day we were walking back from lunch and passed a small roadworks in Charlotte Street – corrugated tin shelter, chugging concrete mixer, wheelbarrow full of gravel, the whole assemblage neatly railed in with red-and-white poles. Paul stopped to look at this thoughtfully, puffing on his ever-present cigar. “Excuse me” he said finally to the bemused workman sitting there with his tea, “but is it possible to buy this?” What Paul saw wasn’t Camden Council fixing a water main, but some kind of art installation that belonged in the Tate Modern.
And who can forget Paul’s presentation at a posters industry conference? All he did was to stand up with this huge folded piece of heavyweight stock and slowly unfold it, saying “The…thing…I…love…about…posters…is…that…
they’re…so…BIG”. End of speech, with Paul swamped beneath acres of 16-sheet.
Paul was a brilliant original, with an incredible sense of style. He was never boring to be around – sometimes a little unnerving, in fact. But beneath the Condé Nast suit-and-cigar image, there was a mischievous kid with a huge sense of fun. And beneath the mischievous kid beat the heart of a genuinely nice man. Such a terrible shame it’s stopped.
Comment by ADRIAN HOLMES — April 7, 2008 @ 5:34 pm
I was lucky enough to work with Paul both as a young account man and as a copywriter from 1984-87…
Whilst briefly acting as both on the Argyll bid for Distillers he finished reading a piece of copy I had agonised over for days and winked his mischiveous wink…”set it “, he said… “and don’t tell the account man”…
In recent years I have shared his wonderful books with young creatives in Warsaw, Dubai and Brussels and with friends and family too… and allways to the same delight and amazement…
The 13th in Petworth is a date, Simon… I wouldn’t be anywhere else…
Comment by peter russell — April 7, 2008 @ 5:35 pm
Since Leslie just gave me a pat on the back for telling this on adlist, and my man keeps nagging me to post it, I’magonnacave.
He could have died in 1993. Oh yeah. I had shown him at school my portfolio-as-it-was-evolving over the year and now it was the “end show” with wine and tables of hopeful students and hordes of cynical ad-people mulling about the free wine bar… and he came and sat at my table as one of the early victims to look at my work. He kept giggling leaning closer (he had a habit of kinda half-laughing like “hehehe” all the time) and whispering to me “I hate these things. Don’t you hate these things? I hate these things. Hehehehe.” and I kinda stuttered “uh yah uh” ‘cuz I had such a hard time not being utterly in awe/thirteen year old shy every time he addressed me. So I cleared my throat and started showing him my work and come to the “Atomic Fireballs” campaign and told him to open the double page spread I had prepared. He did. The double page spread exploded.
No, I’m serious, like exploded as in *BANG*!!!!! – it was a small “firework” stuck to the
pages (what do you call those? Smaller than cherry bombs? So the idea is just a packshot – the bang, and the line “share them with your enemies” ) – Paul JUMPS back so fast that he pulls down the TV and VCR on the table so that they crash to the floor with even louder bangs, drops the chair on the floor, and the whole room goes momentarily silent apart from the ice still moving in peoples drinks. He’s clutching his heart and gasping for air all dramatic.. All I can think is: “OMG! I killed Paul Arden!” After what seems like forever he begins to stutter, and I switch to thinking “OMG! Paul Arden is gonna kill me!” .. But he says in an agitated tone: “That… THAT is… That is a BRILLIANT idea that.”
I’m afraid that I never got the opportunity to work with you Paul, nor did I ever meet you. However that has not stopped you from touching my life with your amazing words, great books and pure inspiration.
I was a suit who worked pretty closely with Paul at Saatchi. My favourite Paul memory was to do with a Courvoisier film. Twice Paul had changed his mind about location or studio. After a two day (location) shoot with Howard Guard, Paul threw everything out, asked Howard for another half day, and worked on.
We (Paul, John Sharkey, Moray Maclennan, and self) took a private jet to Bordeaux airport, as you did, and turned up at the Courvoisier chateau at the appointed hour, Paul constantly that irritating, child-like, 50 yards behind as he smelt the flowers along the way.
Patrick Moran, the client, watched the film 3 times and said, after a long pause, “Is it me, or is at least half of this film out of focus?”
There were some exceptional suits there, and me, but it was entirely Paul who convinced Patrick to run it.
On the way home, we were getting pissed at Bordeaux airport, and asked each other what could be the greatest gift you could give your children. Moray and I gave some kind of inane account-man answer – “Ferrari”, I suspect. Paul’s answer was “a sense of wonder.”
Two footnotes to this story. Patrick told me later that he would have fired us had it not been for Paul, and a few years back and at least 10 since the Courvoisier spot, when I was in the process of dying at JWT, some reels came in for an irredeemable 30 seconds of tosh. One was Howard Guard’s. First on the reel – the Courvoisier spot.
Comment by William Burdon — April 8, 2008 @ 4:27 pm
I am saddened to learn of the death of Paul Arden, one of advertisings legends. I had the pleasure of working with Paul a few years ago, during my time with his production company: Arden Sutherland Dodd.
Paul was an inspiration to me (as he was to countless others), I admired his brilliance and his seemingly tireless energy for his craft. During my year or so with Paul, he was the best (and by far the busiest), director in the shop – at the age of 63.
My heartfelt condolences go out to his family.
A brilliant man.
Comment by rubbishcorp.com — April 8, 2008 @ 4:28 pm
Sitting on a sofa next to Paul at a christening party, he looked me (aged 65) up and down and said “the tits aren’t up to much but the legs are OK.”
At Joanna’s wedding in France we were sheltering from the rain in a garden shed and Paul suddenly turned to me and said “who do you hate most here?”
Comment by helen wiedemann — April 9, 2008 @ 12:01 pm
He was first a great Man and … a great Director.
He tought me the “philosophy of Andy Warhol”…
I will never forget the time we spent together editing in his studio in the country, supported by Toni his wonderful wife.
Thank you Paul
Wow what a guy and I had the pleasure to work with him for Opel / Germany. It was one of these exceptional experiences which one only has a few in a lifetime. Many difficulties and a sometimes difficult Paul did not prevent us from producing something very nice, which the client at the end did not have the guts to put on air in the directors cut version. Shame but we had dinner in London and talked about everything except our work and it was a unforgettable experience. Well done Paul, I will always cherish this experience and keep in mind what you told me.
Comment by Oliver Szekessy — April 9, 2008 @ 6:12 pm
I worked with him for the launch of Orange in Belgium in the 90’s. It was a great commercial and a fantastic experience, working with such a great gentleman and a unique director was an unforgettable experience for me. He had a clear vision of what he was doing and ready to fight with the entire ad agency to convince them that “his vision” was the good one.
Like him I’m a fan of photography so I had the chance to discuss with him about his “other passion” and he showed me in his home in London carton boxes full of original prints from Salgado and others… I’ll always remember…. We’ll miss you. Thank you Paul.
Comment by Jean-Luc Van Damme — April 9, 2008 @ 7:00 pm
I have wonderful memories of Paul at work. I remember at Saatchi’s taking rather mediocre ideas into Paul’s office and after 2 hours of argument, and head to head, toe to toe coming out with brilliant ideas.
I also have wonderful memories of Paul outside of work. In the early 70’s I had dinner with Paul, his lovely wife Toni and Tim Mellors at his first house in Blackheath. After dinner we found ourselves outside the house at 4am – borrowing several neighbours metal dustbins lids, which we attached to our feet, re-enacting the tap dancing routine from Singing in the Rain, (I bet his neighbours loved us!)
The other abiding memory is of one of the best parties I have ever been to, joint hosted by Paul and Tim Mellors in and around the forest by Paul’s country cottage. 200 people playing war games and trying to re-enact the 2nd World War. Everyone in army uniforms, the party starting with a full inspection of the troops by local Lady dignitary. A group of people turned up, having driven through London in full German uniform in an open German half track vehicle, this was reported the next day in the Evening Standard. The party culminated in an ENSA concert with every member doing a turn and Rick Cook and Geoff Stark entertaining the audience with completely original, very funny jokes. In the morning a wonderful breakfast provided by the NAAFI (c/o Toni).
I’ll miss him.
Comment by Chris Gregory — April 9, 2008 @ 7:03 pm
A painters studio. Saturday morning. Chiswick, West London. Paul and i had been invited to preview Terence Donovan,s first series of paintings. We both thought they had fantastic Zen like energy, very “Japanesse”. Terence was delighted and with his “wedge” paid for lunch. He also presented us with a painting of our own choice. It,s the only thing i had in common with Paul,we were now the only two people owning a Donovan painting. Talent? Inspirational? Uniqueness? Forget it. Even though i tried hard for twenty odd years. He was a million light years ahead of anyone i knew in advertising, respect to Abbott, Trott and Webster.The finest Art Director and conceptional thinker of his generation. Adios Amigo. Max Henry. Spain.
I am a creative director of a small agency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Paul’s books were and still are a great inspiration to me. I hope he would be happy in knowing that his brilliant thinking has reached places he probably never imagined they’d reach. He will be missed.
Posted by Nick Pipitone on 09/04/08, 3:05 am
Comment by Nick Pipitone — April 10, 2008 @ 6:14 am
I never knew or even met Mr. Arden. I found “It’s Not How Good…” in a bookstore one day a few years ago, and I couldn’t put it down. I read the whole thing at the store, then bought it. Ever since, it’s always within reach when I need it.
Living in a small town in America, I just want those reading this to understand Mr. Arden’s influential reach.
Reading the comments above, I’ve never met or worked with anyone in this industry in the way people describe him. He must’ve been a truly rare individual.
I am truely proud of the fact i have known Paul all of my life – to site one example of an occassion when i have felt proud: this new year – friends were exchanging late christmas presents and one was Paul’s 1st book – the guy who received it exclaimed ‘no way, this guy is a legend- what an awesome present!’ he then gathered a group of equally enthusiatic 20 somethingyearold guys around him who (admittedly through a somewhat alcohol infused haze) all declared what a f**cking awesome guy Paul Arden was and how his books were ’seriously sweet’. Then one said proudly ‘yeah i know him’ – ‘do you?’ i said ‘i’ve known him all my life’, the guy backtracked a bit and said he had met him at a gallery opening – and yes i felt smug – and yes i enjoyed the renewed respect i had (!) But that’s the effect Paul had – everyone wanted to know him and to know what he thought.
I have so many stories and memories of Paul, so here are just a few which come to mind:
Early memory: Paul storming out of the cottage bright red in the face and shouting at me and my friends when we were heading back from a walk over ‘his grass’, he then aplogised when he saw who it was -me aged about 12.
I worked for Paul and Toni in their gallery last summer and watched Paul put up a student exhibition – it was hilarious to see how agitated he got with the students, in a bid to get everthing just so and in exactly the right place. Not one minded being told off or shouted at, they just accepted it as an unwritten rule of working with Paul and knew the end result would be worth it. One afternoon after i had come home from helping with the student exhibition i heard the phone ring a couple of times, i was outside so didnt manage to answer, then i heard the familiar hum of Paul’s golf buggy driving up the lane and the crunch of gravel as it came in to our drive. Paul had arrived – very out of breath to apologise for referring to me as the teagirl infront of the students; ‘ I upset you earlier didn’t i?’ ‘as soon as i’d said it i saw you pale and knew i should’t have said that.’ Of course i hadn’t minded and knew it was a joke, but Paul had got it into his head that he had really upset me which upset him. Having cleared the air, i asked if he would like a cup of tea to which he said yes and then demanded a specific type of biscuit – choclate chip shortbread i think…?! he wanted to know all about the party i was going to in London that night and where we all went dancing.
Paul has given me lots of advice over the years – about my singing (about coursework…) and about boyfriends…! One night when he and Toni were round for supper we ended up going through the photo album of my 18th birthday party and Paul proceeded to analyse all the boys and pick out the ones he thought would make good boyfriends- i was a bit disappointed when he landed on the most geeky looking one…
A couple of years ago i bought my friend Sam down from Birmingham to play the piano in a recital Paul and Toni hosted in their barn. Sam and i were rehearsing when Paul marched in, looked at Sam and said ‘play me something, anything you like.’ Paul didnt know that Sam was the most crippingly shy guy and all he could do was look down at his feet and freeze. The next afternoon Sam wanted to do some private practice in the barn but felt a little afraid of being asked to do an inpromtu performance,so i took him down and assurred him it was safe as no one was there- Sam didnt return for a very long time…, then finally arrived at my house with red wine stains on his lips having spent the evening chatting and playing for Paul – who he announced was ‘a very nice man’.
The last time i saw Paul was between Christmas and new year -my parents, brother and i walked down to the cottage and had the most gorgeous lunch. I was able to tell Paul about everything i have been doing since moving to London, and the group i am now in – i was so happy to be able to share this with him because for a while i was unsure and quite down about what i was going to do with my life after music college, and he knew this. We have our first big gig this weekend, which i am so sad i never got to tell Paul about but i will be singing for him.
I speak for my parents, my brother and me – we all loved you Paul and life at Bedham will not be the same without you.
Posted by Alexandra Kennedy on 09/04/08, 2:50 pm
Comment by Alexandra Kennedy — April 10, 2008 @ 6:15 am
I only met Paul for the first time last year. He came to my uni to set us a brief for an exhibition that was to be exhibited at his gallery. Admittedly I was never quite sure what to make of him, he always kept us on our toes, never knew what he would say next (the more controversial the better!). But what i do know is that myself and my peers were so priviliged to have worked with Paul Arden (the legend!) and experince his, and Toni’s, generosity. I really would love to have thanked him again for giving us such an amazing oppourtunity and the simple pleasure of working with him! He is a constant inspiration for so many… Thanks Paul
Posted by Cat Robinson on 09/04/08, 6:42 pm
Comment by Cat Robinson — April 10, 2008 @ 6:16 am
never knew the man personally, helaas, read his book though, i love people like him, the way they handle life, a shame he is gone, a shame there are so few like him and a damn shame he never did anything better with his life than spending it on advertising..
Posted by Marten Meijboom on 09/04/08, 10:16 pm
Comment by Marten Meijboom — April 10, 2008 @ 6:17 am
Just heard the sad news sitting in my Dubai office. It took me back to the good old days when I produced a commercial for Paul at Saatchi’s. He was blunt, sharp & right. I learned a lot from that experience. He will laways be remembered as a great man. May his soul rest in peace.
Comment by Elda Khanamnirian — April 10, 2008 @ 7:49 am
I heard about this tragic happening Wednesday night, the day it happened, from Simon Dicketts. We were both shattered by the news. Flashbacks occured immediately and for most of the past 6 days. First flashback started when I walked into your room in Lintas in 1974 when fabulous Tim Mellors was with you. You were in a pinstripe suit, Tim in an old merchant navy officers jacket with his arm in a sling. I thought God! are these a team! You went a bit wild about some work I was showing and commissioned a press ad there and then. You then asked me if I had a girl friend, and how tall she was. I said 5’11”, you went even more wild and said I had to bring her to dinner and you would compare her to your wife. Sadly they were exactly the same height.
We spent a Sunday, the 4 of us, at Wheelers in Whitstable. Great conversations, great food, we were happy.
As we left the resturant, Toni and Carole-Ann walked ahead up the cobble stones of a backstreet. You then said, watch this and ran and rubgy tackled my girlfriend (of only 2 months!), pulling her to the ground and amazingly, upsetting her. We have been best friends ever since! Carole-Ann has her reservations. We worked together, we partied together, sociallised in the wonderful countryside of West Sussex, and discussed all aspects of life. You were undoubtedly one of the biggest influences on my life.My daughter’s Godfather,my neighbour.
I loved your art direction, film making and after the advertising business, your books. I am sorry we will not see each other again. Where ever your going you will be noticed,remembered, criticised,and loved, lots of memories, David Lambert
I first met him as a suited gent playing space invaders in D’Arblay street for the first time. It was the summer of 2003. I managed to chat about ideas since then and he was always enthusiastic with a critical edge. In a world of lessening characters and creative lights Paul was the brightest I ever came across. Long may his wisdom shine.
I worked for Paul in the 1970’s at LAP, which we watched burn down one night during the fireman’s strike. Paul could hardly contain his excitement when the Green Goddesses arrived. He thought it was wonderful. After the building had been thoroughly drenched with water we trooped back in to rescue our layouts. We had a presentation the following morning.
From the ashes (and no doubt the insurance claim) rose Colman & Partners where working for Paul became the best and the worst time of my life. I shall never forget it.
I think he was always far more interested in my Christianity than my copywriting. I last saw him six years ago when I’d just lost my job. He suggested becoming a postman, which he thought a very honourable profession.
He then told me he’d been reading the book of Ecclesiastes and had been bowled over by its wisdom. He asked me what book of the Bible he should read next, adding the proviso “Not the Jesus stuff”. I recommended the Psalms. I don’t know if he ever took my advice. It doesn’t matter now. What he once saw through a glass darkly he’s now seeing face to face; I’m sure with that same sense of wonder that accompanied him throughout his life.
Memories… In October 2nd 1978 (I’ve just found it in my dairy!) John Mc Grath insisted that I meet Paul who he was sharing the top job with at LAP/Colmans – John said that I wouldn’t begin to understand what creative advertising people were about until I’d met Paul – I had recently fallen into the job of an advertising headhunter and John was keen to educate me!. The meeting was at a gloomy pub in the old Covent Garden, and Paul was of course a revelation, he first asked me to promise not to get to know any of his creative department, if he promised in return to give me permission to do so when he said “Go”. I promised, and in not many weeks he telephoned me and gave me all their details and the go ahead!
That first meeting was indeed a revelation and heralded some great times.
Paul was always interested in meeting the people who he admired most in the industry and used to quiz me closely on what they were like. One day he begged me to introduce him to Alan Waldie and in a moment of weakness I agreed to take them to lunch together. My good judgement caused me to be somewhat apprehensive of the event but I went ahead and booked a table for a Friday at a now defunct club off Grosvenor Square. It wasn’t quite a disaster but both Waldie and Paul were so shy that I couldn’t fade into the background as I had planned or we would have sat in strained silence throughout the meal. I knew I should have just got up and left them to it but I didn’t have the courage to do that either. Somehow we got through the lunch and afterwards I drove them back (as I always did in those days!) to CDP and Saatchis. Waldie became more loquacious in the car and as we neared Colletts he asked us up to the bar for a drink. Having witnessed the ‘welcome’ that CDP creatives very often gave to strangers on their patch, I, as a perceived predator of creative talent, wasn’t about to risk walking into the bar with a couple of rather famous Art Directors on each arm, especially as we hadn’t had a good enough time together to carry it off! So I gracefully declined but Paul eagerly accepted. I tried to warn him but he was keen to enter those hallowed portals. I have heard different versions of what happened after that, but I think Paul got a bit of a savaging!
We had lots of good times together as a family with Toni. My kids, now 42 and 38 could never quite relax with Paul, especially at mealtimes when he would lean across and pinch the best bit of food off their plates, but they have never forgotten the most marvellous, and scary day, down in the Sussex woods when we all played War Games in teams against the Germans – very un PC! Probably the best and most original party I’ve ever been to!
There’s so much more and I’ve been remembering more and more as I write.
Dear Paul you were an education and inspiration as promised – I treasure the memories.
Paul – one of a kind. Inspired and inspiring. This planet will be a sadder place without his unique genius; a genius it was a privilege, as well as a pleasurable challenge to have been around during all my time at Saatchis with him. His 3 books leave a fantastic legacy of a brilliant mind. Rest peacefully. Simon G
I met Paul for the first time when I briefed him to chair the jury for the British Television Advertising Awards. My meeting was in the afternoon of a day when in the morning he’d taken delivery of a new car. He spent the whole of our meeting looking through the window at it, rather than across his table at me, which I found slightly un-nerving.
I explained how the marking system worked and that the commercial to which the jury gave the highest mark was the winner.
His chair spun round and he fixed me with his stare. “Why’s that?” he asked.
He was passionate, intense, funny, perfectionist. He was impatient like a child, creative like a genius. He was just unique.
I was impressed by the million of projects he had on the table, his open mind, his creativity. I produced his last commercials in Spain with him and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to share with him some unforgettable moments.
Dear Paul, my toast ( with Manzanilla of course) with you and for you.
Nuria from Spain
In 1990 Paul hired me as ‘an experiment’, as he told me in his office and then fired me 2 yrs later in that same office. At the time he fired me he said it would be the best thing that would happen to me and I couldn’t understand what he meant. Ten years ago, when I started my own agency, I finally understood what he had meant… 3 years ago when I got fired from my own agency I understood what he meant even more. Today, he continues to influence what I do. I still get scared when I look at a blank piece of paper and wonder what I’m going to put on it and I still get excited about being scared.
I worked for Paul Arden a few times, at Saatchi’s and Arden Sutherland-Dodd. I liked him a lot. He was quite intense and extremely charming, though a bit crazy. We got on very well. I guess it was because creatively I went all the way and he seemed to appreciate that. I never had any trouble from him though I did see him bollock a number of people on the set. Once, on a shoot in the middle of a very windy airstrip somewhere in Hertfordshire, Paul was giving this guy the mightiest bollocking ever. This guy was so shaken that I took him round the back of the set, rolled a big fat joint and got him totally stoned. When we got back, this guy was in an even worse state, shaking all over from head to toe, and Paul was now madder than hell and bollocked him even more. It was then I thought I made a big mistake. Maybe I should have got Paul Arden stoned.
Paul and I were ‘dgggers drawn’ most of our careers. His purple patch at Saatchis coincided (or should that be clashed?) with my purple patch at Lowes and WCRS.
The agencies were keen creative rivals, so too were we.He was proud and protective of his department, as I was mine.He stole my most brilliant protoge, Adrian Holmes. I stole his, Alexandra Taylor.
Later the friendship and functions of David and Carole-Ann Lambert drew us together. I always liked the work, I grew to like the man. He had a warm, caring nature, not at all the the cold englishman his tailoring might suggest. He was particularly kind to my wife and I when we suffered an armed robbery half a dozen years ago.
A wonderful and wonderfully talented man, taken far too early.
Paul once asked me to produce the launch commercial for the Morris Marina – probably the worst car ever made. “Our only hope is to find the best car director in the world’ he told me and sent me off on a world search to find the man to save British Leyland from disaster.
I saw them all from Rome to Chicago and sent him back their show reels. Two weeks later he rang me in LA to say he’d had a fantastic idea. ” The car is so ugly – we must never actually see it, we will focus on the delighted faces of the people who had seen it flash past them in a blur. So – forget the car director and find someone who’s good with smiling crowds”
To my knowledge – it remains the only car commercial ever made with no car in it- and even more surprising he sold it to them! God bless him.
Comment by Mike Russell Hills — April 13, 2008 @ 5:01 pm
Better late than never, compared to many of the entries here. But, I was only an account man and working with Paul tended to make a late arrival no surprise to the client….
I was at the Brian Griffin opening yesterday at the gallery in Petworth, a wonderful day. Emotions were, as so often in connection with Paul, somewhat confused with the combination of the opening of the delightful exhibition of Brian’s work and a tribute gathering for Paul. We stood in the sunshine outside the gallery and the talk was all of Paul and our fondest and funniest memories of him. What struck me was how much impact Paul had had on so many lives, in so many varied ways, yet always creative. In my particular case, his wisdom touched upon personal and family matters where his advice was trusted, taken and never regretted.
I know that Franco at Il Sorriso would like to host a “lock in” lunch to celebrate Paul and his friendship so, if anyone who visits this site would like to participate, or knows anyone else who would, we could prolong the stories, the memory and the enjoyment of one of London’s greatest advertising characters. Contact me on the email address- email@example.com
So, it’s “Goodbye Paul”, but you will be long remembered wherever folk gather to celebrate the finer madnesses of the advertising business.
Comment by neil chalmers — April 14, 2008 @ 10:08 am
I was talking about Paul just a couple of weeks before his death, telling a mutual friend how much I would like to see him again. It is testimony to his impact on my life that the news of his death came as a shock even though I had not seen him for such a long time.
As a producer I worked with many difficult people. This attribute does not necessarily accompany talent or ensure a successful outcome.
Working with Paul was not difficult. He was challenging, experimental and inspirational. He knew no boundaries and accepted no excuses.
Toni, I wish you luck with the difficult time ahead, and would like to thank you for welcoming me to the celebration of Paul’s life. There was a lot to celebrate.
Comment by maureen rickerd — April 14, 2008 @ 11:12 am
This is to thank you Toni, Christian & Sian and Harriet, for organising and hosting a wonderful day of celebration of Paul’s life at his gallery yesterday. It was a delight to be among so many friends who genuinely cared for Paul, in Paul’s environment and surrounded by Brian Griffin’s stunning photographs.
Thanks too for the superb ‘drinks and food service’ of the grandchildren and helpers!
And Paul was with us.
With love C xx
You have said it all.
Paul was indeed with us and what came over most was the sense of joy everyone felt at having known him. And the pleasure at being altogether to celebrate his incredible life in the place he loved best surrounded by his family.
It was an honour to be there. From the moment I saw Alan Burles strolling down the cobbles to Brian’s poignant speech it was an afternoon of sheer magic and so utterly Paul.
Comment by Jeanette Nielson — April 14, 2008 @ 1:20 pm
He struggled to remember my name while I worked with him so I asked him what name he thought of when he looked at me He declared me to be a ‘Janet’. That’ll do.
At a gathering to ‘celebrate’ my departure from ASD he took me aside and asked why I’d let myself go. Nick was horrified but I just basked in his honesty and the fact that he knew he could have that discussion with me.
So ta, tah from Janet, who let herself go…..a bit…….well, a lot.
Paul knew how proud I was of my daughter Sarah…for her drive, enthusiasm, ambition, motivation, achievement, and so much of it as a result of his passion for encouraging and inspiring young talent. I had the honour of engaging in a conversation with Paul about Sarah’s work at his and Toni’s gallery in Petworth. Sarah has been deeply saddened by his passing but I know her work and her attitude to life will continue to reflect his influence upon her. I am thankful that she met Paul and Toni and was so inspired by them both.
Sincere condolences to Paul’s family and all who admired him.
I was deeply shocked when my youngest daughter left a message on my mobile to say that Paul Arden had died and perhaps I would want to leave a comment. She knew what a huge influence Paul had had upon me. Two days went by in a quiet blur while I tried to work out how I felt.
I worked for Paul for four unforgettable years at Saatchis in Charlotte Street. It was by far the most productive and worthwile time I had in 30 years in advertising. Paul was absolutely ruthless,brilliant, charming,kinf,terrifying,great,stylish,puzzling,uncompromising,challenging.Never, ever dull. Never a small man. Doing something original and noble really mattered to him. All of us who laughed and suffered and delighted in Oaul’s company will never forget him. he was so funny ! I remember Jeff Stark (very funny himself) said that what he liked best about telling Paul a joke was that he didn’t listen to the words or the punctuation but just loved the handmovements, expressions and timing !
I remember Paul always asking ‘Is this good?’. No point in trying to persuade him if it wasn’t. No need if it was. He did know.
Scar tissue is stronger than skin. Paul made my work hugely better and I shall always be very grateful for that.
Rest in peace , Paul. For once.
Comment by Peers Carter — April 14, 2008 @ 8:08 pm
Unforgettable – that is Paul Arden.
Without a doubt one of the worlds great characters and there will never be another one like him.
Brilliant, naughty, lovable, driven, charisamatic -an amazing person. A true Master.
I was truly fortunate to have met and worked with Paul.
Judi Bailey, Australia
No one has ever been ruder to me or taught me more about the difference between average and worthwhile.
Where lesser men might use rudeness to crush Paul used it to inspire and drive you to achieve the best of what you were capable of.
My favourite memory of Paul was him trying to smash our MD over the head with a metal waste paper basket.
I can’t think of a single moment I spent with him which was in any way predictable, he was one of the many best things about a great agency and a great time
I never had the privilege of working with Paul when he was Creative Director. My partner and I did, however, enjoy a brief relationship with him when he directed one of our ads. He was childish. He was naughty. He was wonderfully creative. It was a truly memorable experience. And it stills makes me smile. The world of advertising will be a duller place without him.
Comment by Julie Adams — April 16, 2008 @ 11:53 am
I worked for Paul Arden during the early 70s at DDB. He was difficult, taciturn and often AWOL – but generous and talented. He was teamed with the equally enigmatic Tim Mellors, who strangely, gets no mention.
His arrival at Saatchi was something of a sea-change, for himself – and especially motivating to the likes of Fink & Clarke who did their best work on BA under his auspices.
He was, by now, usually dressed in the Terence Donovan / Magritte style; Mellors referred to him “the madman in the double-breasted suit”.
Latterly he suffered the immobility and pain of osteo-arthritis but remained lucid and forceful.
His first book is a more than useful primer to all those entering advertising and similar fields.
His work on Silk Cut is a fitting tribute – very Paul Arden.
I was lucky enough to work with Paul for a few years about 30 years ago. I was already at Colman & Partners when he joined as creative director. It warms my heart to this day to recall how he transformed the place in no time.
All of us that responded to his encouragement, his goading, his flattery, his tantrums and his ever increasing demands were unquestionanbly changed for the better. You couldn’t fail to be dragged along in the wake of such passion and ambition. He was by far the most inspiring person I have ever met.
Even all that time ago he was already the colourful, difficult but exciting Paul that everyone is still talking about today.
A few random examples from a patchy memory:
Paul quickly discovered that the media department was very detached from the planning and creative processes (this was back in the days when media was still all in-house). So he imposed a simple, down to earth solution: he made the media director move into his office full time.
Paul once tipped a glass of wine over my head at an office booze up. It wasn’t anything I’d said or done, “I just wanted to see what you’d say” was his reason.
Paul genuinely didn’t care who had the idea. I’ve seen him art direct ideas, or copy even, from account handlers, secretaries and media buyers. The exception to this is I’ve never heard of him warming to an idea from a client!
And does anyone remember the little ritual he once had of sniffing you all over. It was only carried out on newcomers but he would make a point of doing it in public – in a restaurant usually …
I still make a living happily tinkering with words and pictures that sell things and only yesterday was trying to judge a piece of work by applying the ‘what would Paul Arden say about this’ test.
It’s fantastic to see that he has become something of a hero to many people. So if I had to sum him up in one word it would have to be: brave. Brave when he was starting out; brave even in success, when others would have just coasted and more brave than ever at the end of his life.
Comment by Terry Williams — April 17, 2008 @ 9:03 pm
I worked for Paul at Saatchis in the 80’s. I was doing ok, winning awards but not one of his favourites. One day he told me to stop being an Art Director and to become an Illustrator instead. I was very offended at the time.
My God, Paul’s demise has dragged so many old faces back into my vague old brain….would he not just love that?….a virtual meeting!
Paul, along with Graham B, Danny and myself were the partners in Colman and Partners, which was no doubt the highlight of my thirty years in advertising. Infuriating, argumentative, but alwats brilliant…..I am surprised that so little has been made of the great campaigns he created there: Camping Gaz, Audemars Piguet, Citroen. All major award winners!
And, for those who remember such trivia, how can we forget that he had actually signed to join Dorland with me, the Dustbin boys, Iain Dunn, Mark Reddy…..and he rang me the night before it was announced in Campaign, to tell me that he was joining Charlie S instead….so he was going there rather than to Dorland.
I never quite forgave him that very uncharacteristic piece of disloyalty, until last year when he, Danny and I had lunch. he explained that Charlie had offered him a lower salary, but the “msot beautiful flat in Cadogan Square….I am really sorry David, but if you had seen it, you would have made the same decision”.
You have to forgive a man like that…..the only true genius, I have ever met.
Comment by David Lawrence — April 17, 2008 @ 9:05 pm
I was very sad to hear of the death of Paul Arden. Anybody who had met Paul would never forget him. He was inspirational, eccentric, difficult, a perfectionist and a caring and warm-hearted individual. I was a tv producer at Saatchis and worked with him for many years. At one time we were trying to find a Voice over for an animated commercial and had tried several people that did not please him – ‘What kind of voice do you want, Paul? I asked him plaintively – ‘ I don’t know, I just don’t know – make one up!’
He rang me when I was retiring to say he couldn’t come to the party but that I was to be sure not to sit watching afternoon telly in my retirement but always to present myself with new challenges – good advice indeed, which I have followed and am very busy teaching.
His inspirational talent will live on in ‘It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be’. He never ceased to be interested in everything and never gave up.
Comment by Rosemary Poole — April 17, 2008 @ 9:07 pm
ITS LUCKY YOU CAN’NT PICK YOUR NEIGHBOURS!
GOD DOES IT SO MUCH BETTER!
IF WE HAD WE WOULD HAVE MISSED OUT ON THE THIRTY YEARS OF HOSPITALITY,SUPPORT,ENCOURAGEMENT,JOY,BEWILDERMENT, ADVICE AND LOVE WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM TONI AND PAUL.
KEY SWAPPING WITH PAUL WAS MEMORABLE. HE WANTED TO TRY A RIDE ON MOWER SO HE BORROWED MINE FOR A DAY AND IN RETURN GAVE ME THE KEYS TO HIS FERRARI!
NEW YEARS EVE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.
DAVID, ANNE, ALEAXANDRA AND RALPH.
Posted by DAVID KENNEDY on 15/04/08, 6:40 pm
Comment by DAVID KENNEDY — April 17, 2008 @ 9:08 pm
was lucky enough to come within Paul’s sphere of influence as a photographer in the mid eighties, through Zelda Malan and David Woodall. I found it a defining event and I am very thankful for his influence – If it matters a little bit, it matters infinitely.
Comment by Andrew Moran — April 17, 2008 @ 9:11 pm
I met Paul three months ago and I will never forget him.
He was sitting by his fireplace and he was wearing a pair of violet velvet trousers. He was handsome and very charming. I remember the sound of his voice and the noise of his point of view. He was curious and he will never die.
Comment by Giacomo Brunelli — April 17, 2008 @ 9:12 pm
Paul Arden is the only genius I have ever met in my life. He was the best boss I ever had and the greatest person I ever worked with. He once said to me as a young art director. ” I can’t make you see, but I can make you look”. My thoughts go out to Toni.
Comment by chris whittaker — April 17, 2008 @ 11:09 pm
Just to add to the stories of Paul and how his left of field touch could make you realise things a semester of lectures wouldn’t teach you: i was sitting in the office at about 7.30 one night in Charlotte Street (late in those days when everyone buggered off early unless there was a pitch on) doing an ad for TrustHouse Forte. Paul walked in with cigar fully ignited looked at the ad on my layout pad and said: ‘that’s, that’s very clever danny…’ With a heightened sense of worth i thanked him. And then he picked up a big, fat, black magic marker and scrawled on a layout sheet: ‘Freddie Starr bites head off hamster’ (the news story of the week that week); and said, looking at my clever ad: ‘but would that, compete with that…’ And as he left the room in a cloud of cigar smoke i thought ‘is he taking the piss…’and of course he was but he certainly stopped me being too clever…
Comment by danny higgins — April 20, 2008 @ 12:37 pm
When I worked with Paul in the early ’80s I had the priviledge of being invited to dinner at his home. It was incredibly stylish, decorated in a brutally simple uniform grey all over. I brought a few bottles of beer, but when I asked for a bottle opener, he & Toni didn’t have one. It probably would have made the place look untidy. I then pretended I was about to prise the bottle cap off using the stainless steel bench top. The look of horror on Paul’s face is still etched on my memory. Belated condolences and greetings to all of you who were my colleagues in those days. Monty Arnhold
I left Australia as a junior to learn from people like Paul. At one of Dave Lambert’s drinks parties I told him I thought he was a genius, his quick retort was, I’m not a genius, I have to work at it. It was the kick up the arse that I needed and even though I never worked for him, he was an inspiration throughout my career in London. He continues to inspire through his books and his words are never far from my thoughts. Thank you Paul, I still think you’re a genius.
We were in London directing some commercials for ASD when Paul pulled us aside and offered up some inspiration on the job that we were working on. I quote Paul; “I don’t know what you are working on and I don’t care. But, I have pulled some inspiring photos to help you”. Of which Paul presented us various images that he had gathered from his precious library. One of which was a naked woman ironing her dress with a chicken. To this day I remember that image and appreciate the inspiration and thought even though it had nothing to do with what we were working on. Thank you Paul. We all miss you.
Comment by guy shelmerdine — May 8, 2008 @ 6:53 pm
I left this post on Creative Review’s blog but I think the right place should be here:
Truly, it is Not how good you are, but how good you want to be.
I read all Paul’s books and wished there were more. I’m sad to know that Paul has passed on, but I’m happy to know that his wisdom lives in me forever.
It’s amazing for me to know today, of how Paul has touched my life even when I was a kid in Asia. If I hadn’t chance upon this website, I would not have known that Paul had a hand in that amazing BA advertisement. Delibes’ Lakme was part of my music studies as a student, so imagine the joy when it appeared in the advertisement. I ran out to the TV everytime it played, it was an amazing concept that unweaves an amazing message. There was this sparkle in the ad that was hard to match.
Paul did wonders for me at work as well. I work for a foreign company in a male dominated industry. For 8 years, I worked very hard. I was getting ‘there’, but still not quite ‘there’. Somehow I know I was capable of more but the circumstances were difficult. To leave was a pity, to continue was a struggle – till I read Paul’s books. So I sat down and map out what I really wanted to achieve in life. But in order for me to achieve my personal goal, I needed my HQ to take whole new directions. Now, that was a Real circumstance in a traditional Korean / Chinese company.
I hesitated to talk to my boss. But Paul gave me the courage. Surprisingly, all it took only a 30 mins long distance call to put things right. He listened, and then my office listened, and now the industry is listening. I may have the talent, but Paul unleased greater potential in me. Not only that, he showed me the way to tackle my problems in simple logical ways. The road is still long for me, but I consider myself halfway to my goals already. So truly, it is not how good I am, but how good I want to be.
The books are now with my daughter. She’s dyslexic and life can be a struggle for her at times. However, I’m sure the books will do wonders for her as it did for me. Actually, the books should do wonders for everyone. I think the Ministry should have it on their text book list someday soon. And if Pengiun is listening, please have this book translated to Mandarin / Korean so that I can share the wisdom with my boss and my colleagues?
Praise the Lord, for He has given us a good man!
Thank you Paul.
*I would like to have some flowers sent to Paul. Can someone please provide me his resting place? Thank you.
Comment by Jasmine Soon, Singapore — May 23, 2008 @ 2:11 am
The Paul I knew way back when, gentle, modest, quietly mumbling, would be very surprised at this outpouring of respect, admiration and love. I wonder whether he is chuckling quietly to himself in heaven.
What most people don’t know is that Paul was able to be his eccentric self because of his wife Toni, who was always his rock. Toni, I am so sorry for your loss.
Paul Arden’s books were the first thing to really tell me, dare to be very different and if you fail you have learnt something. Although I was never fortunate enough to know him, perhaps he would have approved of my work, because for the last three years I have greatly enjoyed reading and re-reading his books, indeed they have thought me far more about being innovative in industry than anyone else.
There was always something much more pleasant about how he addressed people with am interest in his thoughts than anyone else. I know they always said about Ogilvy that he wrote in advertising copy, but Paul did so much more, he actually wrote an awful lot with images and challenges of the mind, he wrote in a style I only wish I could.
He will be greatly missed by many, his literary thoughts were deserving of far more recognition than he ever recieved in life, and perhaps someday we will all see such a creative and clever man as one of the forefathers of modern television era advertising.
I know it must be hard for all who knew him so well and I offer my sincerest condolences for your loss.
Paul Arden visited our agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, Wellington in 1998/99 to share with us his work and thoughts. We were a top rated agency but were in awe of someone very special. Paul was eloquent, confident and passionate about great work. Recently, at a different agency, I plastered the wall adjacent to my desk with inspirational images and words. Among them was his beautifully brilliant challenge to us all from his “Whatever You Think Think the Opposite” work. It reads ” Simply change your life – The world is what you think of it. So think of it differently and your life will change”. Condolences to his family. Cheers doug
I first discovered Paul Arden when I read “Whatever you think, think the opposite”. At the time I was disillusioned by creative industry and my place in it. The book gave me the energy to get back into it.
I now give it to anyone I know who has lost their way and I think it helps. I re-read it, and “It’s not how good you are. It’s how good you want to be.” regularly and find I’m revitalised and energised all over again.
I think everyone, regardless of what they do, would gain from reading either of these two great books.
When I read your book, what ever you think, think the oposite, absolutly fully insparation, easy to read, easy to understand, I would inform to any one, to read your book, good bye Arden, you make the diffrent and making peace for every one
Comment by nyoman sugiartha — July 21, 2008 @ 3:53 am
Hace ya algunos años me llamaron para localizar unos exteriores para un coche. Nunca me ha gustado localizar con el realizador, prefiero hacerlo solo, me parece mucho mas efectivo y sanamente accidental. Pero debido a la alcurnia del dire y otras consideraciones que desconozco vinieron todos en manada y nos pasamos una semana recorriendo Andalucía de punta a punta sin encontrar nada que minimamente le gustara al giri. Solo una cosa llamó su atención. Fue a la salida de Sevilla hacía Granada. Me pegó un berrido en medio de la A-92 para que parara en seco. A nuestra derecha se extendía una barriada del extrarradio que quedaba un poco por debajo del nivel de la autovía y el contraluz del amanecer recortaba un inmenso mar atiborrado de antenas, todas altísimas, desmesuradas, como un sembrado de girasoles de aluminio. De los ojuelos le saltaban chispas que a través del cristal de las gafas se abrían en abanico abarcando la totalidad del escenario, iluminándolo de inteligencia. Entonces supe que íbamos a sudar tinta. Aquel tipo quería algo especialmente sencillo a la vez que sencillamente especial, algo cutre, en el sentido mas poético y dramático del termino, y eso, no se encuentra buscando; esas cosas, te encuentran a ti. Buscábamos aridez extrema, el paradigma de calor sofocante. Fue una semana de infarto fracaso tras fracaso, Guadix, Tabernas, San José. Nuestro producer se retorcía en el asiento trasero de la Space sonriendo descompuesto a la producer del giri que very friendly pasaba el trago muy britanicamente. De copiloto llevaba al del bastón y al tercer día ya tenía perforada la moqueta a sus pies de tanto darle con la garrota. El sexto día, ya de noche, regresamos a Sevilla con la descabellada idea de a la mañana siguiente quemar el último cartucho en la Plaza de San Francisco. Yo sabía que aquello tampoco era y por la noche, ya en casa, rebusqué en el jugoso desorden de mi archivo la foto en la que había estado pensando toda la semana de viaje. Por la mañana, en la recepción del Alfonso XIII y antes de salir hacia la tal Plaza, le dije a nuestro producer que creía tener la loca, era una calle de un pueblo minero, a unos 45 Kms de Sevilla. ¿Un pueblo? Respondió mi producer alarmado. Se le pusieron los pelos aun mas blancos y me espetó ¡Ni se te ocurra enseñárselo…! ¡Ni por asomo… vamos! ¡Le enseño otro pueblo a este hombre y me abre la sesera de un garrotazo! ¡Tira esa foto ahora mismo… tirala! ¡Ni me la enseñes… no quiero ni verla!. Le insistí sin resultado. Paré en medio de la Plaza y el tipo se bajo rebufando como un Miura, jurando en arameo y directamente se lió a bastonazos con la papelera del excelentísimo ayuntamiento; normal. Ya no recuerdo si le enseñe la foto con el permiso de los producers o aproveché el paralís y total derrumbe que se apoderó del grupo, el caso es que me la jugué y… las chispas explotaron otra vez en sus ojillos, saltaba con su pata chula y sobre nuestras cabezas el bastón describía infinitos en el aire. Solo puso una condición: Quería rodar con un perro con tres patas…“a three legs dog”. Ese fue mi primer encuentro con el genio impío de Paul Arden. Un placer denso y tenso, un honor sin peros. No soy ningún crack, fue un golpe de suerte haber tenido aquel encuentro con esa calle, desmesuradamente empinada hasta el limite del absurdo y de haber sucumbido a su encanto unas semanas antes de aparecer por el sur el tío del bastón. Nada es por acaso, al parecer.
Comment by Pedro Mª de Ugarte — July 25, 2008 @ 5:16 pm
Deadly creative and Brillyant Creature!!
YOu have to know…that your books have been a Bible for me.
I read them over and over.
God Damn Inspiring…
“What Ever You Think…Think The Oposite”
“Its Not How Good You Are…But How Good You Wanna Be”
“God Explain in a Taxy Ride”
I wish I can enjoy more of your Brilyant Thoughts!!!
I wish I could know you personally.
It’s really sad to hear that Paul has left us… After reading his book, which a teacher of mine kept referring to as well as quoting, I truly felt that NOT fitting in was the greatest thing that could happen to anyone in any industry creative or not … That and that failing grades in school can be a good thing!
I feel even sadder since he was one of the people I wanted to meet in my lifetime. Simply an inspiring fellow to say the least.
I’m an IT guy who wanted to jump into the media and advertizing world, around one and half years I go I was looking for some good book, I bout “Whatever you think, think the opposite”, loved it and went to look for more great books by the author and bought “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be” I loved them both and tonight I thought I’ll go online and search for more great books for him and was kind of shocked that he left this crazy world.
I never saw him,
I never talked to him,
I am barely know him,
But i read his books
His dedication of what his took
His philosophy on his writing
He does really know what his doing
I won’t say he is a good writer
I would say he is an excellent seeker
Comment by Dhilla Febriana — October 18, 2008 @ 8:07 am
My name is Patrick Leung and I’m a graphic designer and calligrapher based in Hong Kong. I am now compiling a book named “Western Calligraphy by Chinese Hand” (hereafter call “the book”).
The book, which I’m honoured to have Professor Hermann Zapf’s writing an introduction, will be printed in Hong Kong and is scheduled to be released this Christmas 2008.
While the book incorporates quite a number of western calligraphy pieces done by me, with some writings and wordings quoted from your book named “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be. I would like to seek your kind advice if such quotation requires any copyright charge from your end before the book is published.
I look forward to your favourable reply soonest !
I’m a 20 year Portuguese student of fashion design to who Paul Arden was unknown untill very recently. I discovered his book it’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be some time ago in a bookstore and I was amazed by it’s keen simplicity in the advices and life learned lessons he was sharing. It was only later that I discovered that the man that indirectly helped me has past away..
He must have been a very special man and I feel honoured to have known just a bit of him through his books and lessons. He sure is an inspiration to me…
But I picked up his book “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be” a few years back. And it remains one of my favorite books. Whenever I feel stuck in my journey of life, I read the book again and realise that there is just so much more to life.
RIP Mr Arden, you have a great mind and thanks for sharing it with the world.
I bought Paul Arden’s book -Think opposite…- at BMW Welt in Munich last February 08 when I was traveling. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to read his ideas and I’d like to say thank Mr. Arden for sharing it with us.
Astonishingly, I read “It’s not how good you are, It’s how good you want to be” only yesterday. I came to this site to see if there were any other writings by Paul Arden that I could be inspired by, just like his book. I was deeply perturbed to find that he had passed away. Forgive me for not knowing that.
May his soul rest in peace. I am sure he is continuing to inspire kindred souls wherever he is, having already enriched his new environs by his presence.
Comment by Sunil Arvindam — December 15, 2008 @ 7:47 am
When it was published I bought “It’s not how good you are, It’s how good you want to be” for each person in the agency I worked for. I figured that Paul’s words could do a better job inspiring the team than my own. I was right. Now, many years later I myself have been re-inspired by Paul’s books. Forever thankful for the disruptive chaps like Paul. A life well lived. Thanks Paul.
I’ve read “It’s not how good you are…” and “What ever you think…” and it not only help me change they way I think as an advertising creative but also how I think in life. Condolences to the Arden family.
Comment by Oji Valencia — January 12, 2009 @ 6:40 am
Couldn’t say anything at the time – came to Petworth instead. As my boss, you influenced me enormously. Was just reminded last night by a friend not in the ad business who, having read your books, can’t stop talking about you.
I did not know Mr. Arden, but I bought his recent book – God Explained in a Taxi Ride. I wish I had known him. He really gave me a lot to think about in that short book. I am sorry for his passing and I wish his family well in their grieving.
Comment by Jevon Garrett — January 17, 2009 @ 12:35 am
Paul, your book ‘its not how…’ hit me like a lightening bolt. It was so inspirational, I’m not in advertising but its message is quite effective in my industry nonetheless. But the greatest impact your work had on me was to change my whole outlook on life. In an age with so many complexities, and information overload, this work is K.I.S.S. at its best; clear, succinct, straight forward and genious in its simplicity. R.I.P. and thanks again
Comment by Carl Geiger — January 27, 2009 @ 4:26 pm
wherever you are Paul, thank you so much… think the opposite has been the best think I’ve read in my life. not a marperpiece of literature, but changed completelly my point of view and has a lot of influence in my thoughts.
thank you again. thanks for improving my life.
Comment by marketingjunior — January 30, 2009 @ 1:18 pm
I am sad to find out that Mr. Arden passed , well, almost a year ago now. I just read God Explained in a Taxi Ride. It has just come out in the States. I wanted to write him to say thanks, thanks for simply musing on God and sharing what is possibly the most hones, open, frank discussion about God and existence and how they intertwine in our lives. I also wish to say thank you for letting me know it’s ok to believe and not be religious. I wish I was more familiar with Paul Arden, not being in advertising is probably why I don’t know of him but he surely must have been all that I have read he was. From the generous comments I am truly saddened that I can’t write him a letter or look forward to any more books he may have written. Thank you Paul Arden, I hope the Taxi ride was a good one.
I’m a 3rd year degree student and Paul’s Books have been the single greatest influence on my work since developing an interest in design aged 16. Whilst re-reading “Its not how good you are…” on a recent holiday, I found inspiration for the theme of my final major project. I am currently conducting my initial research I am saddened to hear of Paul’s death. His books will always be held in the highest regard.
We´ve been very inspired by Paul´s books and even used them for our acting classes, recommending them to actors of all stages. Paul´s wisdom is for all professions immensly valuable, as it is universal. Today I tried to find out who the private person stands behind the books, so I googled his name and found this site. As he vanished, we are dependend on your thoughts and truths about him for the future. Thanks Paul and thank you for your honesty
Christian, Berlin, Germany
Comment by Christian & Greta — March 13, 2009 @ 11:11 pm
Today I read ‘Whatever you think..’, and ‘It’s not how…’. I bought them in Schipol Airport today en route to my final destination for work. I finished both books by the time I landed and then re-read them this evening in my hotel room. I then decided to look for Paul whilst listening to ‘I grieve’ by Peter Gabriel – I dont know why. I am so sad to see Paul has died. You will be missed Paul – you had a gift and your book has already made me re-think things. I even phoned my wife in Wales earlier to tell her I would give both books to my teenager and 11 year old to read when I get back home as the earlier they read it the better their lives will be. RIP Paul.
Over 15 years ago i attended a speech Paul gave in Sydney.
It remains the greatest speech i have ever heard.
I remember in particular Paul advocated that we not worry if someone stole or copied our ideas.
As he put it,”They are not your ideas anyway. They’re God’s ideas.”
Farewell Paul Arden.
One of God’s great ideas.
Comment by Siimon Reynolds — May 3, 2009 @ 7:59 am
Bullseye and pragmatic guy. A Mr. door opener with balls and sense of humour. A guy close to himself and passionated without fear. His time to go. I have big use for his opinions and thoughts. I share them and shape them for play with them and make them work with my growing kids from time to time. Paul is a cool guy. Im sure he is happy where ever he is. Life is short. Make it simple. But do it with passion. // Thomas
Short & Simple. Few people have the power to make people really think outside the box and feel touched. He did this for me, and of all motivational books I’ve read none to this touch me and inspire me everytime I read a few pages. Rest in peace and thank you.
You TRULY inspired me!!!
I launched my webcomics website after reading one of your books. you have been my motivation
thank you SO much!!!
Me hubiera encantado haberte conocido y darte las gracias en persona, ojalá tu alma pueda oírme!
Re-read ‘It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be’ for the umpteenth time yesterday. It remains one of the most inspiration reads I have – although nothing will every compete truly with Ecclesiastes! Googled ‘Paul Arden’ today…and discovered this site. I just want to acknowledge profoundly positive influence your work has had on my outlook and decision making. Thank you.
I never met Paul Arden.
But when I wanted to breathe a little, I used to have a square revue in hands, the Creative Revue, and a Paul’s ad was enough O2 for the week.
For me, he was THE English spirit.
It was in the 80’s at Masius, Paris, Ile de la Jatte and I was a young copywriter.
I worked with Paul for the second half of the 80’s. On campaigns for BP, Blue Nun, Servis, Campbells, Lyons and a bunch of other clients. So many stories. So much fun. What he always managed to do was get the essence of a communications problem, better than any account man or planner could ever do, and then produce ideas which were mindblowingly simple. Simple and visual…the pictures told the story so brilliantly.
I shall never forget his unsuccessful slimming regime, which he countered by going out and buying two new suits, two sizes too large…they just hung off him! De Bono had nothing on him.
I’ve just watched Tony Kaye’s tribute video – thanks to Dave Trott – and like Dave, I found it very moving. Hence this very late contribution to Paul’s book. Thanks for all the great times Paul!
Hi.. I’m from Indonesia, and I’ve just found out that Paul Arden has passed away. His books have been a true inspirations to my life.
Not just one but all three.. It did change me from a very irresponsible, shy, coward, and ‘no plan’ person into a confidence, daring, and hopeful person.
I’ve never met him in person, but I can see how talented, unique, daring, dynamic kind of man he was.
We all have to agree (maybe not all) that his books has changed our life’s for the better. I have read all 3 books, which made me more confident, and more of a risk taker. Paul Arden may be taking the last taxi ride with God, but his words and interpretations of life will live on through our minds and his books.
Funny story, yesterday i Googled ‘why does the opposite of what you think happen’ nothing interesting or helpful to me resulted. Tonight I saw a commercial for Bing.com a new search engine from Microsoft. I tried it and searched the same thing I tried yesterday on Google, and Paul Arden was the first to pop up! I have never heard of him, being American, but I am energized by what I have only discovered of him minutes ago! God bless Paul Arden! I am so thankful for his existence! I looking forward to reading his books! It is a shame he passed away so young.He was such an amazing man that it is testament to how his work still resonates and invigorates people who have never even heard of him. He sounds like he was a great man. I am happy he existed, and lives on through his work. R.I.P
I’m just confused and little bit shocked as I just finished to read Paul Arden’s book: “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be”…posted a reference to his book and when looking for his website, I found out that he has died in 2008…God bless him. His books will remain timeless…I would have loved to chat or tweet with him…Gob bless him again.
I bought your book “It’s not how good you are…” a few days ago, and when I started reading it, I got one of those “WOW” feelings. About an hour later it was read. The day after, I read it for the second time. And today, a third.
You inspire me, and if you were alive today, I would send you a fan-mail😉
I hope your books will be of inspiration to many others, and I pray that you rest in peace. Thanks for everything, even though you werent alive when I first heard your name😦
You have changed my life Paul, you dont know how I have changed my life after inspiring from your books….
You are a true inspiration not only for advertising professionals but even for a human being who want to go beyond the barriers of thinking…..your writing taught us how to get out of fear and become great!…..Your biggest fan ever …Bilal Ahmad from Pakistan
I picked up one of Mr Arden’s books, It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be, a few years ago and I found it amazing. I read it over and over, I use it for reference when I hit a block, and I’ve share it with my friends who all think it’s a mind opener. Since then I’ve read his other publications and recommended them countless times. Rest in peace, you’ve made a difference in this world.
Just finished reading “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.” And is the most amazing book I’ve ever read. To be honest I don’t read many books, but I’m working my way to doing it more and more. This book inspires me to change the way I operate my life, and business.
Con Mucho Cariño y Respeto, escribo estas lineas ala persona que auque ya no las podra leer,sabran los que la lean que son pocas, las personas que tienen el Don de poder ser Autenticos e inigualables ( pienses lo que pienses pag 76,77,78,79 ).
Hoy esta en mis Oraciones.
Descanse En Paz.
Comment by jose Alberto Cervantes lopez — October 6, 2009 @ 9:50 pm
Don’t you hate it when you discover someone brilliant, and realise it’s too late to ever meet them face to face.
Don’t you love it when you open a book and come face to face with genius, and realise that you’re not too late. Great minds never die. May Paul Arden never be out-of-print.
Comment by Karla Strambini — October 17, 2009 @ 2:48 am
I just read “Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite”. Truly inspiring. Smart. Clear thinking. His contribution is very much appreciated. May he rest in peace knowing that many of us will have a clearer vision as a result of his influence!
i was blown away by the tremendous simplicity with which Paul Arden describes in “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.” a complex philosophical approach.
working in the advertisement industry myself, i am, like most others, extremly passionate and serious about my work and the industry in general. still to develope a unique life roadmap on the basis of successful advertisement is truly Arden’s biggest coup.
The book really enlightened me. Thank you, thank you,thank you!!! Think about it, Paul Arden launcht a last, truly successful campaign promoting just himself. like Hendrix, Charlie Parker or James Dean, Paul Arden got off stage to early, which will make his literary work of the last 7 years even more outstanding.
here’s an “all along the watchtower” to you Paul!
Comment by olaf lux — December 26, 2009 @ 12:10 am
Tengo en mis manos su libro “PIENSES LO QUE PIENSES…”
y en mi biblioteca “el libro mas vendido del mundo, de PAUL ARDEN…”
Y he sentido curiosidad de conocerle mas, por eso me he metido en su pagina, y he visto que murio en Abril de 2008…
No lo conoci, pero seguire aprendiendo de él, en sus magnificas obras de sencillez y creatividad…
i was given Mr Arden’s book for christmas, my sister thought its about time I start putting my talents into gear… I read the book and something inside of me opened up. I was devastated to learn of Mr Arden’s passing, how could I not have known of such a great man. His memory lives on as more and more people like me will discover his work, and use it as a guidance tool for their own.
what a damn shame.
bless you Paul. Sarah x
Comment by sarah grant — January 11, 2010 @ 12:37 pm
I had a great time working with Paul on a couple of shoots with him as director me as creative. We had a few ‘moments’. In early pre-prod he shouted at me over a small detail he wanted to shoot and stormed out of his own office to return 30 seconds later trying not to laugh because he’d realised I was actually agreeing with him and he had nowhere to go but stand on a first floor landing.
Another was on first reading of a script about a scottish family set in a scottish castle he blurted “I think they should all be dwarves. Black dwarves.” Expecting something such as this to test me, he loved testing people’s creative bravery, I said ‘just what I was thinking’. He gave me a look. A long look. And then started to grin. Another was whilst shooting a scene where everything was (expensively) going wrong and people on set were getting hysterical. He turned to me, smiled and said “It’s all a game. All a game.” And he thoroughly enjoyed playing it.
Well , i was about to say “i don’t know Mr.Arden”
But , as he teach me . ” Whatever you think think the opposite , ”
i know Paul very well , after reading he up mentioned book only ,
it turns up to me that he agreed about everything i do and i did in my life , i become interested in the person it may the only one understand me 100% , i start googelling and reading , till i end up here with a tear in my eye, and iam struggling to keep it there.
i don’t know how & Why , i feel like i lost a family member ,we don’t share the same religious , but certainly i will pray for him ,as we do for family and friends .
with my feeling now , and iam stranger , i cant imagine the loss of the closer people , his family friends ,,i sincerely Console you all ,
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Thanks for the reply. I tried to find the Chinese version here but failed. I will try again anyway.
Not sure if the Chinese version you are taling about is published in which region. because Hongkong, Taiwan also speaks Chinese. But I am in PR China (mainland). The publish channels are seperated from Hongkong and Taiwan. Maybe that is the reason I can not find the book here.
Dearest Toni, Harriet, Christian & the whole clan..
I am in a state of shock, confusion and sadness as Dimitri just told me today that Paul had passed away – two years since. I am SO VERY sorry I was not aware at the time nor able to share my condolences with you back then. It just seems too impossible that he’s gone – you know how I love you all to bits individually and as a family. So so so many fond memories – I always thought of him as a sort of self chosen arty god father, not just to me but to all of us. If only I had actually taken some of that advice aaaah… Litsa xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Comment by Litsa Aris nee Stamatakis — June 21, 2010 @ 2:00 pm
SORRY YOU HAD TO LEARN THIS LATE. BUT AS YOU KNOW PAUL SO WELL HE HAS JUST BEEN CREATED IN A HOLOGRAM AT THE FILM FESTIVAL AT CANNES. ALWAYS SURPRISING/ WHERE ARE YOU? HAVE NOT SEEN YOU SINCE HENRY,S WEDDING I THINK. I SEE HENRY OFTEN. SEND ME AN E-MAIL.
I am so sorry to hear of Paul’s passing, I was quite touched by his wit, sense of humor and wisdom when I was studying advertising, in a way I wish I had his ghost to give me some advice from beyond the grave as a just got an interview for a Senior CD job, I dont have the experience for that kind of position but after reading his book and deciding to have a complete disregard for my abilities and experience. This man was scarily wise.
Paul you were a bloody legend and will be missed.
First of all I might be late but after reading the 3 books “God explained in a taxi ride”,”Whatever you think,Think the opposite” & “It’s not how good you are it’s how good you want to be” i felt so sad when i heard news about his death. His books inspired me & gave me a boost.To be honest for 3 years in a row when passing by the Virgin Megastores branch in Beirut’s dutyfree ,i buy one of his books.As a Graphic Design student i knew from every his books’s covers that its content is going to be amazing.I felt his honesty,creativity,personnality & desire to help all those who like to create & innovate in the future.Sir Paul Arden you surely will be missed by a lot of people all around the world.
My condolences to the Arden family, Thank you PAUL for inspiring me & for even pushing me to read many books!
I can’t believe I just learned of Paul Arden’s passing. I am truly saddened and the many testaments to his character and talent bear witness to his enormous impact on an industry sorely lacking his creative vision.
I had the pleasure of being his first sales rep in the U.S when Paul decided to direct ,on our first conference call with a U.S. Agency that was interested in working with Paul as a director,he grew impatient then bored and finally he hung up on them!!
We knew then we were working with a Genius! May you have smart,interesting clients in heaven Paul !!
Comment by Chris messiter — October 25, 2010 @ 12:49 am
A friend of mine gifted me the book,”Whatever you think,think the opposte’It had a profound impact on me,my thinking.Now i bought all his other books.
The books are so intense.
A man whom I can never forget.
Thank you Arden wherever you are.
Comment by G.John Sargurudoss — January 3, 2011 @ 12:13 am
“It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” is a book I keep near my dictionary. It is a book I read once a year as a self-help guide that reminds me that it’s o.k. to think different. It’s a book that celebrates creativity, individuality, and expression. It should be required reading in the high school curriculum.
Having just finished reading “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” I know it will be a reference I continue to refer back to for its wisdom, simplicity and beauty. I’m sure I will benefit greatly from reading and absorbing these words at the beginning of my creative career. I’m now ordering Paul’s other books, and will wait with great anticipation. Sincere wishes to the Arden family.
Paul Arden was Big-hearted and generous and just a joy. He gave me my first job at twenty and had time for me and I’ve adored him ever since. Seems like I’m not alone!
Its obvious he’ll live on for years in hearts and heads all over, at the same time making wherever he is now a lot less dull.
What a privilege to have known him.
A light like his doesn’t go out, it shines on to show us there is nowhere to hide. Thank you Paul you made everything less ordinary.
Having never even met Mr. Arden, I feel a kindred spirit in him. I just finished his book…and, even though he had passed away in 2008 I could feel his presence in his words within that book. Simple. To the point. Lasting. Sincere. That’s marketing.
I write this from another end of the world where the great PAUL ARDEN has had a great impact on the creativity of young aspiring artists and great thinkers. He is the mentor i never had, a model to be modelled and an inspiration to inspire others. Farwell Paul. Nigeria misses you.
Comment by Gabriel Esu — February 19, 2011 @ 10:26 am
I’m re-reading ‘It’s not good how you are…’ after inhaling the book after my first couple reads, and I am so greatful to have read this book. Initially I was looking for books on design/graphic design/advertising/business of design books and came across this one. This book is about life itself. It’s helping my mom out through her divorce! Imagine the surprise at the common sense well to do advice accompanied by humour in the book. We’re going to enshrine some of the wisdom gained from absorbing this book in a place where we can always remember all the messages in the book, aside from in our minds. The book has brought my mother and I closer together to realise that sometimes all we need in life is a good talking to from Paul Arden (R.I.P), because no matter what his voice, his message, his funny, and his spirit lives on. Even as a young person reading that book I knew that everything in it was applicable. It’s great to not take things for granted. Once again I am greatful for and love this book. I am going on to read all his previous works.
Yesterday I bought WHATEVER YOU THINK, THINK THE OPPOSITE and read it all today. In my life so full of opposites it was getting annoying, this book made me feel better about the opposites in my life and has inspired me to be the more creative and ‘different’ me.
I love this book, and to an extent I’d have to say I love you, Paul Arden, for the book!
I actually wanted to write an old school fan letter and send it in the mail because of all the above but discovered it was too late, however this will inspire me to appreciate life even more.
Gutted. Absolutely bloody gutted upon finding out just now that Paul’s gone.
I first picked up ‘It’s Not How Good You Are…’ at Newark airport, before I moved back to the UK in 2003. I can honestly say I looked at the World in a different way from that point on. Genius.
I don’t actually own a copy any more, however will be jumping on Amazon shortly to order my 3rd copy, having given the previous two away to people. Anyone with a spark of creativity within them should own a copy.
I just Googled Paul following my most recent flick through of ‘Whatever You Think….’ tonight, in the hope that he would have published something else by now……which is what led me here.
I’m sure you’re blazing a trail Paul, wherever you might be right now. You are sadly missed (even though I never knew you).
i just read whatever you think, think the opposite and for real it did change my life that once for all failures are such beautiful things to be grateful of because it’s different and not plain boring. i wish i could meet him but i can’t he’s dead now, but i just want him to know that he’s the greatest writer ever, now because of him my point of view has changed, my personality has changed. thank you paul for making me realize those things that i didn’t notice before! see you in another life!!! THANKS!!!
Never met the man, but I am using his teachings from ‘It’s Not How Good You Are” to teach business students presentation. They are constantly amazed by the insights and consistently are inspired to do great work. Paul Arden’s way of thinking continues to inspire after he is gone.
mais uma pessoa nobre que ira fazer falta pelo mundo.
nestes Tempos de crises – precisamos de pessoas que pensem fora da caixa.
Good ride into the taxi,
One less brilliant people in the world.
In these times of crisis we need out of the box people to present new solution, because the world is full of mediums people, WE NEED Brilliant people like you…
Comment by Anonymous — September 28, 2011 @ 7:07 pm
I have just given a copy of his book ” It’s not……” to all 47 members of staff. I read it years ago and still regularly refer to it and kick myseof for not having done this years ago! Fab book by a clearly inspired dude. Sorry I never had the chance to meet him.Simon- Webmart.
a best friend give me a copy of his book “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be”
Brilliant! i wish can read the book years before.
too bad Mr.Paul Arden can’t see my comment, but i really appreciate your Great work Sir!
you are example of creativity & excellence. Thanks for your legacy!
Just finished reading paul’s wonderfully entertaining and inspiring book ‘it’s not how good you are…’ and came online to research the man himself. I am very saddened to hear he has departed but all should be proud of what he had left behind. A clever chap, who must have been a joy to know.
A little pet far from u now paul,am from egypt hiwever i jad the chance to recieve your book as a gift from one of mufriends when i recieved a title head of training….and it was the miracle
I remember on that day i have read your book three times back to back.
Ten i read it once again with my wife
Then i decide to prepare a ppt for my colleagues represent the same idea and it went like a hell ,they were amazed,impressed and eager to change ,
This was the miracle that really enhance my startegic plan to raise the bar of the employee’s behavioral skills
Thank you so much fir everything
You truly a magican
Rest in piece
Comment by Mohammed abbas — August 28, 2012 @ 1:19 am
Paul, your work has only just come to my attention. You’re inspirational to me and one day I plan to write my own theories in a similar manor to yours. Your book “Whatever you think, think the opposite” simply confirmed that I am not alone in my way of thinking so thank you for writing that. Sad to discover you’re no longer here. Thank you for everything you’ve given. I’ll be purchasing more of your books definitely.
Also, could somebody clarify for me if “been been” is a common expression? Page 141 of “Whatever you think, think the opposite” appears at first glance to have a typo. My bad if it’s deliberate for whatever reason but there’s nothing on the web about it.
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I hardly drop responses, however i did a few searching and wound up
here Paul Arden. And I actually do have some questions for you if you usually do not mind.
Is it only me or does it look as if like some of
these remarks appear like they are coming from brain dead individuals?
😛 And, if you are writing on other social sites, I would like to keep up with everything fresh you
have to post. Could you make a list of every one of your
social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?
Dear Mr. Arden, I hope you were happy during your life. I’ve never before wanted to meet someone and thank them the way I wish I could with you so here is a digital thank you. Your lifetime of hard work is awe-inspiring and motivating. I have great respect for you. I think it should be mandatory that all young creatives in advertising or design should be made to read It’s Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be. I feel I am not only a better designer, but I am a better communicator and problem solver. I am a better person because of the work you’ve done.
Comment by Anonymous — September 26, 2014 @ 11:34 pm
RIP Paul Arden –
I had picked up his book “Whatever you think..” from a library couple of months back. It was the first book after 8 years or so that i managed to complete in one sitting. And since then whenever I see it around my study table.. I flip its pages read a page just like having a fortune cookie. Today I got little inquisitive to know more about this creative legend. I was shocked and saddened to know Paul is no more. In fact he left this world 6 years back .. one day we all have to die but whatever time has left for us.. if we get our intellect in use as much as Paul did our life will be successful in the real sense. writing this comment after reading “God explained ..” .. enlightening stuff .. I wish a lot more people think like this.. this world would surely be a better place. .
I’m writing this just after reading his book,” It’s not how good you are, It’s how good you want to be”. Now I very much realise how good Paul was. The knowledge I got out of the 100+ page book was something I haven’t got out of any book with more number of pages! succinct, and to the point information. Now having known that he is no more, my grief condolences!