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641 of 685 found the following review helpful:
The book is very good reading material.Mar 02, 1999
As the title of the book implies, Covey describes the seven habits of highly effective people and techniques for adopting the seven habits. Covey makes clear that an individual must make a paradigm shift before incorporating these habits into his/her own personal life. A paradigm is essentially the way an individual perceives something. Covey emphasizes that if we want to make a change in our lives, we should probably first focus on our personal attitudes and behaviors. He applies different examples via family, business, and society in general.
This book's focal point is on an approach to obtain personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Covey points out that private victories precede public victories. He makes the example that making and keeping promises to ourselves comes before making and keeping promises to others.
Habits 1, 2, and 3 deal with self-mastery. They move an individual from dependency on others to independence. Habits 4, 5, and 6 deal with teamwork, cooperation, and communication. These habits deal with transforming a person from dependency to independence to interdependence. Interdependence simply means mutual dependence. Habit 7 embodies all of the other habits to help an individual work toward continuous improvement.
Habit 1 discusses the importance of being proactive. Covey states that we are responsible for our own lives; therefore, we possess the initiative to make things happen. He also points out that proactive people so not blame various circumstances for their behaviors but they realize behavior comes from one's conscious. Covey also explains that the other type of person is reactive. Reactive people are affected by their social as well as physical surroundings. This means that if the weather is bad, then it affects their behavior such as their attitude and performance.
He also explains that all problems that are experienced by individuals fall into one of three categories, which are direct control, indirect control, or no control. The problems that are classified under direct control are the problems that involve our own behavior. The problems classified as indirect control encompasses problems that we can do nothing about. The problems classified as no control are those that we can do nothing about.
Habit 2 focuses on beginning with the end in mind. Covey wants the reader to envision his/her funeral. This may sound disheartening but his goal is to help you think about the words that you wish to be said about you; it can help the individual visualize what you value the most. To begin with the end simply means to start with your destination in mind. That gives an individual a sense of where he/she presently is in their life. One has to know where they are going to make sure that they are headed in the right direction. Covey also mentions that the most effective way to begin with the end is by developing a personal mission statement. After doing that, you should identify your center of attention. Are you spouse centered, money centered, family centered, etc. The he tells you depending on you core of interest, your foundation for security, guidance, and power.
Habit 3 is the practical fulfillment of Habits 1 and 2. Covey accentuates that Habits 1 and 2 are prerequisite to Habit 3. He states that an individual cannot become principle centered developing their own proactive nature; or without being aware of your paradigms; or the capability of envisioning the contribution that is yours to make. One must have an independent will. This is the ability to make decisions and to act in accordance with them.
Habit 4 deals with the six paradigms of interaction, which are win/win, win/lose, lose/win, lose/lose, win, and win/win or no deal. Win/win is a situation in which everyone benefits something. It is not your way or my way; it is a better way. Win/lose declares that if I win then you lose. Simply put, I get my way; you don't get yours. Win/lose people usually use position, power, possessions, or personality to get their way. The win/lose type of person is the person that feels that if I lose; you win. People who feel this way are usually easy to please and find the strength of others intimidating. When two win/lose people get together both will lose resulting in a lose/lose situation. Both will try to get the upper end of the stick but in the end, neither gets anything. The person that simply thinks to win secures their own ends and leaves it up to others to secure theirs. The win/win or no deal person means that if there is not a suitable solution met that satisfies both parties then there is no agreement.
Habit 5 deals with seeking means of effective communication. This habit deals with seeking first to understand. However, we usually seek first to be understood. Most people to not listen with the intent to understand but with the intent to reply. The act of listening to understand is referred to as empathic listening. That means you try to get into the person's frame of mind and think as they are thinking.
Habit 6 discuses combining all of the other habits to prepare us for the habit of synergy. Synergy means that the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Possessing all of the habits will benefit an individual more than possessing one or two of them. Synergism in communication allows you to open your mind to new possibilities or new options.
Habit 7 involves surrounds the other habits because it is the habit that makes all of the others possible. It is amplifying the greatest asset you have which is yourself. It is renewing your physical, emotional, mental, and social nature. The physical scope involves caring for yourself effectively. Spiritual renewal will take more time. Our mental development comes through formal education. Quality literature in our field of study as well as other fields help to broaden our paradigms. Renewing the social dimension is not as time consuming as the others. We can start by our everyday interactions with people.
Moving along the upward spiral requires us to continuously learn, commit, and do on higher planes. This is essential to keep progressing. At the end of each habit, there are application suggestions or exercises that help you become a more effective person. This is definitely not a quick fix it book. The concepts should be studied in order to be fully achieved. I think if you learn to use these 7 habits, it will change your life.
This is a must-have book.
680 of 773 found the following review helpful:
Not bad, but "over-intellectualized."Jun 13, 2001
By Brooks White
The book is not bad. It's got some good advice, and if you live your life by the "Seven Habits," then you're going to come out better than if you didn't live by them. But it's my opinion that Covey has made something quite simple quite complex. In other words, I believe that most of the "Seven Habits" are nothing profound: treat others like you would like to be treated), be goal-oriented, manage your time wisely, seek the wisdom and insight of others, be slow to speak and quick to listen - nothing new here. The problem is that Covey tends to intellectualize these concepts to the point that many readers may find it difficult to understand what he's talking about at times. And, those that do understand will become frustrated that he takes a whole lot of pages to say something that could have been dealt with in fairly short order.
168 of 191 found the following review helpful:
A OUTSTANDING BOOK!Aug 02, 1998
Stephen Covey has written one of the best works ever in personal development and a refreshing change from so much verbage out there in other works. I have been an avid student of personal development since the 70's and learned a lot from this excellent work. I also highly recommend "SUPERSELF" by Charles Givens, another extraordinary work by an equally extraordinary man. I have read & reread Seven Habits and SuperSelf several times over the last few years and always get something new out of each every time. Excellent books to help you succeed in any area of endeavor.
169 of 193 found the following review helpful:
This is a SUPER BOOKJun 19, 1999
Although I have read many personal development books, 7 Habits is by far the best. No hype, hoopla, pyscho-babble that is so prevalent today, however, I submit that 7 Habits will be around long after the hypsters are gone. I work in a 1,500 staff facility and 7 Habits is required reading for all management staff. I also recommend Superself, possibly one of the most underrated books out there and Financial Self Defense which in my opinion, is the financial book version of 7 Habits.
97 of 109 found the following review helpful:
A clear diagnosis for effectivnessDec 02, 2005
By Samuel Dildine Stinson
"If you don't have confidence in the diagnosis, you won't have confidence in the prescription" (244)
Stephen Covey has much to say on the qualities of effective people. Covey's purpose in detailing the seven habits is to help people improve themselves. The seven habits are woven into a tapestry on a diagram that shows the working of all seven habits in communion. When viewing the diagram, one is reminded of Benjamin Franklin's engraving of the snake which was divided into thirteen pieces, with the caption "Join or Die." Each of the seven habits is integral to viewing the picture as a whole, as well as seeing the development from dependence to independence to interdependence. The reader is pulled into activities for further application, to decide what type of Quadrant II activities exist, and to find what is at the center of the reader's life in a bid to understand how paradigms work. The first three habits, which lead to independence, a private victory, lead to the final four steps, which include public victory.
Habit #1: Be Proactive
Being proactive is the foundation of the entire seven habits paradigm. In a sense, all the other habits are types of being proactive. This entails a realization that you are a person who can take direct control of a situation and, even if you have no actions that you are allowed to perform, you can still control your outlook.
Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind
Covey begins this section with the description of the reader's funeral as an illustration of how one end in view can change the previous years' effort. The visualized step of seeing the end is the first part of any successful plan.
Habit #3: Put First Things First
The second step of a successful plan, following the visualization, is the managing step, that of physically performing the task.
Habit #4: Think Win/Win
Out of six possible scenarios, Win/Win is the highest form of agreement between parties that empowers all involved and does not sour the milk of future relations with resentment.
Habit #5: Seek first to Understand, then to Be Understood
Covey says that this is the most immediately applicable of all the seven habits. He is right. However, this is probably the most difficult habit to practice since it requires a major paradigm shift in how one views communication. Communication is not a pipe to send information with a limited bandwidth. Rather, it is like a circuit that requires lessening of resistance to allow the proper current through. The current is the message and the resistance is our willingness to control our reaction and proactive empathic listening.
Habit #6: Synergize
Synergy is not "'sin-energy' the energy of sinfulness" as some punning Christian might say. Synergy is what happens when a group of independent people coalesce their creative energies and the result is more than the sum of their individual input. It is the culmination of the other habits and it requires integrity to be most effective. Synergy is a high type of compromise in which all parties maintain a Win/Win situation.
Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw
When Covey details sharpening the saw, he gives the reader one final abstraction of thought, a level above the others that entails keeping all the other skills sharpened by continued planning, practice, and renewal. These are the dynamics of the saw: Physical, social, mental, and spiritual-coincidentally, these are the four dimensions of the Florida College emblem
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