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“The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”: Book Review

The book review on “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow them and people will follow you” is a subject to criticism based on many view points. First, the title of the book stands to be questioned itself; it shows some sense of rigidity and also some form of forced loyalty to the content of the book. It is obvious that the laws will not work for the person reading the book, hence there is no guarantee of good leadership that people will follow without much ado. This may not entirely rely on the review since the author could not have changed the title, but at least this fact should have been appreciated at the introduction or somewhere in between the discussion (Maxwell, 2000).

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Change of the laws over time is appreciated by the author of the review. At this point, it starts to lose its sense of rigidity and surety as observed in the title. Leadership never changes with time, but rather the environment under which the skills are applied. If the laws that were applied a decade can’t be applied anymore, then the confidence in the same is lost, as it is a subject to reviewing after some period of time.

On a positive note, the book review helps a lot, especially for people who may want to purchase the book. It takes some effort to acknowledge the limitation of the book to the nursing practitioners as concerning its applicability. This saves leaders in other areas of knowledge the strain of acquiring a document that may not be completely applicable to their career ideologies.

The laws can also be trustworthy, based on the fact that they are tested and validated during the author’s leadership experience. From this viewpoint, the changes and updating process of these laws are of some sense in making them more useful as it ensures good leadership skills to the end users.

The review mentions on how organizations should put the vision ahead of the leaders but fail to explain this comprehensively. To my own understanding, a reader could stop at this point and seek to understand the vision, as it is made to sound like the gateway to organizational success.

Some laws are mentioned in the review and there is a bit of explanation given about them, while others are completely left out. This does not give enough information to encourage a reader deeply into the book. At least a mention of all the 21 laws could have made the review comprehensive enough hence more meaningful.

Use of prominent people as examples may not make sense to the unknowns who may want to apply the paricular law, no prominent person that used the leadership laws provided is mentioned. It is also not worth stating in a book review that the prominent leaders failed by choosing to apply its laws. The author could have chosen to overlook this and talk of the leaders themselves but, on the other hand, the principles of book reviewing are kept for the latter, as it should not be biased (Maxwell, 1998). The word ‘great’ is also relative according to the context used, being a leadership book, it’s then not advisable to speak of leaders in the range of greatness?

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According to the review, the book seeks to treat leadership as a different entity from management. To the best of my knowledge, these two are quite different, but I will say this is not because it is clearly outlined in the review. It’s unknown how any other person who has little knowledge on the same could interpret this statement. Literally, organizations need managers and not leaders, more explanation on the very motive behind which this was written could have done the review good.


Maxwell, J. (1998). 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will Follow you. New York: Thomas Nelson Inc.

Maxwell, J. (2000). Twenty One Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. New York: Thomas Nelson Inc.

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