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on October 25, 2011
I have to admit... after reading multiple John Maxwell books they all started sounding the same. I read the 21 laws of leadership so many times and every other one of his books seemed to be a watered down version of this book. So I skipped buying this 5 Levels of Leadership hardcover when it came out, despite being on his email list. Then a good friend called me (who had purchased the book) and convinced me to buy it. I'm so glad he did!!!! This book specifically takes you through a checklist of how to increase leadership on an individual basis. I learned so much from this and my eyes were opened about my own relationships and how people view me. WOW so so so glad I bought this book (ordered through Amazon for my kindle and only paid like 12 dollars). I can't speak highly enough about this book. You should buy it.
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on June 5, 2012
I will start by saying this is a wonderful leadership book! I have read a lot of Maxwell and sometimes I get the sense he is recycling information. Well, for this book he had been saving up. The content was mostly new material laid out in a simple way. I found Maxwell's theory about there being five leadership levels quite solid and he does a great job of explaining them. That being said, I do have quite a few critiques of the book. Though I will list these concerns below, I still recommend the book to every leader.

If you know Maxwell at all, you know he has not shortage of confidence. As is usual, that comes across in this writing but can at times seem arrogant. He has almost nothing good to say about levels 1 and 2 (position and relationship), perhaps because he sees himself so far removed from those levels. This could be deflating to new leaders who will naturally start at level one. Maxwell can make it sounds as though you're insignificant until you reach the upper levels of leadership.

Then, once he gets into describing the upper levels of leadership, he has almost nothing bad to say about them. This is obviously where Maxwell sees himself as he shares most of his stories in these last sections of the book, so he may look past the negatives to these levels. The outline of the book is to explain a level of leadership, discuss the benefits to that level, list the negatives of that level, and then talk about how to reach the next level. With the upper levels I felt he was shorting on the negatives, only coming up with a few weak possible downsides to the levels he feels are most important. Perhaps to match the flow of the book he lists a few weaknesses but they are mostly hypothetical for levels 3 and 4. One of these is the production level, yet Maxwell never deals with the negative of time demand, always being called in or asked to work over, or being flooded with too many tasks. Level 4 would have been a great place to discuss burn out or the struggle to start all over with new members on your team. Maxwell fails to include these (or any solid negatives) as he seems to see these highest levels of leadership as the holy ground.

Maxwell does not take into account that not everyone has his personality. Maxwell is very extroverted and charismatic. This makes much of what he suggests natural for him, I just wish he would have taken the time to walk slower through the material that may not come so easy for those different than he.

Finally, I found myself a little annoyed when Maxwell insisted on leadership rules that are difficult to impossible for many leaders. Maxwell has only worked in the nonprofit world. At least that where many of his stories come from. Of course he can devote 80% of his time to people. That's his job! He has no product to produce. In insensitive to just assume everyone should be able to do their leadership role the way you do when the industries may be very different.

Taking all that into account, the material was still very solid.

Maxwell explains well that the height of leadership is to develop and lead leaders, not followers.

Buy this book!
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on October 4, 2011
Lead U2 singer Bono writes the same song with a thousand different nuances and it gets better every time.

Best-selling author John C. Maxwell wrote the same book with a thousand different nuances and it too just got better.

Besides Maxwell's book reaching a whole new level, it might help you jump to your next level of leadership. As the world's #1 Leadership Guru, John brings you his best: stories, humor, truth, experience, and practical application.

In this book you'll learn the 5 levels of leadership:

1. Position--People follow because they have to.

2. Permission--People follow because they want to.

3. Production--People follow because of what you have done for the organization.

4. People Development--People follow because of what you have done for them personally.

5. Pinnacle--People follow because of who you are and what you represent.

More importantly, you'll face your own leadership gaps and the choice of jumping to your next level. In the words of Maxwell: "everything rises and falls on leadership: - including whether or not you reach your next level.
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on October 28, 2011
I've technically been in a leadership role with various organizations for 20+ years. I've read countless books on leadership. This one ties everything together into one neat book. I've given 5 levels out as gifts to our Board of Directors, colleagues and community leaders.
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on October 20, 2011
I have read many of John Maxwell's books, such as "Thinking for a Change" and "Today Matters", as well as "The 21 Indespensible Laws of Leadership". This book is full of great leadership principles as the others are.

Maxwell begins by talking about the level of position. Just because you have a position doesn't make you a leader.

The second level is permission. People give you permission to lead them when you develop relationships with them. "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

The third level is production. When you become productive, people respect you and follow you. Good leaders are good models.

The fourth level is people development. This is where a leader produces other leaders.

The fifth level is pinnacle. This is where you produce leaders who produce leaders.

Many of the concepts are repetitive if you have read other of Maxwell's books. John believes that "repetition is the mother of all learning"

I am one of his fans - I love his simplicity and style of writing. As a pastor, I can implement many of these principles in leading the people of our church. I think any pastor would benefit from this book, as well as any leader of any ministry or corporation.

The book closes with showing how John Wooden, coach of UCLA, was a level 5 leader. I enjoyed that part of the book very much, as I have always admired Coach Wooden.
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on December 31, 2014
"The 5 Levels of Leadership" by John C. Maxwell is a distinct disappointment considering the thirty plus books written by this author, his worldwide reputation, and the fact that there is very little meaningful leadership insight that will help a reader seeking to improve his or her supervisory effectiveness. As this highly repetitious, cliché ridden, wandering text, completely omits anything on improving one's motivational skills or how to get from point "A" to point "B." A lot about "what" leaders should do or what good leadership looks like (by the author's definition) but very short on "how" to become a good leader. The author's premises are also emotionally biased, unacceptably vague, very simplistic, poorly reasoned, and unsupported by collaborating studies, science, or even credible examples. Such problems all stemming from the fact that his personal leadership experience is far too narrow to properly draw the conclusions he does, and as a result skews his idea of how things actually work, while demonstrating little depth or understanding of how successful leaders inspire others to follow. "The 5 Levels" is certainly not as profound as it is presented to be, with 100s of such trite statements as: "If you can develop solid relationships with people and you can produce, you can be an effective leader" (p 139); "When leaders produce, so do their people. Productive leaders thrive on results—from themselves and the team. They show the way and others follow" (p 140); "When well-led organizations sustain high morale and high productivity over time, they gain momentum, which is the leader's best friend" (p 142); "Progress always requires change" (p 162) leaving the mind-numb reader torn between finishing it first before sending it to the landfill or just sending it to the landfill. The author also has an annoying penchant for inventing new words or for finding new meanings for old ones, which only adds to the general confusion. While it is incredibly hard to imagine at what hierarchical or proficiency level someone would have to be to benefit from this conceptual mishmash. On the up side, it is mercifully short and fast reading.
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on October 16, 2015
Great insight to how leaders "not managers" should think and act! Weve all had those bosses we hated working for, well here's your chance to learn how to LEAD. It doesn't matter if you're the boss, you can lead from any position in your organization. Its all about mindset and influence. If you influence people they will follow!
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on October 28, 2011
This book has taught me so much already! I'm ready to read it again! John has a simple, straight forword, common sense writing style that's easy to understand and take away nuggets of knowledge. I will definitely be a better leader at my place of work and at home.
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on February 2, 2016
This is a fabulous book on leadership by a master of the craft.

The book encompasses Maxwell's lessons over the past thirty years, and it does it with many stories and a conversational tone that is easy to approach and keeps the reader engaged.

I highly recommend this book!
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on October 28, 2011
John C. Maxwell has always provided me with great information in all of his books, CD's and DVD's. Maxwell has helped me help so many others become better leaders through his material.

That said, if you value leadership and to be a better leader, then buy this book. Id you know someone who wants to be a leader, buy this book for that person. If you know someone that fancies themselves a leader, but hasn't a clue, buy them this book.

Quite frankly, you could tear page 6 out of the book and toss the rest away and you will be better off then you where. But don't do that. Each chapter gives you robust information, examples and sound advice to help you rise through the levels of leadership.

Finally, when you get to chapter five, it will be the fifth course of a five course meal. It will be the dessert that you will want to savor. Not only will you want to become a Level Five leader, but you will only want to work with and associate yourself with these pinnacle leaders.

Everything rises and falls on leadership. That is a phrase of Maxwell's I repeat again and again. This week alone I have given away four copies of this book. One to the general manager of my company, one to a college president, one to a business owner and one to a leader of a nonprofit I work with. If everything rises and falls on leadership, I want those around me to be at their pinnacle as soon as possible.

Buy the book. Then you will buy more.
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