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Ethics 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know (101 Series) Hardcover – May 11, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"A persuasive, inspiring, and greatly needed message!" — -- Dr. Stephen Covey

About the Author

John C. Maxwell is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach, and speaker who has sold more than 24 million books in fifty languages. Often called America's #1 leadership authority, Maxwell was Identified as the most popular leadership expert in the world by Inc. magazine in 2014. And he has been voted the top leadership professional six years in a row on He is the founder of The John Maxwell Company, The John Maxwell Team, and EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 180 countries. Each year Maxwell speaks to Fortune 500 companies, presidents of nations, and many of the world's top business leaders. He can be followed at For more information about him visit

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Product Details

  • Series: 101 Series
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Center Street; 1st Center Street Ed edition (May 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780446578097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446578097
  • ASIN: 0446578096
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach, and author who has sold over 19 million books. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and the John Maxwell Company, organizations that have trained more than 5 million leaders worldwide. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and organizations as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell has written three books which have each sold more than one million copies: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. You can find him at and follow him at

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By STEPHEN PLETKO on July 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover

This book (whose original title was "There's No Such Thing as `Business' Ethics") by leadership expert John C. Maxwell is an easy-to-read, small book that states that ethics is not complicated. Maxwell explains:

"Ethics is ethics. If you desire to be ethical, you live by one standard across the board...Educators, philosophers, theologians, and lawyers have taken what is a simple matter and made it very confusing...This book's goal is to help you find the way to live and work ethically and also achieve greater success."

The one "standard" Maxwell recommends using in all situations is the Golden Rule: the precept that one should behave toward others as one would want others to behave toward oneself.

Maxwell does a good job in explaining why the Golden Rule is the standard to be used in all situations. However, the only situation he uses in his numerous, true, effective example stories is the type (RIGHT versus WRONG). For example, a cashier gives you too much change. The WRONG thing to do is to keep the extra change. The RIGHT thing to do is thus to give the extra change back.

The author gives many quotations from prominent people to get his points across. One of my favorites is a quotation from Ted Koppel:

"There's harmony and inner peace to be found in following a moral compass [he's referring to the Golden Rule] that points in the same direction regardless of fashion or trend."

Maxwell touches on the fact that all people are not the same and that the rule may have to be slightly altered to accommodate them.

A feature of this book is that certain important summary points are taken out of the main narrative and bordered between two horizontal lines for easy reference.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Author John C. Maxwell has spent years thinking about leadership and ethical action, and it shows. In this short volume, he condenses his years of reflection into clear, accessible principles that any reader can immediately apply. He supports his points with anecdotes, and with quotes from sacred texts and authors from a variety of cultures. His clarity makes his work bold. There's no way you could mistake what he's saying, and that's refreshing, especially given contemporary concerns about corporate governance. While the simplicity and brevity of the book makes it broadly accessible, we especially recommend it to two readerships: those already dedicated to living ethically, who are looking for tools to apply, and those who are skeptical about the utility of ethics. The book (which was previously published as "There's No Such Thing as Business Ethics") has only two real weaknesses. The first is that Maxwell's definition of an ethical dilemma is far too simple, and he treats it too briefly. (What do we do when love and duty clash? What do we do when directly ordered to do something unethical by a superior, who thinks the action is correct - and someone else depends upon our income?) The second is that Maxwell discusses how to treat others as if we were all the same deep down. Perhaps we are - but he doesn't fully address the many personal and cultural differences that one must negotiate along the way. Our moral dilemma: is it right to dwell on such relatively minor flaws in a book we basically respect, agree with, appreciate and recommend warmly? You be the judge.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark B. Cohen on February 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
John C. Maxwell, a minister, management consultant, and prolific author of inspirational and insightful business related books, believes that ethical principles can be summarized by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He documents that this rule, or some close variation of it, is found in all of the world's major religious traditions.

This is not the book that offers guides to how the definition of ethics can vary from one legal code to another. It is rather a book that offers guides on how to live one's life and do one's job with longterm success.

"If you want to do something that will make an impact beyond your own life," Maxwell writes in summary, "then treat people better than they treat you, walk the extra mile, help people who cannot help you, do right when it's natural to do wrong, and keep your promises even when it hurts."

He divides the world into people who "go for the gold" and people who "go for the golden rule" and finds the latter are much more successful in ways that really matter than the former.

This book is an excellent supplement and response to much narrower attempts by lawyers, college professors, numerous professional groups, state government ethics commissions, good government advocates and others to treat ethics as a legal code which one needs legal advice to interpret, honor, or defend oneself from.

Ethics, Maxwell says, is not a complex issue. Ethics is about living a life worthy of self-respect, and the respect of family members, colleagues, and competitors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Emilie McLain on May 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
John C. Maxwell went above and beyond in defining and defending the code of ethics in his book, Ethics 101. The main focus of the text was on using the “standard” of the Golden Rule in all situations. A few of the noteworthy topics he mentioned included the numerous examples of right and wrong, and having the courage to take the right action in any situation. He also stated in his book that there are two types of people, ones that “go for the gold” and ones that “go for the golden rule.” He provides stories and examples to back up the fact that the latter of these two types are often more successful in what really matters.

He takes what many people have learned as a complex idea of “ethics” and simplifies it so there is less room in misunderstanding his text. Ethics is living a life that is worthy of not only self-respect, but respect of everyone around you. There is so much to gain from this book both on an individual level, and a professional level, that it brings up the question; how was Maxwell able to pack such an abundance of insight and useful knowledge into so few pages? Ethics 101 could be beneficial to anyone, but highly recommended for those in the corporate business world.
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