The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell


“Start leading NOW… right where you are.”

In his nearly thirty years of teaching leadership, John Maxwell has encountered this question again and again: How do I apply leadership principles if I’m not the boss? In The 360 Degree Leader Workbook, Maxwell addresses that very question and takes the discussion even further. You don’t have to be the main leader, asserts Maxwell, to make significant impact in your organization. Good leaders are not only capable of leading their followers but are also adept at leading their superiors and their peers.

Debunking myths and shedding light on the challenges, John Maxwell offers specific principles for Leading Down, Leading Up, and Leading Across. 360-Degree Leaders can lead effectively, regardless of their position in an organization. By applying Maxwell’s principles, you will expand your influence and ultimately be a more valuable team member.

Personal Thoughts:

I read most of John Maxwell books when I’m still in college, a time when my TBR pile is mostly consist of self-help and inspirational titles. Now that I mostly read fictions beyond my required reads for work, it gives me a sense of longing and familiarity to go back reading self-help book, particularly one from John Maxwell.

The 360 Degree Leader is a typical John Maxwell book. And when I say typical it consist of what I’ve known to discover every time I read his works — they are inspiring, useful, insightful, implementable and collect-able. Just like his other works that I’ve read 360 Degree Leader is a motivational piece of work. The book tells you how to be a leader regardless of what position you handle in the organizations. It emphasize that being a leader doesn’t necessarily need that you are on top, that you can show your leadership skills no matter what positions you lead.

Just like his other works, John Maxwell successfully deliver his messages and knowledge in a straight forward and down to earth style. All his ideas and principles are presented in an easy to understand way. He doesn’t sound preachy which makes this book easy to read and much absorb-able.

There are lots of principles and ideas presented in this book and most of them are true and useful. I can’t discuss all of those principles in here because that would take more than a book review. But I can share to you some of his principles that really stick in mind.

“Leadership is a choice you make, not a place you sit.” 

Maxwell shows a full 360 degree of leadership by leading up, leading across and leading down. According to him leadership is not a place we sit, same us leadership is not a goal we need to achieve but something we need to exercise in our everyday work. While the book mostly focuses on the middle management where potential leaders where usually developed, it also explains how leading doesn’t require a specific place or position. It all starts from learning how to lead our ourselves first. From there we can expand in leading people around us. People above us, below us and across us.

Another thing he discuss is the value of being a team player. Part of being a leader is being part of a team. And in order to be a good leader, we need to be a team player first. You can’t lead if you don’t have a followers and you won’t get a followers if you don’t know how to follow at the first place. It’s not all about commanding. It’s all about being part of a team. You need to understand the value of working with others, accepting input and ideas from others or in short be a team player.

Also, Leadership doesn’t depend on your rank or position, it doesn’t depend on your salary, social status or title it is all about influence. Influence resulted from your talents and skills to lead. Those innate qualities which you have been carefully developed, nourished and shared.

“People don’t leave their company – they leave their leader.” 

Overall, this book is all about leadership. It tries to explain what makes a good leader and how to be one. It aims to inject some useful principles to create a good leader in any part of the organization. And it shows the value of true leadership, because just like in any organization leaders are one of the key factors of the organization. If an organization doesn’t have a good leader tendecy is, followers and everyone around isn’t performing their best too.

The 360 Degree Leader is a book that will challenge you to be a leader whatever position you held in the organization. It encourage you to bring change and leave an impact even you are not on top. Because wherever where you are, you can be a leader. You can lead at all levels of an organization.

* This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Thomas Nelson via in exchange of honest review.

The Art Of War For Women by Chin-Ning Chu

“The Art of War is…about how you deal with the cards that life has dealt you – it is a holistic approach to winning.”

Sun Tzu‘s Art Of War is one rare book that never fails to teach me something every time I read it. So when I saw the book “The Art Of War For Wowen” from Ate Beb’s house few weeks ago, I can’t help myself but ask her to lend it to me, even if I already got file of books at home that I need to read. I’ve seen lots of translations of the original Art Of War in the bookstores. There are many books that uses this approach to many non-military areas such as The Art of War for Executives, The Art of War for Managers and The Art of War for Business. I never read any translations other than the original until now. Chin-Ning Chu‘s Art Of War for Women leads me back to the original Art Of War except that it concentrate more on applying the strategies in a womanly approach. It discuss how women climb the business world and the challengers we usually encounters.

Honestly, I wasn’t fully aware how women are treated differently in business world. I never experienced it personally nor entertain the idea. For me, everyone is the same, no gender, race or color can distinguish one from another in corporate world. It’s all about skills, talents and knowledge. At least thats what I believe before reading this book. I only knew a little about office politics, I’ve seen a few sometimes but I never consider myself involve in any of those issues. This book offers a number of examples of women who claimed they were helpless, mistreated, and unfairly turned down for promotions and career advancement. But sometimes these women had actually sabotaged their own chances.

This book encourages women to be honest with themselves. What makes us happy? What do we want out of life? What are our strengths and weaknesses? There are no right or wrong answers. Like Sun Tzu’s Art of War this book doesn’t offer specific answer. It is all about strategy. An art in which all of the factors are interrelated and every situation is so unique.

One part of the book that I like is the analogy between the glass slippers and combat boots. Some women want glass slippers. Their perfect world includes prince charming, a castle and princess life. Some women want combat boots. They want to enter the battle and conquer the business world. Each option is fine and good. But sometimes women tried to wear glass slippers with military clothes or coordinate combat boots with a ball gown. That’s where the conflict is. Neither of the two situation works. Because deep down, we’re not being honest with what makes us happy. The question is “What kind of shoes do we want to wear: combat boots or glass slippers?

“We still have that Cinderella syndrome, and have a glass slipper somewhere in our heart.
We’re all waiting around for our Prince Charming to rescue us from the workplace. Certainly, this attitude is not for the battlefield of business. In business, you need a combat boot mentally.”

Climbing the ladder of success in stilettos is not as easy as it sounds and this book is a simple guide for women who wants to make it on top. There’s a lot of practical ideas and relevant advice that will surely worth every women’s time.

One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard

I got this habit of listening to audio book while travelling or waiting in line. Most of the audio books I got are self-help books that are light and easy to finished. The last audio book I’ve finished is Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson’s The One Minute Manager.

The book discussed three things:

  • One Minute Goal Setting
  • One Minute Praisings and
  • One Minute Reprimands

I particularly liked the section about the One Minute Reprimand. It reminds me some clear and simple approach in managing others. It emphasizes that you can be strict and firm with people, but also let them know that you still think they are a valuable part of the team. The concept of reprimanding others is you do not target the people, you target their behavior. One Minute Goal Setting explains the importance of setting clear goals. One Minute Praising is helping people reach their full potential by catching them doing something right and encouraging them to do more of the same.
This book is recommended for anyone who wants to be a good leader and for anyone who wants to know how to treat others well in the workplace and in life.

Quotes from the book:

“People who feel good about themselves produce good results.”

“Help people reach their full potential; Catch them doing something right. “

“The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people. “ “Everyone is a potential winner. Some people are disguised as losers, don’t let appearances fool you.”

“We are not just our behavior; we are the person managing our behavior.”

“Goals Begin Behaviors, Consequences Maintain Behaviors.”