Book Review- John Maxwell Developing The Leader Within You

Hi there. Welcome to my book review of John Maxwell's, Developing the Leader Within You.

I have a confession to make. I am someone who has a hard time following through with 'self-help' books. Especially if these books ask of you to do certain tasks or assignments.

Usually when I come across those parts within the book, I skip them. In other words, I become a more 'passive reader' than an 'active one.' Has this ever happened to you?

Surprisingly, my experience with having read 'Developing The Leader Within You,' was a completely different one. I found myself actively engaging with the book. To say that the book offered valuable, practical and insightful advice on becoming a leader, is an understatement.

The book is a treasure. Let me tell you more about it.


Everyone leads someone else. At the same time that person is been led by someone. This book teaches people all the leadership principles. You must supply the desire-John C Maxwell


John has been teaching people on how to become a leader, for over twenty years. Apart from the books, he has developed training workshops and has conducted seminars all over the world, to help people.

Developing The Leader Within You Book Review

The mere fact that this title has sold over 1 million copies, speaks for itself.


The book is divided into 10 chapters. Each chapter talks about nurturing a specific leadership quality.

The chapters are written in such a way that one can choose to read about any quality, without having to read the previous chapters or even from the very start for that matter.

I decided to read the book in its entirety and in chronological order.

This is the breakdown of the chapters.

  • CHAPTER ONE: The Definition Of Leadership - INFLUENCE
  • CHAPTER TWO: The Key To Leadership - PRIORITIES
  • CHAPTER THREE: The Most Important Ingredient Of Leadership - INTEGRITY
  • CHAPTER FOUR : The Ultimate Test of Leadership : CREATING POSITIVE CHANGE
  • CHAPTER FIVE: The Quickest Way to Gain Leadership : PROBLEM SOLVING
  • CHAPTER SIX: The Extra Plus in Leadership : ATTITUDE
  • CHAPTER SEVEN: Developing Your Most Appreciable Asset : PEOPLE
  • CHAPTER EIGHT : The Indispensable Quality of Leadership : VISION
  • CHAPTER NINE : The Price-Tag of Leadership - SELF-DISCIPLINE
  • CHAPTER TEN: The Most Important Lesson Of Leadership : STAFF DEVELOPMENT

John loves using poetry snippets, quotes by famous people, case studies and stories to illustrate his points of leadership. This is what made the book really fun to read. 

By incorporating these aspects into his writing, it did not make it feel like you were reading one monotonous piece. I think that Leadership is a pretty complex subject and John does an awesome job of making the content easy and exciting to read.


Each chapter was filled with so many cool quotes, stories and lessons. I found that by reading them at one go, was not going to do much justice to the book.

So, I decided to read all the chapters twice. In fact with some of them, I made it a point to read it every single day. I believe that the more I read on how to become an effective leader and carry out the tasks at hand, the more it will become a part of me.

Developing the Leader within you BY John Maxwell

I felt like I was back in school. I ended up making summaries of each chapter as I read them the second time around. 

As far as the tasks are concerned, they were not bad at all. For instance at one time, you will be asked who the key influences in your life are.

The tasks help you to work practically on yourself. I recall at a certain point, I had to decide, which level am I weak in, in terms of being an effective leader.

Then John does what he does best, he helps you to work on these levels to better develop yourself.



In my opinion this book is tailored for anyone who wants to learn to become a better leader. Whether you are a 'one man' organization that wants to build a list of followers or whether you are part of an organization and want to empower your work force, this book is truly insightful and helpful.

There are self-evaluation tasks that one can do within their organization in order to bring about a positive change.

Without giving away too much, chapter two, on priorities, gets you to work on what your REQUIREMENTS/RETURNS/REWARDS are. Then one must determine what to eliminate, in other words, "What am I doing that can be done by someone else?"

Then to estimate, "What are the top projects that you are doing and how long will it take?"

This helps to give one a bird's eye view on the current status of the business and what a leader needs to do, to improve things. 

Another chapter that I think will help a leader on the organization level, is the last chapter. That is of "Staff Development". Apart from learning what kind of person you need for the job, and how to pick good people, John also walks you through on how to deal with 'unproductive staff.'

He talks about the technicalities involved when one needs to discipline these staff members, and if they do not co-operate, what the last straw is, which is 'firing them'.

There is a popular quote that he uses by Bobb Biehl,

When you appropriately fire a person from a position in which he is failing, you are actually releasing him from that failure-and freeing him to seek a position in which he can find success.


There are chapters that 'stood out' for me, like the one on attitude. 

As I progressed through the book, it helped me to think of the different directions that I can take, to grow my business. 

The book inspired me by showing me how the great minds and achievers of our time made their problems a stepping-stone to success. Whilst problems never stop, I learned that its the person(s) themselves, who can stop these problems.

This is how these great men and women have become great leaders. 

To be a great leader I learned, that our job is not to solve people's problems, but to help people solve their problems

See the difference?

This book does a fantastic job of helping you to become a leader. The final destination of an effective and successful leader is not to gain followers, but to help your followers to personally grow as a result of your mentorship.

Success without a successor is a failure.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to build a lasting and solid business foundation for years to come. 

As Walt Emerson said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Allow the true leader within you to emerge. Give this book a shot.


I hope that you enjoyed my book review of John C Maxwell's, Developing The Leader Within You.

Have you tried other leadership books before? If you have this read this book, I would love to hear how it has helped you out.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards and Take Care


4 thoughts on “Book Review- John Maxwell Developing The Leader Within You”

  1. Hi there!

    I would never know that this book exist. I love the topic since my previous work involved leadership, I will definitely check it out.

    You know how there are many books out there and you just lost track. Thank you for breaking it down by chapters so I know what to expect when I read the book

    I love the quote “When you appropriately fire a person from a position in which he is failing, you are actually releasing him from that failure-and freeing him to seek a position in which he can find success.” Now I can let go of someone with out feeling bad because it is a win win for everyone.

    Will read the book, thanks for the reviews!


  2. I would love to read this book but I am a mobile person. I may not have the time to read it all at one go and I wish there is an ebook version so I can casually open with my tablet on the go. I see this book can be an interesting read because I will be promoted into a team leader job soon. If there is no ebook version available, I guess I will just keep it in my bag wherever I go.

    • Hey there. Congratulations on the promotion. Wish you the best of everything.I will check for you if there is an ebook version available.

      As soon as I find out, I will let you know.




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