Book Review: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John Maxwell

MaxwellIt has been quite a few years since I have read anything by John Maxwell. This book, given to me by a friend in the ministry, tops my book list thus far for 2014. Absolutely loved the humility by Maxwell throughout the book along with all of the quotes, illustrations, and proven principles of connecting with people around you. In matter of fact, I underlined or highlighted 101 different quotes, lines, or illustrations in the book.

This book was extremely helpful to me as a public speaker. However, Maxwell deliberately states that this will not only help the public communicator but anyone who deals with people on a regular basis. He also reiterates throughout the book that anyone can learn to connect with people…that it is NOT a natural born trait. He uses himself as an example who did very poorly in connecting with others as a young pastor for the first few years.

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Books I Read in 2013

Okay, I did it. At the start of this calendar year of 2013, I set a goal to read twenty-four books by the end of the year. Having just finished the thirty-seventh book as we near the end of this year, I am thankful for many things:

1. For the teachers who taught me to read – it is one of the greatest gifts a person can be given.
2. For my mother who instilled in me a love to read as a young boy. My wife and I are trying to do the same for our children.
3. For friends (specifically ministerial friends) who encouraged me in my reading by recommending a book or sending me books.

Before I share the list of books that I read, allow me to give you general thoughts I had as I set goals for my reading. First, due to much of my commute being on a train, I decided to set a goal higher than I had reached previously. I have never had the luxury of having so much reading time, so in hindsight, my long commute did end up being a blessing. My thoughts were that reading a book every two weeks was quite aggressive, but doable. Second, in Evernote, I compiled a list of books in order that I wished to read them. This did several things for me. It kept me on track. It also helped me order them in categories and not read too much of one genre of a book. Although I did add a few books throughout the year that were not on my list, the list helped me focus on my goals. Third, I always tried to keep a highlighter on hand to highlight those items and truths that stood out to me.

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The Hard Path to Reconciliation

One of the best ways to show a genuine concern and love for others is to ask people questions about their family relationships. This past week, I asked a co-worker what she was doing to celebrate Mother’s Day. The question immediately evoked a visceral reaction. As happens all too often, this lady and her mother did not see eye to eye and she definitely was not going to see her or celebrate Mother’s Day with her own mother.

After apologizing and lamenting the current state of her relationship to her mother, I mentioned something to the effect that I always try to help people reconcile. She made it clear to me that she had attempted many times to reconcile in the past with her mother and it was clear her mother had no intention to reconcile with her. Thereby, no Mother’s Day celebration was going to occur for this lady on Mother’s Day!

While the above scenario is a quite dismal one, it is far from uncommon. Reconciliation is a difficult road to traverse and for too many, a road that is untraveled.

I love the first definition that Noah Webster lists for reconciliation:

RECONCI’LE, v.t. [L. reconcilio; re and concilio; con and calo, to call, Gr. The literal sense is to call back into union.]

1. To conciliate anew; to call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated; to restore to friendship or favor after estrangement; as, to reconcile men or parties that have been at variance.

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