My small leather copy of this book was published in South Africa by Struik Christian Gifts, so I’m not sure how closely it mirrors that published in the USA. I think this particular point matters, because while the text of the book is fantastic—a plethora of quotations and anecdotes touching on a number of positive leadership qualities—the photographs that go along with my copy of the text are silly, because they have nothing to do with the information being shared! A guy jet-skiing in a chapter on character; a girl taking a picture while scuba-diving in a chapter on self-discipline; a dude looking into the sunset in a chapter on courage; a guy mountain-climbing in a chapter on servanthood—whoever designed the layout for this book appears to be more fond of extreme sports than of reading, which it too bad, because otherwise the design and choice of material was grand!
Aesthetics aside, I really did enjoy the material in this book, laid out in twelve, very short collections of quotations and stories which describe how growth for all of us in all areas is nothing more than a choice we have to make. Beyond the four areas mentioned above, Maxwell also discusses these other 14 as “___ is/are a Choice”: attitude, values, commitment, teachability, initiative, passion, responsibility, growth, relationships, communication, encouragement, and love.
Maxwell quotes a number of authors, philosophers, and athletes from all backgrounds and walks of life, though of course he “quotes” himself more often than he anyone else. After reading his own words up against those of the great thinkers of history, I found his own style to be rather corny, but he can be forgiven this fault, because what he has to say is far more important than how precisely he says it. I do wish, however, that he would have fit more Bible into this piece. While this pastor rightly delivers everything through a Christian and biblical worldview, not once does he quote Jesus Christ! And as far I could tell, he uses only one Bible verse throughout all sixteen chapters! One would figure that Christians are his target audience, so what would be his reasoning for veering away from the only words that truly matter?
This is a helpful little gift book that would be great for high school or college grads or perhaps some newlyweds or new parents. It’s not by any means a devotional book, however, so don’t go into this thinking that you’re going to have your quiet time with the Lord because of it. This is human wisdom only: wise of course, yet with its limitations.