21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership


The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership features insights learned from Maxwell’s 30-plus years of leadership successes and mistakes with observations from the worlds of business, politics, sports, religion, and military conflict.

This book is recognized as one of the most trusted and referenced leadership books. Maxwell guides leaders through 21 simple leadership truths (laws) to improve leadership ability.

Key Topics or Truths


This Book is Good For...

The book is great for anyone in business or owning their own business. However, we are all in leadership one way or another and can benefit from this book.

How I Use this Book to make disciples

I have disciples read three or four laws a week and review their highlights and thoughts the following week. It takes us five or six weeks to cover the entire book. But I find that disciples, combined with their Bible reading, can only process and retain so much. Other disciple makers, great ones, cover this book in three weeks to make room for more extra-Biblical reading in Discipleship Two.

The content is quite complete and self-teaching. I press disciples to justify or connect each of Maxwell’s laws to the Bible. I also remind them of Maxwell’s definition of “irrefutable”: the laws apply whether you pay attention to them or not.

I love this book because of its timeless nature and overall solid principles. It is simply written for the inexperienced leadership student.

Real Life Story

I bought this book at a Christian conference when it first came out. I was pretty excited because the keynote about the book was inspiring and I wanted to be a better leader. So I drank the Kool-Aid so to speak. None of the laws ever let me down but as I matured spiritually and as a leader, I moved to different leadership books with more Biblical leanings. In fact, one of my favorites is Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders. When John Maxwell endorsed the latest version of Sanders’ book, he said, “Everything I learned, I learned from Sanders.” The 21 Laws made me a better leader quicker and combined with other works I became a better leader deeper.

Know Issues or Controversies

Some disciples push back on some of Maxwell’s content because they do not perceive the laws as universal. Others push back because not all of the laws have clear Biblical connections. For example, Law Thirteen reads, “Followers may doubt what their leaders say, but they usually believe what they do” which has no clear Biblical backing. It is important to remind disciples this is a business leadership book by a Christian. His heart is in the correct place and the laws are pretty solid. Disciples should be set free to challenge (critical thinking) and wrestle with the laws. Leaders should be clear when there appears to be no clear Biblical support for a claim.

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John Maxwell
Book Details
Reading Time
Five to Six Weeks
Related Reads

This pairs well with Spiritual Leadership by Sanders. I use Sanders’ book second.

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