“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey is one of the most successful selling books on personal development. And I really like how Stephen R. Covey touches on the concept of habits because I have this theory that, if you can build habits that make people successful (or in this case effective), then you can essentially automate success (or effectiveness).
Because what are habits after all? They are things we do automatically and they can include nervous tics, reactions to stressful events, and even the way we treat other people.
The cliche quote “fake it til you make it” comes to mind. With reference to “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” in theory, if people can learn the habits of successful (or effective) people, and just start “faking those habits” over and over and over again until they become a habit, then that person can thereby have a habit that makes them successful or an eventual success, or highly effective.
The popular topic today is “computer automation” but I believe there are things that people do that are automated in life as well, and we call those automated activities or behaviors habits.
Therefore, anyone who wants to be more effective, which I believe eventually leads to a successful life, will need to learn the habits of highly effective people, then apply them. And “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” does a remarkable job of establishing what those habits are.
Isn’t it great to have someone who narrows down the habits for you? No need to study the lives of hundreds of people and find the common factors, unless that is what you want your business to be. But if you want to get straight into the details, you can just learn from Stephen R. Covey, and that is why this book is totally worth it.
Now, although I feel this book has a tremendous lot to offer, I think it misses the mark in a few areas as well.
We’ll start with some things I disliked.
The element I disliked is that the book is very perfectly designed for who I believe are “corporate types.” Most people who are seeking self-help or personal development might not pick this book up because people want to be “successful” but they don’t really care about what it takes to be “effective.”
But Covey knows better than to oversell ideas to corporate biz dev guys. Words like “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful/Wealthy/Productive/Famous People” just would not work.
But… “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is valuable for anyone, not just the straightforward corporate audience.
Also, the writing feels very “corporate-y” in style, and the book did not keep me engaged enough and took me a while to finish reading the book even though I knew the information was valuable. He does add some great personal stories though.
Again, it is a great book that targets its’ audience very well, as opposed to trying to appeal to the “get rich quick” audience. Because habits of success are not built overnight, so this might be for the better.
My final dislike is that I personally love “how-to” books. Having read “Think and Grow Rich,” Tony Robbins books, NLP training manuals, and works by Brian Tracy, I am spoiled by personal development books with actionable how-to’s and practical steps with their main ideas.
And “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” does a great job coming up with and presenting ideas, but could do bit more on providing ideas with which to execute on. For a book on such an important topic of building the right habits to be more effective, it goes very little into getting you to establish those habits. Sure it is a motivational “get started now” type of book, but it could dive just a little deeper into the habits and how they apply.
And now for the good…
There is a reason “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has sold over 30 million copies, and Covey has worked with some of the top leaders in the world. Because the book is fantastic at bringing together very high-level habits of effectiveness. They include what highly effective people do, and why their methods are effective.
He also shares many personal stories that tie in well that demonstrate the effectiveness of his proposals.
Furthermore, Covey does a fantastic job of tackling both personal and professional growth, and breaks down some very important ideas into behaviors such as being a better negotiator.
Overall, I would give “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” a 3.5/5. It knows its’ audience very well, and is very well organized. However, for me personally, I was looking for something to really shake me up when I read a book that has had such success with such raving reviews.
Maybe I was just not the target audience, and maybe it was over-marketed. But regardless of my opinion, as someone who studies personal development in depth, and creates personal development content, it has a lot of great information and could be a very beneficial read for anyone who wants to be more effective in any area of their life whether it is family, professional, and even in physical health.
P.S. Building the right habits can change your life and even help you automate yourself to achieve the things you want. If being an effective employee, entrepreneur, leader, family-man/woman, student, salesman, engineer, and anything else is something you think will be of value to you, be sure to read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”