Change your thinking. Change your life

The title of this book employs a clever play on words to make a simple proposition: the quality of our thinking leads to the quality of our results. If we think differently, the results will be different, too.

“Strategic thinking is the bridge that links where you are to where you want to be.”

Leadership coach John Maxwell opens his book connecting the dots between how we think and the levels of our success we achieve. He’s convincing when he says that that successful people think very differently than unsuccessful people. Becoming a good thinker isn’t complicated, he assures, but it is a discipline. Like any discipline, it can be cultivated and refined.  He then turns premise into principle with 11 practical thinking skills that facilitate change, productivity, and innovation.

“Reflective thinking turns experience into insight.”

First and foremost this is a how-to manual, a get-your-hands-dirty workbook. The largest section of the book is devoted to sharing and teaching hands-on (mind-on?) thinking skills. I find myself revisiting this section again and again. He advises we set aside time in every day to step back and notice what we’re asking and learning. The exercises in this book provide structure to those thinking sessions. But I also find myself reaching for the book throughout the week when faced with a vexing or challenging question.

Maxwell is right. We can think to change our lives. He shows why and, most importantly, how.

From the book:

What are you currently doing that is not strategic for you? You may be spending more hours than you should working in areas of weakness. Take some time to create an inventory of your personal strengths and then match it against your calendar and to-do list. If your talents and resources don’t match up with you activities, then you need to dedicate some strategic thinking time to figure out how to make a transition. 


No matter what you are currently able to do, creativity can make you capable of more.


Get your calendar and figure out how to schedule thinking time. Pick your best place and your most productive time of day for your focused thinking time. Then put it on your calendar and treat it as you would any important appointment.


A belief is not just an idea that you possess; it’s an idea that possesses you.


There is no life as empty as the self-centered life. There is no life as centered as the self-empty life.


We tend to think of great thinkers and innovators as soloists, but the truth is that greatest innovative thinking doesn’t occur in a vacuum.

Thinking for a Change:
11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work
John C. Maxwell
Center Street
2005, 288 pages

Available from Amazon.


  1. […] The quality of our thinking leads to the quality of our results. If we think differently the results will be different, too. A practical hands-on workbook. Book Review: Thinking for a Change by John C. Maxwell. […]

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