The best leaders know that success is about more than winning--it's about improving and developing. Self-Improvement 101 shares best-selling author John C. Maxwell's tips, tactics, and inspiration that compel leaders to reach ever higher levels.
Drawing from the wisdom in his books Your Road Map for Success, Talent Is Never Enough, Developing the Leaders Around You, Failing Forward, The 360 Degree Leader, Winning with People, and Leadership Gold, John C. Maxwell provides in Self-Improvement 101 the essentials all leaders need to keep striving for excellence no matter where they are or what they are doing. After all, great leaders who are growth oriented rather than goal oriented never “arrive,” they just keep building upon what they are learning.
- To be honest, I never would...
To be honest, I never would have picked this book off of a bookstore shelf, as I would have pre-judged (by merely looking at the title of the book) it to be filled with pop-psychology psycho-babble marinating under a Christian veneer. However, I am glad to say that I stand corrected in my original judgment.
Maxwell’s work is short and to the point. It is also, to its credit, not about personal success, health, or wealth for the sake of any of those three entities. Rather, it is about maximizing one’s potential for three reasons: 1) To fully live out one’s purpose in life 2) To become a better leader and 3) To make the lives of others better in the process. I can certainly buy into that.
Maxwell’s work is inspiring, yet practical. It is challenging, yet encouraging. I finished listening to this book not feeling dumb for not being able to live up to his challenge, but instead plotting ways I could rise to it. In that regard alone, Maxwell has succeeded with me. Further, his open humility is a blessing in the midst of a world and popular culture that views success based upon the litmus tests of whether one reached one’s quota/goals or not, instead of whether one operated as a leader and blessed others or not. Rather counter-cultural today.
My only critiques, and the reason for the subtracted star in the rating, are twofold: 1) The book has a tendency to be quite repetitive, to the point of repeating the same quotes from the same people (weirdly enough, not exactly quoted verbatim) in different parts of the book. As if the listener wouldn’t recognize them. On a further note of repetition, there are so many quotes filled throughout the book that one can get distracted. It is a veritable ‘quotefest’. Though many quotations of others are good, I found Maxwell’s thoughts themselves to be the most intriguing throughout my audio journey. And 2) Maxwell’s reference to leaders, leadership, mentors, and those seeking to become the aforementioned are, save one meager exception toward the end of the book, homogenously referred to in the masculine (“he”, “him”, “his”, etc). This is the 21st century, and regardless of one’s view of women in vocational ministry, women do make up a very dynamic component of contemporary leadership worldwide. From heads of state and influential politicians, to single moms and a great share of the lay leadership of contemporary churches, women are living out every principle in this book. So why is there such a patriarchal bias? It’s hard to overlook this one. Minus one solid star.
As for the narration, I would have Sean Runnette narrate my life story if it were ever set to music, a movie, or if I ever wanted to impress anybody. His narration is virtually flawless. It is engaging, far from boring, and makes me want to listen to anything he has ever narrated, regardless of the topic. You won’t be disappointed at all on this front.