Review: Developing the Leader Within You

Review of Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell from thegirlsinplaidskirts.comAuthor: John C. Maxwell

Age: Adult

Genre: Inspirational/Self-improvement

Click here to read summary

Rachel and I spend a week every summer volunteering at a kids’ camp/high school leadership training known as SALT (Student Action Leadership Team). (We blogged about it last year!) We’ve both been fortunate to be a part of it for several years and be used by God. SALT has pushed us beyond our comfort zone many times, causing us to grow and change. It’s an incredible experience every year, and we look forward to it every summer.

This year, our leader, Bro. Alan, asked us to read Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell in preparation for the leadership training. While I was grateful for the recommendation, I’m not a big fan of non-fiction. However, I’m trying to read more non-fic and self-improvement books (I hate the term “self-help”), so I did as he asked and read it.

First off, be warned. There are plenty of typos and grammatical errors in this book; however, it’s very well written. My highlighters got a lot of use! There are so many good quotes, and I’ll include some of my favorites below.

The style is interesting, because Maxwell uses a lot of stories to make his points. Sometimes, there will be a heading with a story, but no explanation about how to apply it to your life! Rachel and I discussed this and would like explanations, please! However, I know we’re probably supposed to reflect on the stories and try to figure out how they apply to our lives. But we were a bit rushed to read the book, so we’ve kind of been speed reading and not taking the proper time to reflect. (A reread is definitely in order!)

I’ve been able to use this book to pinpoint areas in my life where I could use some improvement, and I like Maxwell’s advice of trying to conquer one self-improvement project (or, as he says, self-discipline development) at a time. “The slow accumulation of disciplines will one day make a big difference.”

Perhaps you don’t view yourself as a leader and you think, “There’s no point in me reading that.” While not every point will apply to you, this book will convince you that you are a leader. Maxwell claims that leadership is influence, and “everyone is a leader because everyone influences someone.” So whether you think this book applies to you or not, it does, and I highly recommend you give it a shot.


The reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.

Habits are not instincts. They are acquired reactions. They don’t just happen; they are caused.

The only problem you have is the one you allow to be a problem because of your wrong reaction to it.

A happy person is not a person with a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

Begin to act the part of the person you would like to become.

The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it. Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation. And then, guess what? After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.

Success is learning from failure. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. Failure only truly becomes failure when we do not learn from it.

Nothing would get done at all if a man waited until he could do something so well that no one could find fault with it.

When you do the things you ought to do when you ought to do them, the day will come when you will do the things you want to do when you want to do them.

Having it all doesn’t mean having it all at once.

Hours can be saved by making the best use of minutes.

Successful people are willing to do things unsuccessful people will not do.

Good character is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece—by thought, choice, courage, and determination. This will only be accomplished with a disciplined lifestyle.

Content Advisory:
None! It’s a clean read!

If you like this review, you might also like Rachel’s review of Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley

Today Matters: 12 daily practices to guarantee tomorrow’s success
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently
Sometimes You Win–Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.


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