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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You Hardcover – September 18, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 761 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

John C. Maxwell offers lively stories about the foibles and successes of Lee Iacocca, Abraham Lincoln, Princess Diana, and Elizabeth Dole in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Readers can expect a well-crafted discussion that emphasizes the core attitudes and visions of leadership. Maxwell uses the same tell-it-like-it-is approach that he honed in the bestselling Developing the Leader Within You. For instance, when explaining "The Law of Influence," Maxwell states that "job titles don't have much value when it comes to leading. True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed or assigned. It comes only from influence and that can't be mandated." Even after Princess Diana was stripped of her title, Maxwell says she was still able to lead a global effort toward banning land mines because of her sophisticated ability to influence others.

If readers are looking for a step-by-step formula, Maxwell's list of "laws" will probably seem too chatty and anecdote driven. There are no specific tips on what readers can do during the next workday to help them become stronger leaders. On the other hand, Maxwell's background as a pastor gives him an inspirational voice and a spiritual context to leadership that many business and church leaders appreciate. --Gail Hudson

Review

"Our nation and its institutions are crying out for leaders. John Maxwell . . . shows us the true path to leadership through the application of timeless principles supported by the bedrock of personal character."

Edward C. Emma, President & COO, Jockey International, Inc.

"An irrefutable must-read on leadership that is a simple and powerful list of guidelines to help build leadership in many arenas."
--S. Truett Cathy, Founder and Chairman, Chick-Fil-A, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1st edition (September 18, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785274316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785274315
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (761 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,698 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 JohnMaxwell.com and follow him at Twitter.com/JohnCMaxwell.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Don't ever say 'always,'" my mother told me. So when someone says "irrefutable" I'm quick to challenge such a too-complete assertion. But the more I've read of Maxwell's "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership," the more I think he's nailed it.
John Maxwell has been learning and teaching leadership throughout his entire career as a Wesleyan pastor and seminar speaker. He lives and breathes leadership. And in this book he has distilled the art of leadership into 21 "simple" laws. Well, not so simple, maybe, but at least understandable.
#1 "The Law of the Lid" asserts his basic premise that leadership ability determines the ultimate level of a person's effectiveness. If you have gifts and abilities, you'll make a greater impact the better leader you become. While some people may be blessed with a natural aptitude for leadership, Maxwell contends that leadership "skills" are learnable. You don't have to be a "born leader." You can apply yourself and become a much better leader than you are.
#2 "The Law of Influence." Here's another bedrock proposition: Leadership = Influence, no more and no less. Many church and secular leaders grossly misunderstand this point. They think that Leadership = Power. Maxwell argues that your leadership scope is how many people you influence, not how much organizational power you can wield from your position or office. On the basis of these two concepts, Maxwell constructs a whole philosophy of leadership. He explains the laws of "Solid Ground," "Respect," "Intuition," "the Inner Circle" and many others.
Some are especially intriguing. "The Law of E.F.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book all leaders, born or made, should read. Maxwell's leadership laws are succinct and highly useful. He supports the laws with real business stories and leadership anecdotes, then he shows you how to apply these laws (each chapter ends with practical strategies and activities to help you reflect and grow your leadership abilities). Honestly, I couldn't stop reading.

But here are the main points from each chapter/law of "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership":

I. The Law Of the Lid: Leadership ability determines a person's level of effectiveness.

II. The Law of Influence: The true measure of leadership is influence--nothing more, nothing less.

III. The Law of Process: Leadership develops daily, not in a day.

IV. The Law of Navigation: Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.

V. The Law of Addition: Leaders add value by serving others.

VI. The Law of Solid Ground: Trust is the foundation of leadership

VII. The Law of Respect: People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves

VIII. The Law of Intuition: Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias

IX. The Law of Magnetism: Who you are is who you attract

X. The Law of Connection: Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.

XI. The Law of the Inner Circle: A leader's potential is determined by those closest to him

XII. The Law of Empowerment: Only secure leaders give power to others

XIII. The Law of the Picture: People do what people see.

XIV. The Law of Buy-in: People buy into the leader, then the vision.

XV. The Law of Victory: Leaders find a way for the team to win.

XVI.
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Format: Hardcover
At the beginning of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John Maxwell, the author reminds us that any book is fixed at a moment in time. Maxwell's first version of this book captured his best thinking as it was a decade ago.

But while the book has remained unchanged, its author has grown and matured. He has read more, worked with more people, and taught his principles over and over again. And so the book we get from this fifty-one-year-old author is a more mature and developed one than we got from John Maxwell when he was forty-one. That is a very good thing.

In the intervening decade Maxwell found that some laws needed to be combined. He also adds two new laws. The number of laws remains the same.

This book is better than the first version. You can count up the new stories and examples if you want, but the numbers aren't the story. The story is that this man who wrote one of the best books on leadership has added the growth, maturity and insights of a decade and made it even better.

As Maxwell outlines it on page 245, there has been a trajectory to his thinking. In the beginning he understood leadership development as primarily a process of personal development. That's still part of his thinking, but he's added understanding of the importance of a leadership team, and, especially, the importance of developing other leaders.

There are two key questions to ask and answer about any book like this. First: "If I read this book and apply what I learn, will I be a better leader?"

The answer to that is a resounding "yes." The content here is good and it's practical. Leadership is an apprentice trade.
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