The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

by John C. Maxwell

Audio CD(Abridged)

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What would happen if a top expert with more than thirty years of leadership experience were willing to distill everything he had learned about leadership into a handful of life-changing principles just for you? It would change your life.

John C. Maxwell has done exactly that in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. He has combined insights learned from his thirty-plus years of leadership successes and mistakes with observations from the worlds of business, politics, sports, religion, and military conflict. The result is a revealing study of leadership delivered as only a communicator like Maxwell can.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781480553637
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 10/29/2013
Edition description: Abridged
Pages: 3
Sales rank: 312,103
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

John C. Maxwell is an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold more than 19 million books. He is the founder of EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 126 countries. Read his blog at

Read an Excerpt


I have the privilege of teaching leadership across the country and around the globe, and I often get the opportunity to talk with people who are attending one of my conferences for a second, third,
or even fourth time. At a recent conference here in the United States,
a man in his late fifties whom I had met several years before came up and spoke to me during a break. He grabbed my hand and shook it vigorously. "Learning leadership has changed my life," he said. "But
I sure wish I had heard you twenty years ago."

"No, you don't," I answered with a chuckle.

"What do you mean?" he said. "I would have achieved so much more! If I had known these leadership principles twenty years ago,
I'd be in a totally different place in life. Your leadership laws have fueled my vision. They've given me the desire to learn more about leadership and accomplish my goals. If I'd learned this twenty years ago, I could have done some things that I had never even dreamed possible."

"Maybe you would have," I answered. "But twenty years ago, I
wouldn't have been able to teach them to you. It has taken me my entire lifetime to learn and apply the laws of leadership to my life."

As I write this, I am fifty-one years old. I've spent more than thirty years in professional leadership positions. I've founded four companies.
And I focus my time and energy on doing what makes a positive impact in the lives of people. But I've also made a lot of mistakes along way—more than most people I know. Every success and every failure has been an invaluable lesson in what it means to lead.

As I travel and speak to organizations and individuals, people frequently ask me to define the essentials of leadership. "If you were to take everything you've learned about leadership over the years and boil it down into a short list," they ask, "what would it be?"

This book is my answer to that often-asked question. It has taken me a lifetime to learn these 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. My desire is to communicate them to you as simply and clearly as possible.
And it sure won't hurt if we have some fun along the way.

One of the most important truths I've learned over the years is this: Leadership is leadership, no matter where you go or what you do. Times change. Technology marches forward. Cultures vary from place to place. But the true principles of leadership are constant—whether you're looking at the citizens of ancient Greece, the
Hebrews in the Old Testament, the armies of the last two hundred years, the rulers of modern Europe, the pastors in local churches, or the businesspeople of today's global economy. Leadership principles stand the test of time. They are irrefutable.

As you read the following chapters, I'd like you to keep in mind four ideas:

  1. The laws can be learned. Some are easier to understand and apply than others, but every one of them can be acquired.

  2. The laws can stand alone. Each law complements all the others,
    but you don't need one in order to learn another.

  3. The laws carry consequences with them. Apply the laws, and people will follow you. Violate or ignore them, and you will not be able to lead others.

  4. These laws are the foundation of leadership. Once you learn the principles, you have to practice them and apply them to your life.

Whether you are a follower who is just beginning to discover the impact of leadership or a natural leader who already has followers,
you can become a better leader. As you read about the laws, you'll recognize that you may already practice some of them effectively. Other laws will expose weaknesses you didn't know you had. But the greater the number of laws you learn, the better leader you will become. Each law is like a tool, ready to be picked up and used to help you achieve your dreams and add value to other people. Pick up even one, and you will become a better leader. Learn them all, and people will gladly follow you.

Now, let's open the toolbox together.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"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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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 reviews.
review_the_reviewer More than 1 year ago
David Marquet - Practicum obviously failed to follow the basic rule of book reviewers - he failed to read the book. Everything he says is contray to the teachings of John Maxwell.
kadkins More than 1 year ago
The laws are good to follow and reading through the book I took note of ones that I needed to improve on and implement. I do think it is a little repetitive and some laws could be combined but overall a great leadership book, especially with the evaluations at the end of each chapter!
shdawson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good read, but need to go over the various laws several times to see how they inter-relate.Read this in 1998. Still have to map out the connections between the laws. The arrangement of this work could have been better written, in order to understand the content. The content itself is wonderful.
hjvanderklis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best-selling leadership books of all time, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by dr. John C. Maxwell, was left unread somehow, until I discovered the audiobook version, which led me in 3+ hours through its content, while commuting. 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. His lessons, packaged into 21 laws of leadership, traits of leaders or competences are important for every leader out there, that wishes to improve. According to Maxwell it¿s enough to to pick and practice just one law and see improvements, though it would be even better to apply more laws. In the updated 2007 version of The 21 Laws of Leadership every law has been sharpened, illustrations and stories added, and an evaluation tool provided.1. The Law of the Lid¿Leadership Ability Determines a Person¿s Level of Effectiveness: leadership is different from management. What¿s been done succesfully on a local basis needs leadership to bring it further. The McDonald¿s case is a powerful illustration here.2. The Law of Influence¿The True Measure of Leadership Is Influence¿Nothing More, Nothing Less. It¿s not enough to be upfront, you have to have followers, influence people¿s behaviour.3. The Law of Process¿Leadership Develops Daily, Not in a Day. Leadership has to be practiced, developed and challenged every single day. Think of it as a process, not an instant success formula.4. The Law of Navigation¿Anyone Can Steer the Ship, But It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course. Which of the two exploration teams reached the South Pole first? Amundsen or Scott? Why? Amundsen was a true navigator, planning the whole journey, not just the next action.5. The Law of E. F. Hutton¿When the Real Leader Speaks, People Listen. Same as the influence principle. A real leader connects and engages. People will recognize that and react by listening and following.6. The Law of Solid Ground¿Trust Is the Foundation of Leadership. Difficult to obtain, easy to loose.7. The Law of Respect¿People Naturally Follow Leaders Stronger than Themselves.8. The Law of Intuition¿Leaders Evaluate Everything with a Leadership Bias. People attact like-minded, in leadership as well. Maxwell shares his experiences in a church, formerly made up of artists, after his assignment neglecting them, while attracting people with leadership skills.9. The Law of Magnetism¿Who You Are Is Who You Attract. It¿s the leader people trust. Actions speak louder than words.10. The Law of Connection¿Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask for a Hand. And if they do so, people will follow¿.maybe automatically.11. The Law of the Inner Circle¿A Leader¿s Potential Is Determined by Those Closest to Him. The importance of the right staff members.12. The Law of Empowerment¿Only Secure Leaders Give Power to Others. You can¿t do it all by yourself. Leadership needs followers, not a position or CxO title.13. The Law of Reproduction¿It Takes a Leader to Raise Up a Leader. Leaders raise other leaders.14. The Law of Buy-In¿People Buy Into the Leader, Then the Vision.15. The Law of Victory¿Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win, at any costs.16. The Law of the Big Mo¿Momentum Is a Leader¿s Best Friend. You need some luck. And if you¿re a strong leader with momentum within reach, there¿s no guarantee you will succeed in your next position.17. The Law of Priorities¿Leaders Understand That Activity Is Not Necessarily Accomplishment. Execute and finish what you start. Being busy is not enough, deliver results. Prioritize and get things done.18. The Law of Sacrifice¿A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up. Lessons of dr. Martin Luther King are used as illustration of this. No pain, no glory.19. The Law of Timing¿When to Lead Is As Important As What to Do and Where to Go. Lessons of the Katrina hurricane in 2005 available
callmejacx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I use to think of leardership as being for business, but this book has opened my eyes and made me understand the leadership can be in anything you do or are. This is one book that will stay in my libary for future reference. I recommend this book to everyone.
laholmes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As far as leadership books go, this is one of the better ones. I think all his other books are kind of the same thing over and over, but this has good principles. Lots of common sense things, and ones that will help you as you lead.
ldmarquet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Leader-Follower Model is so last century!My name is David Marquet, from Practicum, Inc and we help our customers structure their organizations to maximize the potential of their people. We call this leadership. One of the basic tenants we have found is that thinking about your people as ¿followers¿ limits their enthusiasm, energy, and commitment. The result is the need to empower them. Better is the organization that refuses to dis-empower them in the first place!Unfortunately, it is through this centuries old leadership model that breaks the world into ¿leaders¿ and ¿followers¿ that Maxwell views the world. As such, the book has limited value for those moving to post-industrial age leadership models.
jclemence on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
John C. Maxwell has had a long and storied track record in leadership positions. As a pastor and businessman, he has had the ability to step outside just the church or business spheres individually and look at what leadership principles work regardless of the context in which they are administered. In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Maxwell enumerates those principles he has found to be most important for any leader's success.The book itself is a quick read. The basic content in each chapter is a few explanatory paragraphs about the principle in question, followed by lots of illustrations. This makes the book fun, lighthearted and engaging, and as you read you begin to ask yourself how you are doing in each area. This is the lasting benefit of Maxwell's work--taking those two or three nagging questions the book raised in your mind and committing to working on them as you lead.This is not an exhaustive list of all of the traits a good leader needs, nor should it be viewed with a formulaic approach (even though the subtitle suggests that these are the case). Rather, it is a list of one leader's insights over a lifetime. If you will allow yourself to read instrospectively with the motive of becoming a better leader, there can be benefit to the book. If you do not intuitively recognize many of the "laws" in the book, you may need to step down from leadership entirely!
Alicia_Arnold on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good organizing principles of leadership.
jensenc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good insights, Heavy on the What, Lite on the How.
cartledge777 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favorite leadership book by Maxwell- all the others are pretty much a rehash of this one.
deanc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A typical book on leadership by a "Christian" writer--but not only for church or Christian leaders. These "laws" or principles can apply to leaders in most any organizational context, but seem geared toward the larger organization.Maxwell includes a number of interesting biographical vignettes to illustrate his principles. I'm skeptical that he has reduced leadership to "the" 21 laws -- and "irrefutable" seems a tad overreaching -- but his ideas make sense and his writing style is engaging.Is the book worth what I paid for it? Well, as a higher education administrator (and former pastor), I learned a few helpful things I can apply to my particular context, so, I suppose, the answer is yes. If you are looking for a good, basic primer in organizational leadership, you probably ought to consider this one.
rwk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Begins with a comparison between Mother Teresa and Princess Diana. M/T, of course, gets dropped and doesn't get mentioned again for 100+ pages - when he visited her orphanage but was too pressed for time to pay respects at her memorial. That pretty much says it all about Maxwell's concept of leadership success. More than anything else, this book made me ask what 'success' really was, and led me to the realization that bigger, busier and more is not really what I want out of life. Of course, if you're into that sort of thing, this is a pretty effective 'how-to' manual on growing your leadership role. In the end, however, it just seems to me like another manifestation - albeit a subtle one - of the prosperity gospel. I'm trying not to sound harsh - it's very well written and effective in it's own realm - Maxwell is a prominent Christian leadership guru for a reason - it's just not where I am.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Short and to the point. Good book.
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I love this book!!
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