cover image Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know

Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know

John C. Maxwell. Thomas Nelson Publishers, $9.99 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-7852-6419-4

This diminutive tome is a particularly sketchy treatise on the already vague subject of leadership, stitched together with excerpts from The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and other Maxwell books and featuring an ad at the back directing readers to a Web site where they can buy one of the author's longer works. Maxwell's themes-don't just pull rank, don't sweat the small stuff, establish rapport with co-workers, ""empower"" underlings-are commonplaces of leadership lore, couched in aphorisms (""The boss says 'I' the leader, 'we'""), pseudo-statistics (""Twenty percent of your priorities will give you 80 percent of your production"") and bromides (""If you lack vision, look inside yourself""). But in distilling this wisdom, the nitty-gritty that might make it useful has been boiled off, leaving readers to grapple unaided with bullet-pointed truisms like ""Deal wisely with difficult people."" Perfunctory leadership profiles of usual suspect Theodore Roosevelt, Princess Di, executives and football notables scarcely flesh out the meager intellectual content of this book, which seems, more than anything, like a $10 congrats card for the recently promoted.