Book Review : 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

I recently finished John C. Maxwell's "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership : Follow Them and People Will Follow You". This book was assigned reading for our Organizational Development class. The book is structured as 21 chapters, one for each law, and a concluding chapter, as well as opening remarks by John Maxwell and Zig Ziglar. The laws are:

  1. The Law of the Lid
    1. Leadership Ability determines a person's level of effectiveness.

  2. The Law of Influence

    1. The Management Myth

    2. The Entrepreneur Myth

    3. The Knowledge Myth

    4. The Pioneer Myth

    5. The Position Myth

  3. The Law of Process

    1. Phase 1 - I don't know what I don't know

    2. Phase 2 - I know what I don't know

    3. Phase 3 - I grow and know and it starts to show

    4. Phase 4 - I simply go because of what I know

  4. The Law of Navigation

    1. Set a goal

    2. Create a plan to reach the goal

  5. The Law of E.F. Hutton

    1. Real leaders are not always the named leaders

    2. What Defines a Real Leader?

      1. Character - Who they are

      2. Relationships - Who they know

      3. Knowledge - What they know

      4. Intuition - What they fell

      5. Experience - Where they have been

      6. Past Success - What they have done

      7. Ability - What they can do

  6. The Law of Solid Ground

    1. Build Trust

    2. Provide Support

  7. The Law of Respect

  8. The Law of Intuition

    1. Those who naturally see it

    2. Those who are nurtured to see it

    3. Those who will never see it

  9. The Law of Magnetism

    1. Leaders attract people like themselves

  10. The Law of Connection

    1. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care

  11. The Law of the Inner Circle

    1. Your success is only limited by your ability to surround yourself with good people

      1. Potential Value - Those who raise up themselves

      2. Positive Value - Those who raise morale in the organization

      3. Personal Value - Those who raise up the leader

      4. Production Value - Those who raise up others

      5. Proven Value - Those who raise up people, who raise up people

  12. The Law of Empowerment

    1. Only secure leaders give up power to others

  13. The Law of Reproduction

    1. It takes a leader to raise up a leader

  14. The Law of Buy-In

    1. Don't buy the leader or the message - Get a new leader

    2. Buy the message, but not the leader - Get a new leader

    3. Buy the leader, but not the message - Get a new message

    4. Buy the leader and the message - Get behind the leader

  15. The Law of Victory

    1. Leaders find a way for the team to win

  16. The Law of the Big Mo

    1. Momentum is a Leader's Best Friend

    2. You can't steer a ship that isn't moving

  17. The Law of Priorities

    1. What is Required

    2. What gives the greatest Return

    3. What gives the greatest Reward

  18. The Law of Sacrifice

    1. You've got to give up to go up

  19. The Law of Timing

    1. The wrong action at the wrong time leads to disaster

    2. The right action at the wrong time brings resistance

    3. The wrong action at the right time is a mistake

    4. The right action at the right time leads to success

  20. The Law of Explosive Growth

    1. To add growth, lead followers

    2. To multiply growth, lead leaders

  21. The Law of Legacy

    1. A leader's lasting value is measured by succession

The content of the book flushes out these laws with case studies from sports, business, and John Maxwell's life as a minister, businessman, leader, and speaker. What makes this book of note is that John Maxwell grew up in the Midwest, leading a church in Indiana for some time early in his career. As such, his background is similar to many of our own, and the perspective is one that is easy to empathize with. The book isn't breaking any new ground in leadership theory, but the lessons are tried and true. This is an easy book to read in a weekend, and while you probably won't come away with a new world perspective, it is nice to see the tenets of leadership framed up in stories that we can identifiy with. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in leadership. Because it is such a quick read, I would recommend that you simply check it out of the local library.


Jade Mason