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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Important Quotes

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“I believe that success is within the reach of just about everyone. But I also believe that personal success without leadership ability brings only limited effectiveness.”

(Chapter 1, Page 24)

At the core of John C. Maxwell’s philosophy on leadership is the idea that everyone who wants to become a leader and is unafraid of working for it can succeed. In other words, people do not need to be born with talent. Most importantly, people who are born with the ability to lead but do not hone their skills will sooner or later reach a skill ceiling. They can only overcome this by further improving their ability or by dedicating additional effort.

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“True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated. It must be earned.”

(Chapter 2, Page 32)

Maxwell argues that leaders are not the same as CEOs or managers. Whereas leadership necessitates a skillset, managing is only a social or organizational position. A manager can exert influence over others through their position of power, but cannot do the same without their position. A true leader does not need power or a position to influence others; they simply do because of their character and vision.

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“Becoming a leader is a lot like investing successfully in the stock market. If your hope is to make a fortune in a day, you’re not going to be successful.”

(Chapter 3, Page 44)

Chapter 3 highlights the idea that the best leaders continue to work on self-improvement. No leader can rest on their laurels—their effectiveness is measured not only by their number of followers, but by how much they grow on their own. In other words, lifelong leaders are also lifelong learners.