Hi everyone! I hope you have great plans for this Memorial Day weekend. We are looking forward to a fun and relaxing holiday–one of our last as a family of 3!
Today I am excited to share some thoughts on a book that is outside my usual genres. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. My husband actually recommended that I read this book. He doesn’t often do that so I was intrigued from the start.
When I thought about this review, I knew I had to do something a little different because this isn’t a novel like I typically read. I don’t want to simply summarize the 7 habits and why they are important. I don’t feel like I can judge the way he presents them either. I’m not even sure how to “rate” such a book. This is a worldwide bestseller that Covey spent years writing and editing. So I thought I would simply share some “book thoughts” about my experience with this book.
Goodreads summarizes this one well: “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.”
How I read this book:
I listened to the audio book on double speed and that worked great to get the principles and ideas without getting bogged down in the long chapters. I followed along in our hard copy so I would stay focused on the book too. I think it would have taken me a lot longer to read if I had just read the book at my own pace. And that would have hindered my experience because I think it was useful to get the full picture in a few months rather than over a year or more.
I also took time after several of the habits to do some of the application activities he suggests at the end of the chapters. I wrote a draft of a personal mission statement. I wrote about my life center. I made lists and goals and charts connected with the habits. I talked with my husband about principles in the chapter and how to apply them in our lives. And that made the book more meaningful for me. Certainly, I haven’t mastered any of the habits yet. But I feel the book was more insightful and practical for me because I completed some of these tasks.
Thoughts about genre
This book is tricky to categorize. It could certainly be categorized as a self-help book. I have not read much motivational/”change your life” literature. I’m sure this book could fit into those categories. But it’s also different because it talks so much about lasting change. It’s not about quick fixes or easy ways to boost your productivity or self esteem. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s about long term change and evaluating your paradigms and goals and the way you interact with self and others. You could (and potentially should) work on these habits for your whole life.
In fact, this book can be overwhelming. There is so much information and so many ideas for how to evaluate and change yourself that it can be paralyzing. I felt that a few times as I read. What helped me is to focus on smaller parts, a single habit or even a part of a single habit. Covey isn’t trying to change readers overnight. Rather he gives readers tools they can use now, tomorrow, next year, and beyond.
I appreciated that this book offers new ways of self change. It’s unique because of the ideas and goals it includes. I haven’t read anything that talks so specifically and eloquently about the need to first change yourself (become independent) and then change the way you interact with others (become interdependent). These ideas really resonated with me. I feel motivated and excited about my potential in my personal growth in both independence and interdependence.
One of my favorite parts of each chapter was Covey’s personal anecdotes. He has practiced what he preaches. He has worked on these habits. He knows it’s hard but also that it’s worth it.
I also liked the practical ways to incorporate habits into life. Like I mention above, he had a list at the end of each chapter of how to start working on each habit. It was helpful to have a concrete place to start.
And I’m a visual learner so I appreciated his charts and graphs to show how these habits fit together. As well as to illustrate how certain habits work. For example, this chart is used throughout the book to show how the habits are connected and build on one another:
I really enjoyed this book. It offers practical and insightful ways to change your thinking, interactions, and life. I felt good about my potential and the ways I can change my life for the better after reading 7 Habits. If you only read one book of this type, I would recommend this one. I don’t think I will be reading a lot of motivational style literature in future. But I am glad to have read this one. It is an excellent resource that I will definitely return to in future.
Now the real journey begins to incorporate these habits in my life!
Have you read any motivational/self-help literature?
Which are your favorites?