Make Today Count – A Book Summary

 Part III – November 14, 2012


In 2004 John C. Maxwell wrote a small 130 page book called Make Today Count. It is a treasure of a book. Over three days this week I will summarize this little book. If you want a real treat read the book. But just don’t read it and put it down. Really read it. Study it and put what you learn from it to work in your life. 


The book covers 12 key values that one should focus upon every day. Today we will look at the final group of four of those.




“If you have one true friend in life, you are very fortunate. If you have two real friends, it is highly unusual”, Dr. David Van Hoose, psychologist.


Sadly this quote applies to far too many of us. True friendships and close relationships are difficult to form and more difficult to maintain. They require a firm decision on our part to make the decision to make the consistent efforts needed to form and sustain great relationships. Here are Maxwell’s tips on relationship building:


1. Place a high value on people. Willingly give your friendship with expecting theirs in return. 


2. Learn to understand people. To that end:


–people are insecure so give them confidence;

–people want to feel special so sincerely compliment them;

–people desire a better tomorrow so give them hope;

–people need to be understood so listen to them;

–people are selfish to speak to their needs first;

–people are emotionally low so encourage them; and

–people want to be associated with success so help them win. 

3. Give respect freely but expect to earn it from others.


4. Commit yourself to adding value to others. 


Maxwell also discusses how we should put others first, refuse carry grudges, give adequate time to your most valued relationships, serve others gladly, and express love and appreciation often. 




Maxwell teaches the value to us in generosity. He encourages us to give money to others in need because our attention follows our money. But he adds that people need your time and attention more than your money so he urges you to give of yourself more than of your pocketbook. 


Remember the people who have encouraged you, mentored you, supported you – and return that gift of yourself to others.


If you value others you will learn what they value. You will then make yourself more valuable so that you can give more. Like God, give unconditionally. 


Maxwell also counsels that it is important to give before you have a lot to give. You need not be financially prosperous to give something.


“Try not to become a man of success. Rather, become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein.


Maxwell is a leader and teaches leadership to others. He teaches the high value of clarifying your values and then living by them. This is of course more difficult done than said, but this kind of integrity is crucial to a life well lived. 


Maxwell suggests you create your list of good values. If you are religious you will likely find your values in the teachings of your religion. If you are not religious you must glean your values from those that have served mankind throughout history – you will find it is a common list.  Once you have identified the important values embrace them and dedicate yourself to living by them every day. 


At the end of each day review what you have done and said and ask yourself if you have lived consistently with your values. If not, make the necessary corrections the next day.




Personal growth and development are crucial to living a good life and making the most of each day. Your development does not stop when you reach adulthood. It is a lifelong process. 


First you must make a clear commitment to change. It helps to set goals for your growth and then follow up each day to execute them. Here are some ideas that Maxwell uses to continue his growth and development:


1. He listens to a CD or tape every week on self-improvement.

2. He reads two good books each month.

3. He sets an appointment once a month to visit with someone who can teach and inspire him in his growth. Prepare for these meetings to get the most out of them.

4. He also files away all the things he learns for future reference and commitment.

5. Finally he makes a point of applying what he learns. 


This completes the summary of John C. Maxwell’s book, Make Today Count. I want to add one more element to this however. In making today count we must remember what a precious gift each day is, not take any one of them for granted, never waste one of them and never wish them away. 


It is easy to live a mediocre life and to while away days without accomplishing much. It is easy to stay in the same old ruts and fail to grow or improve. It is easy to go on making the same mistakes you’ve always made. 


It is much more difficult to strive each day to improve yourself and your life in the ways that Maxwell outlines in this little book. It takes time and great effort. However it can produce so much more out of life. It may not be easy, but to live a really great life will not be easy. 


My grandmother once sat and listened to my brother and I as small children repeatedly wish that Christmas would come. We wanted the weeks before Christmas to pass by quickly, instantly if it could, so that we could enjoy that day. She finally spoke and this is what she said:

“Do not wish your life away. It is short, very short, and will pass by so very quickly”. At that time, as a small child, I could not understand what she meant. Now, as a man in my late 50s, I understand so very well what she meant. Life does pass very quickly. Each day and each hour is so important. We should never waste them and never wish them away for they will all pass by so quickly indeed.


I recommend that you read Maxwell’s book, Make Today Count, and in your own life be sure to always make each day count.

Wishing you success and prosperity,

Daniel R. Murphy
Helping People Learn to Build Wealth

Wishing you Success and Prosperity,

Daniel R. Murphy

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.