Posted by: wordsmithsuk | October 10, 2012

Book review: The Art of Being Brilliant by Andy Cope and Andy Whittiker


I wrote this book review for the Training Zone book club.

In The Art of Being Brilliant, authors Andy Cope and Andy Whittiker argue that ‘brilliance’ can be achieved by applying six ‘commonsense principles’. They are: ‘choose to be positive’, ‘understand your impact’, take personal responsibility, ‘have boucebackability’, ‘set huge goals’ and ‘play to your strengths’. They admit that there’s nothing new in this content. And those of us who have read a few self-help books in our time must agree that we’ve had similar advice from the pens of people like Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins, Richard Bandler, Stephen Covey and Rhonda Byrne. Is there something different here? Unfortunately I don’t think so. Even Andy and Andy themselves ‘like to think of the book as an intellectual smoothie – a blend of the best ingredients, with the pith removed!’

Here the main USP lies in the way the material is presented. The authors write in a simple, no-nonsense style, with an engaging and self-deprecating humour. I suspect that their approach works because it has been honed over many years of delivering motivational speeches, leading NLP seminars and performing stand-up comedy routines (yes, really). These authors know exactly how to draw readers into their world, how to persuade them, how to calm their fears and how to make them feel good.

The pages are packed with wise advice, witty anecdotes, thought-provoking case studies, entertaining quotations and charming cartoons. But it’s a book for a new generation of self-improvement buffs, rather than for dismal old sceptics who believe that positive thinking on its own is unlikely to achieve hoped for outcomes.

Don’t get me wrong – The Art of Being Brilliant is a good read. It’s funny and clever and does outline some simple rules that may help. It’s a book aimed at real people with complex problems, who just want things to be a bit better. Unfortunately, as ever, the rules are easy and fun to read but difficult to apply. I just hope that books like this are still relevant in these days of recession and rampant unemployment. The danger is that, in an era of scarce opportunities, readers may be left at a lower point than before as the higher they get lifted, the more painful the drop.

4 stars for presentation and style

2 stars for content

Have you read The Art of Being Brilliant? If so. I’d love to know what you think – please post your comments here.

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Responses

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