While the media likes to portray success as effortless, the reality is far different. Blood, sweat, and tears often accompany accomplishment.
Dr. Maxwell does two unexpected things in this book that make it a valuable contribution to the success literature:
1. He points out that you may not know what your areas of greatest talent are and provides way to check out your thinking.
2. He provides many examples that powerfully reinforce the point that it's hard to succeed without talent . . . or without developing a potential talent. The negative examples are very telling and powerful.
He also does one expected thing that's very helpful: He encourages you to test your thinking with those who know you well. It's hard to see yourself objectively so that's very good advice.
Once you have focused in on an area where you have potential to develop talent, he offers 13 principles to emphasize which I have rephrased below:
1. Believe you will succeed.
2. Pursue your passions with your talent.
3. Take action rather than wait for the right moment.
4. Be focused.
5. Continually practice and improve.
6. Be prepared for the challenge before using your talent.
7. Never give up.
8. Build and rely on courage in facing challenges.
9. Be open to suggestions.
10. Honor what's right.
11. Build relationships with those you love, those you want to serve, and those whose help you need.
12. Be responsible in employing your talent.
13. Be a good team player.
The most useful parts of the book come in the application exercises that accompany each of the 13 points. If you didn't read the book but did those exercises, you would gain most of the benefit of this book. So do those exercises!
Bravo, Dr. Maxwell.