Review: “Becoming Your Best”

Book Review
Book: Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders by Steven Shallenberger

Reviewer: Bobby Powers

My Thoughts: 7 of 10
I absolutely love reading leadership books. There’s something special about learning life principles from those who have already tackled the challenges that await us in our lives. Although Becoming Your Best is definitely not one of the best leadership books I’ve read, I still learned a lot from Shallenberger. Specifically, I really enjoyed the quotes that he interspersed throughout the book from other leaders. This book is similar to many of John Maxwell’s books in that respect: great inspiration in the form of short leadership “tweets” from impressive leaders. 

Takeaways from the Book


  • “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” -Helen Keller
  • “Be determined that you will not sit idly on the sidelines of life when issues of character come up.”
  • “He who is plenteously provided for from within, needs but little from without.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


  • “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” -Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  • “Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction.” -Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Consider leadership as a type of stewardship. What can you do with the opportunity, position, gifts, talents, and skills that you have to contribute?”
  • “The best leadership often occurs when you connect your personal uniqueness to that of your organization(s).”
  • “Highly successful people create a vision, develop goals and a plan to accomplish their goals, and then focus on what matters most through pre-week planning to make the goals a reality week in and week out.”

Pre-Week Planning

  • “Your efficiency, flexibility, and stress management will significantly improve if you engage in careful and thoughtful preparation of what you’ll do in the upcoming week….You take 15 to 20 minutes on Saturday or Sunday and develop a detailed plan for the upcoming week.”
  • “You should determine what matters most this week for each of your roles, whether as a leader, an employee, a spouse, a parent, or in organizations, clubs, and your community.”
  • “As you reflect on each key role, stay focused on what matters most, giving priority to what is most important. Come up with two or three things that you can do this week in each role.”

Climbing Stairs

The Importance of Lifelong Learning

  • “It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
  • “The important thing is to not stop questioning…I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” -Albert Einstein
  • “Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” -Og Mandino
  • “Many authors pour their life experiences into their books so that others can benefit from them. Reading, then, is a way to hyper accelerate your development by learning from the successes and failures—and the research—of accomplished men and women. I’ve found that highly successful leaders almost always read voraciously.
  • “When you read and learn from others, you’re loading the files into your mind so that you can access them when you need them.”

Building Trust

  • “Isn’t it true that you are often more open-minded when you hear your leaders speak candidly about their own performances and the improvements that they need to make?”
  • “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Be trustworthy and loyal, especially to those who are absent.”

Learning from Failure

  • “High achievers typically experience at least three to four major failures and seven major successes in their careers. Every highly successful leader who I know or who I have studied has failed—not once, but many times.”
  • “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted with the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan
  • “Champions know that success is inevitable, and that failure is best accepted as feedback leading to further improvement.”

Famous Failures

Other Thoughts

  • Control what you can control. Make a list of what you can control and focus on those items. Refuse to dwell on things that you cannot control.”
  • “Even though you may live in a stressful world carry your own peace within you.”
  • “You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.” -Ruth E. Renkl

Think you’d like this book? Purchase it from Amazon:

Other books you may enjoy:
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

Other notable books by the authors:

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