If you are an avid book reader like I am, you might have written a book review or two in your lifetime. In my opinion, book reviews are beneficial not just to the person that is reading the review, but also beneficial (possibly more) to the person writing the review. In order to write a review you have to have spent some time processing the information you just read and if you are like me, determining how to apply any lessons learned or how to use the information for later on in life.
I don’t spend much time browsing the fiction shelves and focus most, if not all of my reading time, on non-fiction. Mostly business, politics and leadership books that I either stumble across or have been recommended through my network of friends. This is another reason why I find writing book reviews so beneficial… it helps to aid in the retention of the material and if you are reading for more than just entertainment and enjoyment and have an intention to become more well informed about a wide range of topics, writing the occasional review can help with that. My intention in writing these reviews is to clear more about a specific topic but to also help pass along the relevant and interesting parts of the book to others.
With that being said, here is a review of one of the books I found to be both well written and memorable – Make Today Count by John C. Maxwell.
Make Today Count – John C. Maxwell
Recently, I came across a book that was hidden on my bookshelf and for some reason it piqued my interest enough to pick it up and read it within a day or two. Sometimes, it just works out that you are drawn to the right book at the right time and you benefit so much more from it because you are in the right frame of mind to learn from it.
One of the statements that John Maxwell makes is that if he came over to your house or office and spent a day with you, based upon your daily habits and what you focused your efforts on he could tell you how successful you are. I found this to be an interesting statement and spent the next few days spending more time tracking what I did with my time each day and how I prioritized my life. What was I focusing my time on? Where was I focusing my efforts? How much of my day was I wasting with checking my social media account or dealing with non consequential activities?
This is one of the main takeaways from the book – You get what you focus on… without a focus… you end up with just that.. “without a focus”.
As part of the teachings that Maxwell lays out in the book he has 12 daily practices that he abides by to give each day a focus and helps keep himself balanced and focused on the right priorities. While reviewing this list I had a few issues with the numbering of some of the daily practices.. such as why is Faith #8 and #5 Thinking and #6 Commitment higher up on the list? I didn’t let this trip me up too much but what I did reflect on for some time and try to put into practice over the past few days is focusing on #1 – #4 as I found this to be areas I needed to work on and areas that I would gain the most from personally at this moment.
The Twelve Daily Practices
- Attitude: Choose and display the right attitude daily.
- Priorities: Determine and act on important priorities daily.
- Health: Know and follow healthy guidelines daily.
- Family: Communicate with and care for my family daily.
- Thinking: Practice and develop good thinking daily.
- Commitment: Make and keep proper commitments daily.
- Finances: Make and properly manage dollars daily.
- Faith: Deepen and live out my faith daily.
- Relationships: Initiate and invest in solid relationships daily.
- Generosity: Plan for and model generosity daily.
- Values: Embrace and practice good daily values.
- Growth: Seek and experience improvements daily.
After you read through this list, try to remember all 12 Daily Practices. Were you able to do it? No… don’t worry… I wasn’t either and I found that to be another issue I had with the book. Having twelve things to focus on every day seems like a little much unless you have it written down and in front of you until those practices become habits. Again, that’s one reason why I am writing this review.. so I can try to have better retention and put into practice these things that I am reading about. To further help with the retention and memorization of the 12 daily practices I took a picture with my phone and refer back to it a few times a day to make sure I am staying on task and focused on the right things.
Plain Spoken Story Telling
I’m not a huge fan of the phrase “story telling” but I have come to believe that the best way to reach someone and to leave an impact is not by telling them statistics and numbers but by telling them a story that they can relate to and take to heart. John Maxwell is a master story teller and reminds me a little bit of Brian Tracy with his southern / country charm and backwoods wit. His stories certainly fall into the plain spoken category and his stories are not just easy to follow but easy to remember.
This book is a really easy read and if you are like me, will want to pass it along to someone else to read. I’m passing on my copy to a college friend of mine and I hope she gets as much out of it as I did.
Don’t forget, without having a focus and priorities for each day you are sure to go blindly through each day and life not living up to your full potential. If you don’t believe me I’ll send John Maxwell over to your house or office to see how you organize your priorities and focus.
If you have any book recommendations for me… please leave them in the comments area and I will get them added to the reading list.