Learning from the Giants: Life and Leadership Lessons from the Bible
John Maxwell is a nationally known motivational speaker and author whose books have sold over 24 million copies. He is the founder of The John Maxwell Company, The John Maxwell Team, and EQUIP, a nonprofit organization that has trained more than five million leaders in 180 countries. In his newest book, Maxwell has designed a simple yet profound compact-sized primer for those in leadership (or those who aspire to lead) who would love to sit at the feet of the leadership giants from the Bible.
"One of the strongest elements of Maxwell’s text is that it doesn’t simply sugarcoat each biblical leader and only highlight his or her strong points. Rather, he allows readers to see their weaknesses as well and then gives evidence about how God used each person despite their character flaws."
Maxwell has chosen these biblical characters to highlight their brief history and accomplishments: Elijah, Elisha, Job, Jacob, Deborah, Isaiah, Jonah, Joshua and Daniel. He begins the book by opening the door to his study where he has three chairs --- one for himself, one for the reader, and one for the leader/hero who walks through his door to sit down for a chat and mentor for a while. In each chapter, Maxwell highlights the leadership scenario for which each biblical character is most well-known and then offers life lessons, a prayer from the leader to the reader, and leadership lessons, followed by a discussion guide that includes questions for the readers and suggested scripture readings.
Since each leader on which Maxwell focuses has unique gifts and talents that make him or her particularly suited for the role that God gave them, he points out and capitalizes on these various strengths.
- Elijah: God loves you on your bad days.
- Elisha: Give your best wherever God puts you.
- Job: God sees the big picture.
- Jacob: Let God have control of your life.
- Deborah: God specializes in the unexpected.
- Isaiah: God has a reason for our encounter with Him.
- Jonah: God always gives us a second chance.
- Joshua: God is greater than your greatest challenges.
- Daniel: Have a purpose bigger than yourself.
One of the strongest elements of Maxwell’s text is that it doesn’t simply sugarcoat each biblical leader and only highlight his or her strong points. Rather, he allows readers to see their weaknesses as well and then gives evidence about how God used each person despite their character flaws. Readers will appreciate this insider’s look into each leader’s life and find especially helpful the section in each chapter where Maxwell offers them the leadership lessons these characters learned through their lives. He doesn’t shy away from some of real life’s most challenging enemies of developing into a strong leader. Instead, he places them front and center and then dismantles each one by teaching would-be leaders how to overcome obstacles in their own lives and work.
Of course, no Maxwell leadership book would be complete without at least a smattering of his distinctive personal style that get readers smiling, laughing and chortling along with him. There is good reason why America loves John Maxwell so much. He’s utterly transparent and aims to encourage and inspire everyone with whom he comes into contact, whether that’s in person, through the radio, or via the written word. And he succeeds.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on November 23, 2014