John C. Maxwell
First Published: 2000 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Who doesn’t have some fear of failure? OK, just me then? I think we could all say we don’t want to fail or to be seen to fail perhaps.
John Maxwell in this book addresses the idea that failing is actually something we need to do in order to succeed. We cannot make progress if we do not fail at some stage. In fact, he makes the point that if you are not failing you are more than likely playing it too safe and you will not succeed beyond where you are at.
I think that’s not a bad thing for a lot of people but most of us have something we want to achieve or change and this book is for us.
Maxwell redefines failure, examines attitude to it, explains about taking responsibility for failure (i.e. don’t blame external factors) and how to find the benefit or learn from every failure.
He lays it all out in an easy to follow point by point style interspersed with stories of how great achievers overcame their shortcomings and turned them into successes. One criticism I would have is that there are perhaps too many of these stories; after a while, I felt the stories were so frequent they were interrupting my enjoyment of the book and distracting me from the points he was making. Adding to that, the stories were a little dated. I would have liked to hear a few about more ordinary people in more current times.
In saying that, this is a good book to make you look at how you think about and approach risk. I personally like to avoid risk where possible but Maxwell explains how we all tend to do that, and why, but goes on to explain that risk is inevitable in life and it’s not the risk-taking itself that we need to dwell on but rather how we evaluate that risk. Is the risk worth it in other words? Can we avoid failure more efficiently?
Learning from our mistakes always seems harder than it sounds but I think Maxwell deals with that well. He talks about a “teachability” attitude why which he means getting the best experience out of any failure or mistake.
This is an easy book to read; there are no taxing issues, and it is applicable to all of us. A worthwhile read.
Books that change lives – Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones For Success.
John C. Maxwell
Review by Elaine Smith, a graduate of the Diploma in Executive and Life Coaching
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