John Maxwell’s The Complete 101 Collection: What Every Leader Needs to Know has been a constant companion for me for several nights. I have stayed up reading chapter after chapter of his book while gleaning insights from its pages. He writes in an engaging and friendly way.
Maxwell has been a pastor for many years. His perspective is more religious, but he has a knack for applying it to secular business. It was inspiring to read his views on life, leadership, and priorities. There are several things I like from this book, but I’ll share just three.
Simple and Direct
Maxwell has a way with words. It’s an easy read if you’re looking for something rather light. Don’t be intimidated by the length (a little over 400 pages), because the pages flip through quickly. For example, Maxwell breaks up each chapter into sections that are less than one page long. Usually, there aren’t too many sections per chapter, either. The most extended parts of each chapter are the lists and steps he highlights to emphasize a point. These steps are usually between three and ten steps, although some sections are longer. Again, the length can be intimidating, but don’t be deterred.
The concepts listed in the book aren’t complicated. Maxwell highlights the most important ones and elaborates on characteristics like character, integrity, and mentorship. I’ll discuss the sections later, but each part flows from one piece to the next, which is engaging for the reader. As I have read this book, I notice how his vocabulary is simple enough to understand, yet complex enough to articulate a complex concept.
His stories are engaging. Again, the accounts are direct. For brevity, he’s articulate in the way he expounds the experiences he recounts. For example, he wrote about the process for a Navy fighter jet to take off from an aircraft carrier and how it related to teamwork. He was descriptive enough, but not too much to make me feel like I was drowning in minute details. As the reader, I appreciated that. When I’m looking for leadership literature, I want something concise. Sometimes, anecdotes in leadership books get lengthy. Maxwell has mastered the art of making his point and moving on to the next.
Each section stands alone
As I said before, he lays out six sections. Here they are:
My favorite section was Mentoring 101 because Maxwell frames mentoring as one of the steady steps in success as a leader. Mentorship 101 impacted me because I could feel that he valued mentorship over most of the other sections in his book. Every leader should have a few mentors at their disposal, and Maxwell stated as much as well. Similarly, leaders must seek out people to mentor in their chosen field.
I didn’t enjoy Attitude 101 as much as I thought. It was this section that hindered my progress to the other parts for several years. I found it uninteresting because I felt that Maxwell overstated his point, which is rare, considering he is usually brief.
I could tear out any section of this book and can use it as a lesson/lecture. Maxwell states the most important things first in each chapter, and then the rest supports the main points. I loved this approach, and it made the sections easy to read.
Not only that, but each chapter is also short. I find myself reading one chapter in about five to seven minutes, and I’m not a fast reader. Rest assured, if you’re not a fast reader either, you’ll find this book easy to digest.
Positivity with Every Page
Maxwell’s upbeat attitude permeates the pages of this book. He shows this, especially in his success section. Each chapter in the Success 101 section explains how leaders can find success through positivity and creativity.
His anecdotes are simple to follow and enlightening. Every story engages and enlightens the reader to implement the principle he’s explaining. I’ll refrain from going into his stories because I want you to read them, so you’ll know what I mean.
Perhaps it’s because he worked in ministry for his career, but I haven’t found many writers as optimistic as Maxwell. The 101 series pulls out how leaders need to lead others with positivity through empathy. That’s what I enjoy about this book.
What I didn’t like
He has a ton of step-by-step processes that make this book challenging to implement. Some of these lists go longer than seven or eight steps. After each section, I don’t always refer back to what I read because what he writes isn’t consistently relevant in my life.
I would like more depth in some sections. I should have expected that, seeing as Maxwell has written at length on these topics in other books. This one is a glimpse of his other writings and his leadership philosophy. I’m not too critical about it, but it is worth noting. If you’re looking for an overview of his ideas, then this is a perfect book for you.
Maxwell is a beautiful writer! He has written several books that have inspired so many people, me being one of them. Often, he’s at the forefront in the field of leadership. As I said before, this book has been a light in my life. He takes an ethical approach to leadership because of his work as a pastor, and I appreciated a different perspective than the typical business leadership approach. I took comfort in its inspired pages and felt uplifted by Maxwell’s positive outlook. It’s no wonder why he’s a leader amongst leaders in this world.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have. I still give it a solid 8/10. You can buy the book here.
Have you read this book? What do you think? Leave a comment down below. Thanks!