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26 June 2015

Book Review: How Successful People Think: Author: John C Maxwell

John Maxwell is a leading author of series of books on leadership. He has written the books including 'The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership', 'Developing the leader within you' and '21 indispensable qualities of a leader'.

In the book 'How successful people think', Mr.Maxwell points out a set of specific though patterns that successful people follow. Author argues that their success is an outcome of these thought patterns. The important patterns identified by Mr.Maxwell are.
In the introduction to the book, Maxwell provide three reasons why we should change the way we think.
  1. Changed thinking is not automatic. One has to put sufficient and consistent effort to ensure that one gets into the habit of thinking like a successful person
  2. Changing the thinking is difficult. One has to put specific and focused effort at thinking effectively
  3. Changed chinking is worth the effort. While other sources of wealth dry out, the ability to successful thinking is like an 'Akshayapatra' that never dry out.
Regarding the practical aspects of success thinking, Maxwell provide the following practical guidelines.
  1. Expose oneself to good inputs. Reading good books & book reviews and talking to good thinkers are sources of good inputs. It is important to keep a good idea in focus. One way to do this is to keep the idea in writing and keep it somewhere where it can continuously stimulate the thinking.
  2. Expose oneself to good thinkers. Try to find people who can challenge and stimulate our thinking process. Sharp people sharpen one another.
  3. Choose to think good thoughts. To cultivate good thinking one should have the right place to think, shape, stretch and land our thoughts. It may be a good idea to have a 'Thinking Schedule', a specific time during the week when one leaves everything and focus on good thinking. 
  4. Act on our good thoughts. Ideas have a short life span (especially good ideas). So it is very important to get into the 'Action Habit' and act on the good ideas that can make one successful.
  5. Act our way to good thoughts. Do not wait for feelings / emotion to initiate good thoughts. Start by specifically starting the thinking process. Once we start the process, it will generate feelings and emotions that will create further additional thoughts and ideas.
  6. Repeat the process. The thinking process have to be continuously repeated for it to be successful.
To become a good thinker, one has to do the following.
  1. Find a place to think our thoughts: 
    • Identify a good solitary place where we can go and generate good ideas. Keep notepad and pen ready so that one can capture the thoughts.
  2. Find a place to shape our thoughts
    • Good ideas need to be polished before they become actionable
    • The thoughts have to stand the test of clarity and questioning
    • Put our thoughts in writing. 'Learning to write is learning to think'. We don't know anything clearly unless we can state it in writing.
    • The shaping time embodies humour, humility, excitement, creativity, fulfillment, honesty, passion and change.
    • In the place that we shape the ideas, we must be able to:
      • Write things down
      • Focus without interruption
      • Ask question of our ideas.
  3. Find a place to stretch our thoughts
    • Discuss the ideas with friends to cover the missing points.
  4. Find a place to land our thoughts.
    • The ideas has to have an application.
    • Lead our ideas first with:
      • Oneself: Believe in the idea. If we don't believe it, no one will.
      • Key players: Identify the influencers who can take an idea to implementation. 
      • Those most affected: Those closest to changes that occur as a result of our idea can give us a 'Reality Read'.
  5. Find a place to fly our ideas
    • A person should 'Think like a man of action and act like a person of thought'
    • Once we have created, shaped, stretched and landed our thoughts flying can be easy.
The remaining chapters of the book focus on each of the thinking patterns that were discussed previously. Each chapter is divided essentially into three parts, one a brief about the specific thinking pattern, two, the benefits of following the pattern and three, how one can follow the pattern, the what, why and how of each pattern.

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