About This Blog

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth" (John C. Maxwell)

TITLE: The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential
AUTHOR: John C. Maxwell
PUBLISHER: Center Street, 2012, (206 pages).

Potential. More specifically, how do we achieve our potential in life? This question is dealt with by the popular leadership guru, John Maxwell. His first two books that deal with "laws" cover leadership and teamwork. While he has 21 laws for leadership, and 17 laws for teamwork, he proposes 15 laws for individual growth. Maxwell calls his leadership laws "irrefutable," and his teamwork laws "indisputable." Now, his third book, he uses the word "invaluable." Focusing on achieving one's potential through growth, Maxwell focuses on 15 essentials for growing.

  1. Intentionality: That growth does not happen at random. It needs a plan and a purpose, through the practices of closing 9 gaps. 
  2. Awareness: Self identity helps determine a sense of direction. He suggests various ways in which one can recognize one's passion in life. 
  3. Mirror: This law aims to help see one's sense of value, and to be true to self, and develop positive self-esteem and self-image.
  4. Self-Reflection: Everyone needs to take a pause at periods of their lives to take stock, to investigate, to illuminate, to incubate, or to illustrate. 
  5. Consistency: Growth needs consistent growing, not just the initial start. The discipline to continue is as important as the initiation to start.
  6. Environment: Where we are can be a big factor in personal growth. We need to learn to assess ourselves, to make decisions for change whether in present or in future circumstances. Learn to find out the best kind of soil to grow, the best air to breathe in terms of purpose, and the best climate in people relationships. 
  7. Design: One also needs to learn to develop strategies for maximum growth through systems.
  8. Pain: Learning to manage bad experiences is a key part of growth. Whether it is inexperience, incompetence, disappointment,  conflict, change, bad health, hard decisions, financial loss, relationships, and many others, one can turn pain into gain.
  9. Ladder: How high one grows depends on the how one cultivates one's character. People, passion, perspective, and principles matter.
  10. Rubber Band: Learning to stretch oneself is critical to growth. Tensions are not necessarily bad. They can help one to grow, especially the part about stretching from the inside out.
  11. Tradeoffs: Growing requires us to make decisions about compromise and constraints. Learning to give up where appropriate is better than pushing ourselves silly for little gain. 
  12. Curiosity: Learning to ask why helps us avoid mental laziness. It is a core part of the learning process.
  13. Modeling: Learn to model your growth with someone better than yourself. Choosing a good mentor is key.
  14. Expansion: With growth comes capacity for learning. Whether it is thinking or doing, working or playing, growth is empowering and enlarging one's tent of personal growth.
  15. Contribution: Finally, growing always means bringing blessings to others. 

My Thoughts

Maxwell has a way of communicating his ideas that are compelling, convincing, and also uplifting. After all, he is not a leadership guru by chance. What makes him such a popular author is that his books are filled with stories and real life examples. He does readers a favour by compiling an easy to read collection of ideas, backed by some of his learning from other experts. The "15 laws" that he has put together are packed with theory and practice, illustrations and steps for personal applications, put together in easy to remember acronyms and communication devices that enable readers to remember. The part about how to "Apply the law" is a valuable exercise for readers to put theory into practice.

Yet, for all the accolades he has won, and the powerful ideas he has put together, I cannot but feel a sense of arrogance in the way that he has described the laws in the first two books. Are his laws so "irrefutable?" Is his take on teamwork so "indisputable?" Is he that perfect in the first place, even considering the years of experience and expertise he holds? Thankfully, his third book has toned down a little bit when he titles it as "invaluable." Maxwell can be a little more modest, though. My problem with the labeling is that Maxwell by using such pounding words, he may have unwittingly hemmed in the minds of readers to think that there are only these numbers of laws. This is the unfortunate result of having such grand sounding titles. It attracts attention, but it can also create negative impressions. Moreover, is it really a "law?" Maybe, it will be better to tone down the rhetoric.

That said, this is still a very readable book, and readers will be challenge by the laws, or at least, some of them.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Hachette Book Publishers and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment