Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: Leadership Gold

If I'm gonna be honest, I picked up this book with a fair amount of trepidation.  I've only read one other book written by John Maxwell, it was called The Difference Makerand was a whole book devoted to the importance of having a positive attitude.  I found that book to be little more than a collection of cliche catchphrases and, frankly, it felt like I was spending the whole time getting a pep talk by some wannabe coach who'd watched way too many movies like Remember the Titans.

So anyway, I read this book for two reasons: 1) I got given it for free, and 2) I was in the mood for a book that I didn't want to think much about.  Having gone into this book with such an unflattering mindset, I'm happy to say I was very pleasantly surprised.  From the first chapter or two I knew that this book had the potential to transform the way I thought about leadership.

This book is pretty easy to read in Maxwell's casual style of writing.  He makes it explicit that this book is drawn from his experience leading people and organisations, so it comes as no surprise that it is filled with short stories and anecdotes from his time at the top.  Thankfully he includes as many examples of times he learnt lessons the hard way as when he did things successfully, meaning that it is easy to relate on a personal level with his ideas.

This is one of the first books I've read on the generic topic of leadership, and so I found it a fairly eye-opening insight into the complexities and wisdom involved with leading a business.  I'm aware there are heaps of books on this topic out there though, and if you read plenty of this sort of books I'm not sure what this book would add that's new.  I suspect Maxwell's approach to being productive and successful in business hinges more on people than a lot of other books.  His approach is humble and down-to-earth, which will be refreshing to achievement driven, productivity focussed leaders.

The chapters are concise and to the point, with headings like Leaders distinguish themselves during tough times and The best leaders are listeners that leave little to the imagination about what that is about.  Because of this, I think this book works as a handy reference to flick through every now and then to get a snapshot of some of the important facets of being a good leader.

So anyway, I really enjoyed reading this book.  If you get the chance, and you're serious about leading well, its definitely worth the read.

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