Book Review – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey)

Steven Covey's 7 HabitsI first heard of The 7 Habits from one of my mentors in college. He constantly referenced Stephen Covey’s words. If this was a random person’s suggestion, I might have dismissed it, but Dr. Singley is a highly accomplished and dare I say, highly effective person. Even though this book was written 25 years ago, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is still a relevant work.

I’m very impressed with how Covey first communicates the book’s purpose. Too many authors launch into the content of their book without giving the context and process for how to implement their findings. I think we often try breaking bad habits without any plan to replace the bad with the good. For many of us, we assume the rat race of busyness is indicative of success. Covey suggests otherwise…

“It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy – very busy – without being very effective.” (The 7 Habits, p. 98)

The research Covey shares about perspective driving response is very interesting. I think our definition of success is sometimes skewed by our personal agenda instead of empirical reality. By combining perspective and outside response, Covey coaches his readers to develop habits within the right context.

I also appreciate Covey’s value of interdependence when it comes to setting habits. This is a foreign thought for many purpose-driven individuals, including myself. I’m a goal-setting, flag-planting, land-claiming, driven personality, but the idea of building healthy habits in community makes sense with both my faith and Covey’s work.

The most valuable insight I gained from Covey’s work is a new approach to setting goals. I took each of Covey’s habits and started rebuilding my monthly goals. It’s taking a while, but I’m hoping to share my implementation of Covey’s habits in tomorrow’s post.

One of the biggest mistakes readers could make is discounting The 7 Habits as a dated resource. So much of this book contains timeless principles that I fully expect it to still be relevant fifty years from now. Building healthy, successful habits is easier than you might expect. You can start by picking up a copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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