This is from the April Leader’s Edge Book Summary of Missio Nexus. These are the best book summaries on the web. Leader’s Edge monthly book summaries and insightful interviews connect you with today’s leading writers in the Great Commission community. You can visit their website here. Access for individuals starts at under $30. The services include:

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Accessing their services just for the book summaries is well worth the cost. Below is a sample from the April edition of Leader’s Edge Book Summary of John Maxwell’s book Sometimes You Win–Sometimes You Learn. Each book summary includes the content of the book by category of:

  • Best chapter
  • Best quotes
  • Best illustration
  • Best idea
  • Best take away
  • Recommendation


Sometimes You Win–Sometimes You Learn: Life’s Greatest Lessons are Gained from Our Losses

Author: John C. Maxwell

Publisher: Center Street, October 2013, Hardcover 232 pages. ISBN: 1599953692

Also available in Kindle format (B00E7XUGPA).


History proves many great accomplishments and discoveries were actually birthed out of what people learned from a failure experience. But experience itself is not a reliable instructor. It requires the right mind-set and skill-set. Maxwell shares eleven elements that comprise the DNA of learners who overcome failure: 1) Humility – The Spirit of Learning, 2) Reality – The Foundation of Learning, 3) Responsibility – The First Step of Learning, 4) Improvement – The Focus of Learning, 5) Hope – The Motivation of Learning, 6) Teachability – The Pathway of Learning, 7) Adversity – The Catalyst of Learning, 8) Problems – The Opportunities of Learning, 9) Bad Experiences – The Perspective for Learning, 10) Change – The Price of Learning, 11) Maturity – The Value of Learning

 Best chapter

Best Chapter: 2 – Humility: The Spirit of Learning

Nothing stifles learning like pride. “Those who profit from adversity possess a spirit of humility and are therefore inclined to make the necessary changes needed to learn from their mistakes, failures, and losses.” (pg. 19) Prideful people respond to failure and adversity in self-destructive ways. They blame others. They deny their issues. They are closed-minded, rigid, insecure, and isolate themselves from others who could offer help. “Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less.” (pg. 25, quoting Ken Blanchard)

Best quotes

Author and speaker Les Brown says, “The good times we put in our pocket. The bad times we put in our heart.” (pg. 7)

“The quality that distinguishes a successful person from an unsuccessful one who is otherwise like him is the capacity to manage disappointment and loss.” (pg. 10)

“I may not like it, but I am responsible for who I am and where I am today. My present circumstances are a direct result of my past choices. My future will be the result of my current thoughts and actions. I am responsible, and so are you.” (pg. 64)

“Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus asserted, “It is the capacity to develop and improve themselves that distinguishes leaders from followers.” (pg. 78)

“Motivational humorist Al Walker stated, “The most important words we will ever utter are those words we say to ourselves, about ourselves, when we are by ourselves.” (pg. 84)

“We always overestimate what we can get done in a day or a week. But we underestimate what we can get done in a year.” (pg. 86)

“If you want to be successful tomorrow, then you must be teachable today.” (pg. 108)

“Norman Vincent Peale asserted, “Positive thinking is how you think about a problem. Enthusiasm is how you feel about a problem. The two together determine what you do about a problem.” (pg. 152)

“Bernd Pischetsrieder, former chairman of Volkswagen, said, “I do know that the principal conflicts I have experienced have always had one simple cause: miscommunication. Either I didn’t understand what other people wanted, or they didn’t understand what I wanted. These conflicts were caused by a lack of communication and not just merely misunderstanding someone’s words, but also misunderstanding a person’s intentions and the background from which someone has formed an opinion.” (pg. 154)

“You should never open a can of worms unless you plan to go fishing.” (pg. 154)

“Creativity is the ability to free yourself from imaginary boundaries, to see new relationships, and to explore options so that you can accomplish more things of value.” (pg. 218)

“If you’re outside of your strength zone, a problem is a mystery. If you’re in your strength zone, a problem is a challenge, a learning experience, and a road to improvement.” (pg. 223)

Best illustration

Back in the days when the only way to watch sports was on network television (unless you actually went to the event), the premier show was ABC’s Wide World of Sports. For three and a half decades, the show opened with various sports images and a narrator saying, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports… the thrill of victory… the agony of defeat.” To illustrate the latter, it always showed a ski jumper heading down ramp, and then suddenly going off course, spinning, crashing through the supporting structure, and then bouncing on the ground. It looked like a horrendous crash. What most people didn’t know was that the skier’s fall wasn’t a freak accident. He chose to fall rather than to finish the jump. An experienced jumper, he realized that the ramp had become icy, and he was picking up so much speed that if he completed the jump, he would probably land far beyond the sloped landing area and hit level ground, which might have killed him. So instead, he changed directions. What looked like a catastrophically painful accident actually resulted in no more than a headache, whereas what would have looked like a great jump might have been fatal. (pg. 169)

File under: cutting your losses, midcourse corrections, failure

 Best idea

Unlearning is a prerequisite for growth. Unlearning is like seeing the world with new eyes. To unlearn, you: 1) admit that an old practice, belief, or attitude is not solving the current problem and that doing more of it won’t lead to desired outcomes; 2) open your mind—yield to the view that there are alternatives to the way you’ve always done it until now; 3) switch from trying to rationalize the use of your long-favored solution to asking questions about how you can change, learn, and grow; 4) commit to terminating the old way forever; and 5) practice and perfect the new way. (pg. 194)

 Best take away

Since experience is not a reliable instructor you will need to learn how to reflect on your experiences to truly benefit from them. Here are a few questions Maxwell offers that will help you get started: What can I learn from what I read today? What can I learn from what I saw today? What can I learn from what I heard today? What can I learn from what I experienced today? What can I learn from what I did wrong today? What can I learn from whom I met today? What can I learn from what I discussed today?


Reflect on the past six months or year and identify several major experiences, good and bad. What did you learn from them? What process did you follow to harvest these lessons? How could you improve your process? To what extent is it repeatable for you and transferable for others?


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