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 16-21Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 16 Summary: “The Law of the Big Mo”

The Law of the Big Mo dictates that when things hit a lull or stop moving forward, a good leader will harness the power of momentum and rekindle people’s morale. Maxwell likens this Law to a leader’s best friend; it often is the only deciding factor between losing or reaching a goal. Without momentum, even the most basic tasks seem hard to complete, whereas with momentum, even the hardest tasks are easier to accomplish.

Maxwell uses the computer animation film company Pixar to illustrate this point. Pixar’s cofounder Ed Catmull was an aspiring animator as a youth, but did not have enough mechanical skill to pursue art. Instead, he earned a Ph.D. in computer graphics and had a vision for creating computer-generated movies in the future. He developed software and eventually was hired to do short animations for Lucasfilm Ltd. Over almost two decades, he slowly built up momentum and gathered experts to develop this new technology. He formed Pixar. Their short film Luxo Jr. was nominated for an Academy Award and garnered the attention of Disney, who agreed to help them produce feature-length films. These would later become the Toy Story series—and Pixar kept growing from there.

Momentum helps accomplish goals in seven different ways.