Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book: How High Will You Climb?

I have a shelf of “leadership” themed books in my office. They range from 822 pages of heavy academics down to today’s book, How High Will You Climb? that weighs in at 134 pages of content, plus study guide and endnotes. Yep, endnotes. Boo.

How High? is from John Maxwell, who is well-regarded in the leadership training world. His work here pulls out 8 choices, 5 opportunities, and 3 strengths that are valuable for Christian leadership. I say he has isolated this into Christian leadership because all of these are sourced from various points in the Christian Bible.

Is it necessary to be a Christian to benefit from these ideas? No, but one who does not think the Bible has any value will dispute with Maxwell’s endorsement of the Bible. I am personally a little uncomfortable about whether or not he is using Scripture in the way it should be—the Bible is intended to guide our relationship with God, not be a success manual. Maxwell dances close to that edge.

Are his principles valid? They are. I find no fault in what Maxwell suggests through how How High? Except that it’s just not unique. It’s the same basic ideas that I’ve seen in several other authors. There’s nothing wrong with the ideas, there’s just nothing new here.

In this, I think Maxwell is the victim of his own success. Twenty years ago, it seemed Maxwell was the primary accessible leadership author in Christian circles. He created a market for the idea of reading on leadership, and now there are multiple authors in the market…some have beaten him to the attitude concept.

Overall, I think this makes a great gift book for graduates or new hires. The back cover makes clear that this is an abridgment of Maxwell’s The Winning Attitude. If you want to dig deeper, go ahead and get the big book, but if you’re after a bulk purchase for inspiration, this will do nicely.

Book received in exchange for the review.

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