Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People quickly became something of a modern classic, at least in the self-help category, after its publication in 1989. It's really six habits—three private, three public—with a rather vague final step of daily mind, body, and spirit renewal. Covey makes crystal clear the fact that private victories must precede public victories, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. No matter how hard you try, you're really not going to achieve consistent productivity without your internal house in order.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey book Read more reviews on Amazon While the themes in this book tend to be wordy and drawn out, they may actually sink in that way. You may think the book is common sense and could have been written by anybody, but the author deserves credit for being the first one to actually write it.

The biggest issue I have with this book is its cornucopia of unsupported assumptions. You get the feeling that if you follow the advice you'll be better off than if you didn't. But as far as Covey making scientific sense, you'll be disappointed. "When you exercise your patience beyond your past limits, the emotional fiber is broken, nature overcompensates, and next time the fiber is stronger." Huh? Such dubious paradigms along with a sprinkling of Christian references clearly weaken the work, but they can be readily ignored by the philosophically inclined looking to become more practical.

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