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It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be

On a recent trip to London for DevWeek, I had a bit of time to wander around the Barbican’s art gallery. In there, there are loads of interesting designs for things from seats to buildings. However one of the most interesting things I found was in the gift shop. It’s a small book with an unpretentious cover. However, the very title just jumped out at me “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be.” The very attitude in this title made it jump out more than any fancy cover every could have.

Steve Jobs once talked about ‘how the original Macintosh designers had read ‘beautiful books,’ well, in my opinion, this book could fall into such a category. It’s the perfect combination of simple, witty writing combined with attractive fonts and good use of pictures and colours.

Although the author is from a marketing background, there is advice here that applies to anyone from any field especially IT. We all want to improve our ability as programmers well this quote from the book is very relevant to us “Firstly you need to aim beyond what you are capable of.”

Another useful comment relates to criticism, “It is quite easy to get approval if we ask enough people, or if we ask those who are likely to tell us what we want to hear.” It goes on to point out how we filter out the negative so that all we hear is the good stuff that keeps us feeling warm and fuzzy. This book comes from the perspective of delivering something graphical to a customer and handling that customer, see an similarities in what we do?

I’ll leave you now with my favorite line from the book “If you can’t solve a problem, it’s because you’re playing by the rules.”