John C. Maxwell – “How Successful People Think” Part 1


To all my faithful readers, I, finally, bring you the second book review on this blog: “How Successful People Think” by John Maxwell. I predicated the last Maxwell book with the importance of reading it for yourself; the same applies here, as Maxwell writes these particular books in a concise format allowing quick reference, which means a short summary is nearly impossible without missing some important information. This book is a book of lists: it is a grouping of eleven key thinking styles vital to developing a successful lifestyle; each one is given a list of reasons why it is important and how to cultivate it. Here, I will mention each type of thinking than try to summarize a few key strategies that apply to cultivating these types.

Successful Thinking

Maxwell’s critical types of thinking include the following: big-picture, focused, creative, realistic, strategic, possibility, reflective, shared, unselfish, and bottom-line thinking (while questioning popular thinking).  Big-picture allows you to step back and place everything in context. Focused allows a clear vision of how to reach a particular goal. Creative takes you outside the box, allowing you to move in an area you may have originally thought impossible. Realistic provides security, minimizes risk, and allows a manageable plan to be established. Strategic reduces the margin of error and simplifies the difficult. Possibility expands what you can accomplish, because it keeps you in a positive frame of mind. Reflective allows you to learn from where you are and where you’ve been. Shared provides faster, more innovative solutions. Unselfish makes you part of something beyond yourself and adds value to others, thus bringing greater personal fulfillment. Bottom-line provides clarity and helps you make the best decisions.

To develop these thinking styles, you need to be intentional. Be intentional in setting aside time for thinking, in planning your goals and how they fit into your overall plan, and in engaging with others to expand your horizons and broaden your thinking capabilities. You also need to genuinely value others. Including others in planning and implementing your strategies expands what you can do. This requires investing in, listening to, including, and adding value to others. Finally, avoid the status quo. Allowing others to do the thinking for you means you will only accomplish as much as everyone else.

Cultivate good ideas by giving yourself the room to think (that means pause in the midst of your over-busy day!). Make sure you believe in your ideas, than stretch them by sharing with others. Finally, apply them! In conclusion, “The Right Thought plus the Right People in the Right Environment at the Right Time for the Right Reason = the Right Result.”

Tune in next time for some reflections on these thinking styles.


2 thoughts on “John C. Maxwell – “How Successful People Think” Part 1

  1. Gregory says:

    Probably the most insightful post yet!

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