Chad Warner's Reviews > The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
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's review
Feb 10, 13

bookshelves: self-help, non-fiction, parenting
Recommended to Chad by: Jeff Disher
Read in March, 2009, read count: 2

This book explains 7 Habits that can make a person more effective personally, professionally, and in family life. Covey shows how to build the healthy relationships that are key to an effective life. This classic is well worth reading for its perspective and practical advice.

Correct Principles: Covey frequently references his Christianity. He says the Habits are based on "Correct Principles" (aka Natural Law) found in Judeo-Christian scriptures and common to major religions.

P/PC Balance: Covey says you must maintain a balance between production (P; your output) and production capability (PC; your ability to produce). You must stay healthy and renew yourself (see Habit 7) or you'll get burned out and become ineffective. He uses the fable of the Goose and the Golden Egg as a metaphor.

Interdependence: Covey says the Habits lead you from dependence to independence to interdependence (cooperating with others to achieve a common goal; producing things greater than the sum of their parts).

The 7 Habits
Habit 1: Be Proactive
You choose how to respond to what life throws at you. Take responsibility for your actions.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Choose your short-term, daily behavior according to the plan you have for your entire life. Think about the legacy you want to leave. Put things in perspective; what would you want people to say at your funeral?

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Daily planning is too narrow and short-sighted. Weekly planning gives a better big-picture perspective of your goals, and allows for the flexibility to deal with the things that will inevitably come up.

People are more important than things, so plan your time accordingly. Be efficient with things, but effective with people. You can't be efficient with relationships; they take time.

Only spend time on things that align with your deep values. Don't waste time on other things, even if it means saying no to requests. Don't prioritize your schedule; schedule your priorities.

Think of tasks in terms of urgency and importance. Focus on the important, even though they seem less urgent. Think preventatively to keep tasks from ever becoming urgent.

Use stewardship delegation instead of "gofer" delegation; teach a person to be the steward of the task you assign to them, rather than constantly telling them to "go for this" or "go for that".

Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Most of life requires cooperation, not competition. Work together with co-workers, friends, and family for mutual benefit. Approach everything in terms of "win/win or no deal"; if you can't reach a deal in which both parties feel they're winning, don't make a deal at all.

Think in terms of the Abundance Mentality rather than the Scarcity Mentality; The quest for recognition, credit, power, and profit isn't a zero-sum game. Be happy when others succeed.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Listen with the intent to understand, not to reply. Diagnose before you prescribe.

To understand others, listen with empathy. To be understood, present your views according to:
ethos: personal credibility
pathos: emotional alignment with the other person
logos: logical reasoning

You can't motivate people by appealing to satisfied needs (money, status, etc.); only unsatisfied needs motivate.

Habit 6: Synergize.
Value the differences in relationships. Oneness is not sameness, it's complementariness. Unity is not uniformity.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Renew and improve in yourself in the following categories, by spending at least an hour each day.
• Physical: Eat right and exercise
• Spiritual: Find and carry an inner peace. Meditate, read scripture, or spend time in nature.
• Mental: Read good literature to gain the insights of others. Write, organize, and plan.
• Social/emotional: Understand others. Serve others, at work or through volunteering.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

One of the Best books ever, this and Think and grow Rich, by N.Hill

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Thanks for this excellent summary of the 7 points Covey is making. Very good to see those a couple of years on from reading the book.

Humey Quite simply, you can not lead others if you can't lead yourself, you will never achieve or gain success without first understanding yourself. That's why the first 3 Habits of this book are all focused inwards on Self. This book is one of the best personal leadership books ever.
Napoleon Hill's book 'Think and Grow Rich' started it all tho, it's not just a book but a manual. All other personal development books are based on this one. Understanding that I can direct/change my life, achieve anything, gain peace and happiness by focusing and directing my thoughts, mindsets & beliefs leading me to behavior differently with actions that will bring me exactly what I desire.
If you know what you really want...Read Napoleon Hill's book and develop the 7 Habits!

Chad Warner Humey, thanks for your comment. I agree that Think and Grow Rich has a lot of practical advice on being successful, but I don't like that it also contains some pseudo-scientific nonsense about cosmic energies and forces. I share more of my thoughts on that book in my review.

message 5: by Soraya (new) - added it

Soraya How can I read this book
Nothing is coming up.

Eric Rickey Thank you for putting so much detail in your review. It helps to look back over this material to try to apply it again. This book can take a while to grasp. Thanks again for sharing in your studies.

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