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I really did not expect to like this book. I generally find the self help genre weak and I expected this title to be one more christian based positive thinking book. There is a tiny bit of faith-based stuff in the afterward, but it strives to be any-god-will-do. Mostly it is detailed, ordered, steps to, over time, improve your effectiveness.
The Seven Habits (plus the new eighth one) are:
Be Pro-Active, Set Goals, Prioritize, Think Win-Win, Listen, Synergize, Maintain, & Inspire
This list seems a bit trite, but the author takes care to build each concept upon another. It is more realistic than most self-help books and does not promise a quick fix, or riches, or power, it instead suggests an effective pattern for somewhat steady improvement. This system goes beyond having a "open mindset" to having an "abundance mindset". This does not mean an abundance of stuff, but noticing that many situations are not zero-sum, and that win-win net-positive situations are often, if not almost always, possible.
Of course doing all the things the author suggests is non-trivial, but they are generally good suggestions for making progress once you are committed to change.
The writing and narration is quite clear, folksy, and pleasant, and far from the exuberance of some books in this genre. Some may find the folksiness a bit slow and boring, try speeding it up.
BTW - some reviews mention chapter ordering issues that seem to have been fixed.
23 of 23 people found this review helpful
Too religious? Irrational? Morality? What book are these people reading?
Does the author mention religion? Yes. He clearly states that he believes in God. That takes up approximately 2 sentences in the entire book (though he says a little more in the afterword). He also mentions that all enduring religions AS WELL AS all enduring philosophical systems agree on certain principles of human maturity and interaction, and those are the principles he bases the book on. But is The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg religious, or even spiritual? Because that's by far the primary principle in the book.
Now, I guess you could say some parts talk about morality, but not in the sense of "you must love your neighbor" or whatever. And yes, the part about being honest could be seen as morality, but considering the whole point is that honesty is a requirement for having people trust you, it strikes me that many of these negative reviews may be written by people who wanted a quick fix, a set of numerical steps on how to be successful.
But that is not what this book is about. The point of this book is that you will never be content in your life if you are looking for contentment OUTSIDE OF your life. It all has to come from within -- that is, your character, who you are. There's nothing moral about that. There's nothing religious about that. But there's also nothing easy about it. This book is work. Lifelong work. And a lot of people simply are not ready for the implications. The first time I read it I didn't realize how far away from the objective I was. But as I've grown and reread the book, I've discovered how deep it goes.
Of course, none of this is scientific. None of it is rational. That isn't the point. We aren't solving sudoku or splitting atoms. We are dealing with human emotions, and there's nothing rational about emotions. But there can be a solid approach to controlling our lives, and that's what this book is all about.
I just wish they'd hired a professional to read it.
215 of 232 people found this review helpful
Like others on here I initially found the voice monotone and dry with none of the usual punch and uplift found in other personal improvement readings. But on reflection I think that this bland style works better in the long run. It allows you to listen, really listen to what he is saying rather than be short term uplifted. A long book taken at what seems a leisurely pace but I do not think it could have been shortened and still get the message across. This is a casserole not a microwave meal.
46 of 49 people found this review helpful
I'd known about this book for a long time and it was always on my list of books to read (listen to). I found the 7 habits fascinating. The age of the book does come across and it is a little preachy but Stephen Covey's research, conclusions and insights are staggering in their depth. Although you come away feeling that a lot of what he says is common sense, the vast majority of people, including myself, would never think in those terms. Stephen unravels what it is to be human and how to make the most of that gift. I can't believe anyone listening could fail to benefit hugely from the experience.
50 of 54 people found this review helpful
Quite frankly, I wasn't blown away by this book. I dont think Covey presented anything life changing and as he admits within this book - he didn't actually invent anything. Maybe my opinion would be different if I read/listened to this when I was younger and still finding my place in the world. None the less, the principles covered are important life skills and everyone should learn them from somewhere - which may or may not be this book.
What Covey did do well was arrange the principals into an easy to understand framework and relate it to every day life. On some occasions though, I feel he made far to much explanation and the end product could have been a much shorter piece of work while still maintaining its effectiveness. If you dont want to listen to 13 hours of this, Covey summarizes the content on his website, freely available to read through in about 20 minutes.
It came off as a little preachy in parts and while Covey is free to have one, religion doesn't really need to be in this book and all of these principles are 100% achievable without it.
I found Covey's reading to be top-notch though. His voice tone wasn't dreary, was clear and even calming, and I could easily listen to him narrate other of his works. The only thing annoying in the presentation was that awful little jingle/harmony they played between sections.
34 of 39 people found this review helpful
In rebuilding our civilisation we need to reclaim the True North principles that made it great. These are based on natural laws that are embodied in human nature.
Key amongst these is recognising people as persons who are ends in themselves and understanding that ultimately we are responsible for our own lives.
In this masterpiece, the Late Stephen Covey takes us through the journey of personal transformation from the inside out. Starting with accepting responsibility for that which we can influence, we design our lives and learn to achieve a private victory. We then learn to engage with others on a win-win basis, learning to understand them and ensure we're understood so that we can build better solutions together.
Last of all, we need to constantly renew ourselves. This is an excellent book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful