[ 0 ] May 22, 2014 |
B. P. Khanal

B. P. Khanal

Book Reviewed by BP Khanal


John C. Maxwell is one of the best-read authors among the corporate and Christian leadership sector and issues. He has earned a high reputation of being one of the best influencing personalities not only as author, but also as motivator, pastor, trainer, teacher, and so on. He has successfully authored dozens of most-read books. The majority of his books are written on ‘leadership’. He emphasizes on personal development and growth with the central emphasis of ‘leadership’. His thesis remains as to encourage the prospect readers to take initiative towards developing self from within. Any of his reader after reading some of his works can draw an observation that most of the books present repeatedly the same idea and even words and urges but in different flavor. In every book and the chapter within, he would keep addressing the similar issues of leadership.

Here, a brief review is made on the author’s book, The Winning Attitude. Pauline Publications published this 191 pages book in Mumbai, India in 2008 (ISBN: 81-7176-244-1). In this book, he discusses on the persons’ attitude, which ultimately determines whether the person succeeds or fails. And the soul purpose of this work is to highlight the truth that everyone in life should have attained the success and live in full. It is also intended that the readers would learn to grow with positive attitude and live a live of happiness. The primary readers are assumed to be the Christian individuals who love to live joyfully.

The author has designed the book into four sections. In every section he has discussed particular attitudes dividing them into separate topics. In first section he discusses on meaning and importance of attitudes to a person. In second section he discusses on how the positive attitudes can be constructed. Likewise, in the third section, he appeals the readers to be aware of their attitudes that could be crashed down. And finally in section four, he points four different areas or sources for construction of the good attitudes.


The author’s main thesis discussed in the book, here in this short paper, can briefly be reviewed chapter by chapter in the following paragraphs:

In the first section, John Maxell, according to what he realized during his pleasure ride with his friend, learns the importance of attitude of a person comparing it with the aircrafts. He acknowledges, “My attitude dictates my performance” (page 17). Searching for the meaning of an attitude (Chapter 2), he relates it to the person’s behavior, which is expressed in body language with inner feeling. Though for sometimes, it can be masked outwardly, but it determines whether a person is winning or loosing in his/her walk. Attitude is the root of what we bear as fruit. And he concludes that attitude for a person can be a best friend or worst enemy. He says, “Attitude is the librarian of our past, speaker of our present and the prophet of our future” (page 24).

In chapter three, the author states seven different axioms to explain the importance of attitude. We may have heard and overheard of these sayings in different context, and these are presented in such a way that they seems to be new. How do we take our lives, full of sorrow or full of joy? This depends of on our own attitude, because attitude determines our approach to action. Is someone willing to get rid of all problems? He or she must be willing to change his/her attitude first, because one may not be able to change the whole circumstances but for sure he or she can change his/her attitude. He takes from what is said to be the golden rule in the Bible, “Treat others as you want to be treated by others” (Matthew 7:12). This is all about the building and keeping relationship with others. There are many who have failed while having more than resources they need; yet in other hand, many have lived a victorious life without sufficient resources. Why is so? The author answers that it is because of right attitude a person fails of get success. People are not all the same but little different, and yet the little different color of attitude make them entirely different from each other. Putting this into any relationship context, it never ends at a divorce, if both in the relationship see this as another new sunny day! The saying comes to be true that you build a genuine friendship to many as you can and your friends would never let you die alone!

Again, the attitude develops worldview so a person would see things in distinctive way. Maxwell repeatedly suggests his readers to take side of positive attitude and then all will be well. One must start with positive sense of humor, the attitude, and everything will turn to success. Because, he says, “Our attitude at the beginning of a task will affect its outcome more than anything” (page 37). The most difficult and challenging task carried without grumble, and with the aim of its final outcome is the easiest it turns. This means that there is nothing hardest for a man who takes it as easy! Though the things seem to be uncommon, and one would be most criticized or made fun of that, if one has positive perspective, he/she is determined to the cause. And again, the author reminds his Christian readers that the good and positive attitude is not to be taken for granted. An excellent attitude does not come automatically because one is Christian! Maxwell has expounded two Bible passages (Philippians 2:3-8 & Luke 15:11-32) to exhort the Christian readers to apply the attitude of Christ and avoid applying the negative attitude of the ‘elder brother’ (Luke’s passage).

Chapter four tells the truth that what a man thinks and talks often that is he. It is because of our adaptability from environment, circumstance and companions. We learn from each other as a child learns from its parents. So as time passes, we grow like one who is most seen, dealt, loved or even fought with. Thus whether good or bad attitude, it can be transferred from generations to generations. The author highlights on five different principles, which must be considered as foundational truths in order to construct a good – positive attitude (chapter 5). These principles are: a) the truth learned in the early age will last until the person dies (Proverb 22:6); b) as the person grows the attitude also grows, it means that the learning never ceases; c) thus the attitude-growth should form on the solid ground; d) in this development, everyone needs a good teacher, who would teach the right things; and e) the fifth principles rightly concludes that no one achieves the absolute perfection, there is always room for growth. Consequently, in chapter 6, Maxwell raises question on considerable factors in the course of constructing good attitude. What a person behaves now is the result of what he/she was influenced the most in his/her past. This is the repeated truth that the frame shapes a brick. From the early realization of one’s personality; the environment; the words that are heard often; acceptance and affirmation by others; self-image, exposure to new relationship; etc. are influencing factors Maxwell lists in this chapter. But, in learning from own life-building course, one must not repeat the mistake in constructing attitude of the next generation to come. One of the terrible mistakes in sub-consciousness one would commit is that he/she forces a prediction on someone’s future.

In the third Section, John Maxwell highlights on truth that there are things, which would pull-down a person’s situation. Sickness, accident, natural calamity and even unwelcomed weather may bring painful experiences. Life is not always in one’s control. It has to experience all the good and bad days. But it is an attitude that accepts the day approaches as good or bad. The truth is that one cannot determine what comes afterwards. But one can still live joyfully if he/she has made decision to accept it as it is, even the worst day because the problem is considered bigger than itself by inner prospect – an attitude. The author exhorts that there comes a good day after every bad one. More to this the Christians are fortunate, because they have all the assurance of ‘Nothing will go wrong’ as long as they put their hope in Christ who already has delivered them from destruction! 

The author recites a truth that believing in the right to fail is equally the right to success. He exposes the fact of sufferings that an individual is prone to face in order to achieve the goal he/she has aimed for. But if one denies or ignores the immense chances of being failed the success would not be much valued for him/her. Fear of failure, dread of discouragement and struggles to overcome sins are the person’s enemies within. They constantly attempt to crash a person’s attitude. Similarly, the author identifies four external storms, which attack the person’s attitude. Becoming much concerned over criticism, problems and having opposing thoughts and actions toward changes will ultimately fail a man or woman in growing process.

Section four is about comfort and encouragement to the readers that they are already at the winning position. Because the truth is that one must be willing to change though it takes time and sometimes it would be harder to change. Who is a man today is what he made decision yesterday, and so will be tomorrow. The reinforcement has been made in this section is that there are possibilities to change the attitude from bad to good. Good choice makes a man or woman happier. Above all, for the Christian readers, the author re-emphasizes to seek God for everything. Depending on God’s word, in prayer and in the Holy Spirit is what must be searched for Christian life. Thus final suggestion he makes for his readers that they should lean upon the real source of guidance for right Christian living.


John C. Maxwell proves to be the best guidance for all who are willing to live a life of positive, effective and worthy results. His book, “The Winning Attitude” is one of his “must read” books. This book suggests, reinforces and urges the (Christian) readers to be open up for a teachable spirit. This book should be highly recommended that anyone who is willing to be successful, winner and cheerful in life, this should be the personal guide to him or her.


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