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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
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Anyone who thinks the audiocassette adaptation of Stephen Covey's bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is a shortcut to reading the book has another thing coming. As a preview, the cassette is worth every one of its 90 minutes; as a substitute for the original, it will only leave you wishing for the rest. There's a reason 7 Habits has sold more than 5 million copies and been translated into 32 languages. Serious work has obviously gone into it, and serious change can likely come out of it--but only with constant discipline and steadfast commitment. As the densely packed tape makes immediately clear, this is no quick fix for what's ailing us in our personal and professional lives.

The tape opens to the silky-smooth, overtrained voice of the female narrator, who's responsible for tying together audio clips from actual Covey seminars. Leaving aside the occasional attempts at promoting Covey and his institute, her script does a first-rate job of making sense of Covey's own intense, analogy-rich style of explaining his habits. There's nothing simple about his approach to becoming an effective person. The first three habits alone--which have to do with personal responsibility, leadership, and self-management--could take years to master. Yet the last four are unattainable, the narrator insists, if you can't acquire the personal security--the "inner core," says Covey--that presumably comes from a mastery of the foundation.

Throughout our lessons, Covey's presence is both learned and thoroughly appealing. He drops references to the likes of Socrates, T.S. Eliot, and Robert Frost with the aplomb of an English professor. And his knack for mixing everyday stories with abstract concepts manages to clarify difficult issues while respecting our intelligence. You could argue that the cassette is nothing more than a clever marketing tool for selling another few million copies of the book. But, even at that, it's worth the investment in time and concentration: in the end, we're moved to learn more about integrating all seven habits in our struggle to become better and, yes, more effective people. (Running time: 1.5 hours, one cassette) --Ann Senechal

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity -- principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

Customer Reviews:

  • A push in the right direction. One of the best ever!
    I have read this book twice already and I am sure I will continue to read it every now and then. For people who don't believe in his/her own strengh the book won't mean a thing. Seven Habits is a book for those who want to grow inside out, and learn how to became more effective not only in business but on every-day life. It's concept are very psycological and, although not specified anywhere, related to our "Emotional Intelligence." I recomend this book to those who want to become more organized, more effective and to find the strengh to do what they want, to accomplish the end they seek. I also like Become a Total Man Magnet: Make Every Man Fall in Love with You Instantly - Make Him Chase You Down Desperately and Beg for Attention...more info
    My husband recommended this book to me, and I couldn't put it down. It was very easy to read. We each read it over a year ago, and yet we reference it ALL THE TIME!

    Covey does a good job with illustrating his points. I think it would have been a boring book to me if anyone else had written it...but Covey made me not want to put it down! It was a page turner!!

    You should definitely read this book!

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  • Excellent book ... a little outdated
    I have read this book almost 8 years ago. A lot changed from that time. The main idea still applies, but I think young generation will feel this book is a little outdated....more info
  • 8th Habit: Don't buy worthless generic books
    The reason why astrologers seem dead on is because they are so generic they would seem to fit anyone's situation. The same goes for this book. This books habits are so generic and so vague that they are practically useless. For instance, "sharpen the saw" is so vague and common sense that it is useless. You can sharpen your saw much better by buying a different book....more info
  • exactly what I ordered
    I really like the service and the product. I get what I ordered in a timely manner....more info
  • simplicity
    I bought this book over a year ago. Now I can judge the results of the book from experience. Overall, the book is great tool for any person to begin changing her life, but it does lack the how-to quite often. That part is left to the reader unexpressed.

    As many of the negative reviews of this book indicate, there are some underlying Christian, more specifically Mormon, ideas presented in the 7 Habits. I myself am an agnostic yet after reading the 7 Habits I found nothing to dissuade me from testing the ideas put forth by Covey. None of the habits suggests the reader should convert, abandon his/her own thoughts or be eternally damned. If I dismissed his writing simply due to my assumptions of his belief or my disagreement of some of this thoughts, I would be no different than all the fundamentalists who do so in the name of God. So I tested the habits.

    I was already a person who enjoyed a successful family and financial life as fruits of my own labor. That didn't stop the book from making a difference. Truly seeking to empathize while silencing my own thoughts and experiences led to a far greater bond with my family members. Putting first things first and beginning with the end in mind, ABSOLUTELY progressed my life. It has been over a year. Thanks to this book, I found the courage, discipline, and time to create a vision for myself. I left my 6 figure salary job that I knew deep down made no difference beyond the appropriate use of my paycheck to start my own company; one that created synergy and actively and selflessly gave back to the community. The company is doing great and my employees are onboard for life. I have never been so fulfilled inside yet I know my self-development is not yet complete. I believe I had the thirst and initiated the search myself. Eventually I would get there with or without the 7 habits, but it held my hand through the initial stages.

    What the book lacks is further practices on such topics as nurturing one's independent will. The wording itself is rather proprietary, so beyond a thorough explanation Covey should have provided more ideas or exercises on the development of this "human endowment". This is a trend throughout the 7 Habits; one that I feel takes away from the effectiveness of it.
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  • Great book!!
    I am only half way through this book but I have to say it is very inspiring. I will read this over and over....more info
  • Read it, learn it, apply it, and read it again.
    While I read through this wonderful book, I came to a striking realisation: There exist ways to deal with any situation in life effectively. Stephen Covey has put these into writing.
    The challenge remains to live by these universal principles - which Covey did not create but so prudently recognises - but realising they exist is the first step.
    How one person, through years of research even, put this vital gem so rich in content together escapes me. It's as if the book was written from the creator of these concepts themselves - a higher force....more info
  • Over simplistic, general rhetoric with religious overtones.
    I will keep my review short, but can agree with most of the one star reviews here.

    It is not so much the material in the book, as it is quite well structured and makes a lot of sense (though very simplistic and obvious).

    My problem is with the tone of the book, and Covey's narcissistic view of himself as some sort of enlightened superior being who talks of his theories as "immutable laws and truths". Is he for real?

    When he talks of being "humble" and provides vague anecdotes about "effective" and "ineffective" people he simply reveals the fact that he believes people should think and act like he says they should. I find this disturbing and insulting, and quite scary that so many people like this book.

    I'm writing this because in my younger days, I loved self help books and this was one of them I read along with Robbins etc. With all of these, the material is not so much the problem for me as I find a lot of it very helpful. Rather, it is the "guru" persona that these men and women adopt, and the childlike devotion of their fans which is quite sad.

    I have a good friend who whenever we get into a lively debate about a subject, instead of expressing her own views, says "Well, Anthony Robbins says that blah blah blah", or "It's like Dr Phil says, blah blah blah blah".

    Covey tries to come across as an infallible expert on life because he has read hundreds of self help books, but his is about "character" not "personality". The strategy is to make the reader believe that the problems in his/her life are all due to flaws in character. Thus, Covey has a very strong and moral character so he can tell you how to change what a loser you are and you can be like him.

    You do not need this book. Read the table of contents, and you'll get all you need from it. You can think about the material, and not have to go through Covey's dreary, dull and self righteous ramblings.

    He really is a fuddy duddy. ...more info
  • Helps Plan and Maximize A Life
    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    This classic book provides steps to building a productive and organized life. Valuable for personal and business application. I review it in the last two lectures of my Principles of Management course to assist students in developing life and career plans. ...more info
  • A classic and a must read
    I know a lot of people who have done great things after reading this book. Obviously, not right after finishing, but I think it helps your frame of mind if you are driven, and success and accomplishment is important to you. It speaks to some fundamental truths about human nature that allow the book to stand the test of time....more info
  • dissatisfied customer
    Never received the book on tape, sent questions to the seller twice. no feed back...with most items now you can at least track if they have been delivered, even without a return receipt. ALL I received after the second emial to sender was a form letter (AMAZON?) saying basically tough luck.... Not a happy buyer out $30+ bucks... ...more info
  • 7 Habits of Highly effective People
    I'm not happy with CD at all. I thought it would be longer and about the chapters in the book. This is just an intro and I didn't care for this CD at all. I recommend to buy the book instead. ...more info
  • Excellent
    Excellent book and a great author. Everyone should read this book. The material can be applied to business or personal relationships. ...more info
  • Excellent Book
    The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a great book. Developing the habits in this book has helped me be more productive and less stressed than the advice of any other single book, except the Bible....more info
  • 5 star review based on a 1 star review...
    I replaced my copy of this book (from the early 1990's) and took a look at the reviews. Many of the one star reviews are priceless (I stopped reading them after one quipped "I don't want to live my life effectively, that's boring..."). As a change of pace, I thought I would post my own review in response to a one star review.

    There are several one star reviews to choose from, but the one below summarizes them all quite well. It has badly missed who Steven Covey is, tries to compartmentalize the material into common sense, tells you it's fluff or psycho-babble, and then gives you a quick lecture on how to REALLY change your life.

    There is in fact, no psycho-babble presented here, no quick fix, no gimmick methods to becoming personally effective. Although at times awareness can be powerful and create a revolutionary change in thought, students of this book know it is a journey, over years not months, and you never really "arrive".

    What Covey has done is to outline habits that are based on unchanging principles, the culmination of his life's work. He has, by his own admission, not invented the material, but rather organized it in a logical path the reader can digest. I believe there is one reliable confirmation when looking at personal development statements or claims, which is to ask, "What is the alternative"? Very few authors hold up to this litmus test, Covey succeeds repeatedly.

    I always thought the one criticism someone could give this book was that it is idealistic (in the bad sense). Of course once you decide to make a commitment to personal change it's obvious that it is idealistic (in the good sense), you're trying to become better!

    >"Covey isn't as bad as Tony Robbins, but he is in the same ball park..."

    Comparing Steven Covey to Tony Robbins is just silly, a little bit of research would have been enlightening. Covey was an esteemed long time university professor at BYU teaching organizational behavior, business management and was Harvard trained. He does not do infomercials or give pep rally speeches. See how many respected people in academia you can find who believe Covey practices pseudo-science.

    >"The few nuggets of wisdom that can be found buried among all the garbage in 7 Habits are common sense that any one who has been paying attention in life should already know at a young age. Allow me to elaborate:"

    >"1. Be Proactive. You get to decide how you react to things. Your mom taught you this as "two wrongs don't make a right." When your kid brother hit you, it didn't make things better to hit him back."

    Incorrect. The main point of this chapter is to recognize and consider the unique conditioning we absorb from our family, friends, business life and environment and to identify and consider the influence of that scripting. It is also an awareness to what so many people do unconsciously, spend energy on things out of their control.

    >"2. Begin with the end in mind. This is called planning ahead. Humans have been doing this for millennia."

    Wrong. It's not about planning ahead, people already do this, it's about putting your values, long term goals and the things that matter most at the front of everything you do, everyday. It is pragmatically focusing on the result and this is powerfully different than planning ahead. What's the alternative?

    >"3. Put first things first. Uh, yeah. "Junior, eat your vegetables if you want to have dessert. Clean your room before you go out and play." Etc. This one strikes me as the "Well, duh!" habit."

    Not even close, in fact, it's almost the opposite of this. Put First Things First means, put what is important (principles) first. Anyone can follow a schedule, effective people work on what's important, not what's in front of them. They have the courage to say no to the things that will not be preventative, bring long term value or build relationships. Their calendar is based on goals from the various roles in their life; personal, family, professional, service, etc.

    >"4. Think Win-Win. Two kids want to watch different TV shows. Mom says they don't get to watch anything until they work out a solution. Yet another example of something that any good parent would have taught us. "

    Nope. It's not just about working out a solution, it's about the advance agreement and trust to produce only a solution that is mutually beneficial. It is with this distinctive prior arrangement that real freedom and creativity to solve a problem or produce a solution can be achieved. What's the alternative?

    >"5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. In the sales and marketing game this is called knowing your customer needs. As a child, mom and dad should have taught you about thinking about other people's feelings. It's all the same."

    Did you really read the book? If there is one habit that can, with practice, have immediate positive benefits, it's this one. This habit is about deep understanding, knowing the need to be influenced through empathic listening and Covey describes both the method and theory here. The example realistic father-son conversation demonstrates this principle superbly.

    >"6. Synergize. Ever play team sports as a kid? Again, Duh!"

    You didn't read the book, did you? It's not about playing together, it's recognizing the relationship as the most important part of creative cooperation. It's expanding on the overall principle that we achieve much more together (interdependence) than individually (independence) by affirming rather than fearing differences. What's the alternative?

    >"7. Sharpen the saw. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

    Sigh. It's selectively engaging in activities that are in line with your values that will bring the balance and continued renewal needed to be effective.

    >"There is only one habit of highly successful people, and that is that they DON'T waste their time reading self-help nonsense. YOU shouldn't either. If you want to read something to better yourself, read educational information that will make you better at your job, being a parent, being a spouse, a citizen, more active politically. Learn about the world and how it works. Learn about people. Learn how to change the oil in your car or build a tree fort."

    Thanks for the speech! Question: What educational information could possibly make you a better a parent, spouse or employee than deeply understanding and valuing relationships, building trust, learning to communicate and listen effectively, basing your life on principles and your values? Maybe, it would be in a book on exactly these things...
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  • A Tool for a Good Life
    I keep this book in my special library. I bought it to get organized and learned how to both organize my days and prioritize my personal life. This book emphasizes being effective by deciding what is important and what is not. I would recommend it those that just can't seem to figure out how to fit life into 24 hour days, and puts spirituality at the forefront....more info
  • 7 Habits that You May Already Be Doing
    If you are already a highly motivated person, this book won't be too insightful but it will help you focus your energy in a positive direction....more info
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Unabridged Audio Program)
    Good product, new as advertised,13 discs,and program is well organized and easy to listen to....more info
  • Life changing...
    A recipe for life success (I first heard it 8 years ago). Covey's style is compelling in audio - for me much better than reading the book.
    Listen to it twice (at least) to let it sink in....more info
  • Kudos to Stephen R. Covey
    7 Habits of Highly Effective People is an excellent book with effective and powerful concepts to improve anyone's life. Personally I had an `Aha' moment with habit 5; seek first to understand, then to be understood. I can't tell you what a difference this has made in my life. I recommend it to anyone who seeks success professionally and personally. I found that when I applied these concepts habitually success followed quickly. ...more info
  • Disappointed
  • If you want to change your life, this is a good first step!
    I work in a domestic violence shelter and our supervisor asked us to read this and I am so glad she did. This is a great step in changing your own perspectives and learning to understand others. It has helped so much in my day to day interactions with clients and co-workers....more info
  • Crucial Book to Read When One is Ready to Excel!
    I own a signed Fireside First Edition (1989) of this book, and it is one of my prized possessions. The reader before me, someone I know must now be someone very important, had underlined the most important topics in this ever popular self-improvement text. As I read it, I can actually feel the impact these words had on so many other readers Worldwide. I see that the reader before me underlined "trust is the highest form of human motivation" and then I am amazed that years later, Covey publishes "The Speed of Trust." I take the words in text seriously, as I read that I "must get involved with training and development" and of course, the reader underlined this part as well.

    I am convinced that all leaders have read and mastered the skills in this book, and I also know that my book was read by one of those leaders. Me! Andrea Samadi, author of The Secret for Teens Revealed: How Parents, Teachers, and Teenagers Can Inspire Leadership and Transform Lives...more info
  • Should be required reading in schools!!!!
    This is the best book for helping you to be aware and to listen to others. This is a way of life. Read it with pen in hand for note taking and take action!!!! Keep it handy for reference and re-reading....more info
  • It's all in the habit!
    Habits! Yes, consistent, belief-based, and optimized habits are the only way to be your best self. Thoughts are the parents of our experience and performance. This guy will guide you to it. You will also learn how to optimize these habits with Rosalene Glickman's book, Optimal Thinking: How to Be Your Best Self (endorsed by Covey). These books will bring that optimal consistency into every aspect of your life.
    ...more info
  • Review
    Speedy delivery. In very good condition. However didn't realise it was going to be this small. However, handy....more info
  • Seven Ideas for Personal Growth
    "What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say." ~ Emerson

    "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" is a book I'd heard about so many times I actually thought I'd already reviewed it. Once I realized the book was new to me I started reading it with very high expectations. From the start Stephen Covey seems to meander through a wide variety of loosely related topics. By page 77 I went to read all the one-star reviews because I needed a break and seemed to be bored. I agreed with many of the reviews but felt I should give the book another try so I kept on reading.

    The book became more interesting as Stephen Covey started to talk about being reactive vs. proactive. I did think that perhaps some people were offended by the thought of working on yourself instead of blaming others for your problems. I figured that might explain some of the negativity as some books work like a mirror to reveal your faults. The other complaint I have to agree with is that Stephen Covey has a very complex writing style. He also keeps referring to the same examples over and over again - the golden eggs and the goose is used so many times I lost count but felt irritated each time it was spoken of again. Once would have been fine and for some reason it just set me on edge each time I read about it. He also uses the word "paradigm" obsessively.

    In this book you will also learn a lot about his family's strengths and weaknesses. I'm not sure I would have told some of the stories in this book because they seemed too personal. He calls his sons "honey" in the book and that would seem more appropriate if he was talking about his wife. I always feel for a writer's families as they are exposed in a light I find unattractive.

    So what did I learn from this book? Here are the seven things I learned:

    1. Be Proactive
    2. Write a mission statement for my life
    3. Prioritize
    4. Seek mutual benefit in all human interactions
    5. Listen more and talk less
    6. Value difference
    7. Take care of body and soul - exercise, meditate, be an eternal learner, cultivate meaningful relationships

    I liked the ideas of using visualization to create success. The ideas about writing a mission statement for your life and being opportunity-minded seemed like good ideas. The quotes in the book are quite good and since I collect quotes I was happy to have found some new ones that were very meaningful.

    For the most part I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be more successful especially in business. I think the ideas are good but for the most part felt that the book was overrated and at times rather irritating. I didn't feel good or "seasoned with love" while reading this book so I'm only giving it three stars.

    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." ~ Albert Einstein

    ~The Rebecca Review
    ...more info
  • Phenomenal. A true gem and a life changer.
    At first glance the seemingly over the top reviews convinced me to purchase this book. After just finishing it a few moments ago, I must say that the reviews haven't given it justice. This is truly a life-changing experience, which allowed me to get back on track. Starting from an almost, if not entirely, narcissistic standpoint I am now humbled. A must read and a true hand book for living....more info
  • Some good points, some bad points.
    Dr Covey has written a book with some valuable points, which would be useful for any person to remember and apply. Although some say that they're common sense, sometimes we need reminding of common sense. Being proactive (i.e. doing something is better than doing nothing), starting with the end in sight (i.e. visualise what you really want and plan to get it), putting first-things-first (i.e. don't procrastinate), think Win-win (obviously valuable), and Seek-first-to-understand-then-to-be-understood are all useful and valuable habits. The idea of being principle-centred is also worth examining, as is the idea of concentrating on your circle of influence.

    However, this book could have been much shorter; probably less than half the length. Dale Carnegie covered many of the ideas fifty years earlier, and wrote more clearly. Dr Covey's writing style would have George Orwell spinning in his grave. Like many authors in the 'self-help' genre, Dr Covey's writing is imprecise, long-winded, laden with exaggeration, and littered with clich¨¦s.

    The 'Synergize' chapter should simply be excised; Dr Covey spends an entire chapter gushing about situations in which enthusiastic people got together, opened-up, became excited, and produced something wonderful. That isn't a habit; it's an effect. It's all very nice when it happens, but it ignores the situations where enthusiastic people get together, open-up, become excited, and produce something terrible or utterly disastrous because they were all too excited to examine risk. Late-90's dot-com companies in particular spring to mind. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds was written about this phenomenon.

    Dr Covey's advice relating to tyrannical bosses is awful. I would expect that anyone who adopts Dr Covey's advice in a situation where they are forced to deal with a sociopath is about to discover the meaning of 'disappointment'. Dr Covey makes the error of assuming that deep-down, all people are reasonable... if they were, his ideas would work. Unfortunately, they are not, and adopting Dr Covey's techniques with a sociopathic manipulator (they're more common than you think), or even worse, a sycophantic group of sociopaths, is a recipe for disaster. Sometimes, the best advice is 'get as far as you can from that person and situation, as fast as you can'; I doubt whether Dr Covey has ever given anyone that advice.

    This leads me to another thread common to self-help writers; the unwillingness to admit that their approaches won't necessarily work for all people in all situations, and the accompanying focus on only the positive outcomes that can come from following their advice. Dr Covey's book is an example of this; no warnings, no caveats; the whole thing is presented as a path to salvation.

    Finally, the anecdotes... they're tedious. One after the other, we hear unverifiable anecdotes, which could have just as easily have been invented. Or they could be completely one-sided; the other people in the situation may have had a completely different interpretation. I couldn't help when reading the book but wonder if Dr Covey's anecdotes were all that they seemed.

    So there you have it; a middling book which promises much and delivers some. This book is worth a read if you go in with your eyes open, and think critically. But for the impressionable reader (it is often impressionable people who buy self-help books) some parts of the book may lead to disappointment....more info
  • The finest book ever written
    Many think this is a book for managers and the businessman. Wrong!

    If you truly want to spend the rest of your life as a happy, fulfilled person, buy this book. You know you are giving it its dues when you revisit the sections on the first three habits time and time again.

    As a forty plus something yearold, the first set of habits took me several months to digest.

    Covey is the finest philosopher of our time, and this is truly a tour de force.

    Dave...more info
  • Book as a Gift
    This book was purchased for someone at work, who had expressed an interest in getting another copy of the book - The 7 Habits. They're enjoying this book, even though it wasn't the one they were talking about. They tell me that this one is better than the one they had read. Thank you from both of us....more info