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Book: The Leadership Handbook

Book blitz continues today…just a few more days and it’s all over with.

John Maxwell has been writing on leadership since I was in junior high. He’s been at it awhile now, because I’m getting old. His current work is called The Leadership Handbook. The question for a new Maxwell book on leadership is not whether or not the content is quality. That much is assured.

The real question is: if I already have Maxwell’s other books, do I need this one?

Because if you haven’t read up on leadership, you absolutely need to. This one, by boiling down the principles in most of Maxwell’s writings, is a good introduction. I like it better than his 21 Laws book, though that is a matter of preference.

Why is this a good starting point?

Each chapter presents a summary statement of leadership, then gives three ideas to expand it. After that, the chapter presents application exercises and concludes with a one-paragraph “mentoring moment” that encapsulates the ideas from that chapter.

The 26 ideas presented are excellent. There is the unfortunate inclusion of Perry Noble as a positive example of leadership, but Maxwell is examining leadership. Even the aggravating can demonstrate leadership. Leaving aside whether all of Maxwell’s other examples have used their leadership well—I think Noble, for example, has misapplied the idea of rising above criticism—the principles are still useful.

Now, I think this is definitely useful for new readers of leadership principles. Is it of any use to those who have read Maxwell’s prior books?

Yes, I find it useful. First, there are places within this book that Maxwell provides limiting parameters for his leadership principles. While one could read some of his earlier works and justify a self-absorbed leadership, Maxwell is clear in this work that this is not acceptable.

Second, The Leadership Handbook breaks down into nice group study segments. A six-month internship would couple well with reading through a chapter per week.

With the reservation that not every leader that was doing well when Maxwell did his research is still doing well, I can recommend this book to the student of leadership, whether new to the study or long-traveled.

I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for the review.


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