Book Review – John C. Maxwell’s “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success”

This is a book about the redirection of defeat toward victory.  The key appears to be the changing of one’s perception and response to failure.  Failure does not have to be complete defeat.  In fact, our failures are not defeat but rather lessons on how to succeed.  The more we fail is an indication that we are still in the lesson mode.  The experiences we have in life help shape who we are and who we will become.  Therefore, we can utilize the experiences of failure for pathways to succeed.  Maxwell proves his thesis by sharing real life experiences of people who later became famous.  He believes their failures helped pave the way for their success.  He mentions people like the Wright brothers who after several failed flight missions mastered gravity and took to the air for the very first successful flight.  They had many lessons but eventually the lessons paid off!  Thomas Edison is another who after many attempts finally succeeded and we certainly would not think of him as a failure.  Overall, Maxwell makes a good point but he does seem a little insensitive to the hard fact that failure is painful.  It is easy for one who is very successful to promote a change of attitude or perspective as a solution.  Is it really that easy?  I do not think it is easy but if one can then failing does not have to be backward it can be forward.  Perhaps, this is best seen in reflection of one’s successes and not during the pain of one’s failure.  This book is helpful to me in understanding that failure is not necessarily a bad thing if I can utilize the experience for my life and ministry.  I would recommend this book for those who have experienced failure in business or even ministry.  However, I would not suggest this book for one who has lost a loved one to a terminal illness or a failed marriage.  In my opinion this is a good book but not a great book.

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