45 pages 1 hour read

John C. Maxwell

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

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1998

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Chapters 1-5Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary: “The Law of the Lid”

Chapter 1 establishes the first rule about leadership: Not every leader is made equal, and a leader’s actual effectiveness is measured by their ability to impact an organization, group, or event. To illustrate this, John C. Maxwell uses a scale of 1 to 10: A leader who scores 1 can only effect a little change in their immediate environment, while a leader who scores 10 might be capable of establishing the next multimillion dollar brand.

To illustrate this point, Maxwell uses the example of the McDonald brothers, who were efficient in optimizing their business model but did not have the ability to make the brand into the international success it is today. Although they had entrepreneurial spirit and popularized the drive-in restaurant in 1937, their annual sales only reached around $200,000 per year. Then, in 1948, they attempted to expand the business by focusing not on the drive-in restaurant but on serving customers quickly and efficiently. In the mid-1950s, their revenue increased to $350,000 per year using this fast-food model. However, their leadership ability ended there.

In 1954, an entrepreneur named Ray Kroc struck a deal with the McDonald brothers and bought the rights to a franchise, with the goal of making it an international success.