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on 10 December 2000
I first read about Dr Covey's habits when I was a young teenager, although at the time I only briefly skimmed through the pages and neglected to absorb, or completely understand, the principles he is sharing in his book. Having recently purchased the book and tried putting the habits into practice, I must say that personally I have found it rather difficult if not frustrating to plan my week to such a strict agenda as he suggests. Dr Covey claims that his scheduling technique is flexible, but is it? Perhaps over the long-term with regular consistant practice his technique works, something which I have not yet accomplished, but the immediate effect it has had upon me is one of irritability and rigidity rather than a sense of purpose.
On the subject of 'happiness' as described by another reviewer, I firmly believe that your happiness is ultimately your responsibility, and in achieving more fulfilling relationships with others, and planning your goals more effectively, both of which the 7 habits claim to generate in your life, I think your happiness will increase naturally as you grow in purpose and personal stature, provided you are committed to putting in the effort.
Overall, I would agree that the book can be rather ambiguous at times, and some of the habits are difficult to produce consistantly in practice. Perhaps other readers will have more success in their attempts.
Otherwise, the book is definitely worth a read, as I think some of the principles the book describes could be a valuable lesson to us all.
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on 9 January 2014
I stopped reading this book after a couple of chapters. The best I can say about it is that it is well-meaning and mistitled.

I would have been very interested in a book which surveyed successful people (CEOs? Millionaires? People who rate themselves has the most happy?) and drawn out their common habits. In book entitled "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People" I would have expected the approach to be (i) identify the successful people, then (ii) identify their habits.

That is not what this book does.

What this book does is this opposite: (i) identifies some habits that the author likes, then (ii) finds some successful people who exhibited those habits. It is post-justification of the author's prejudices. It's not as if the same successful people are used consistently throughout the book. He cherry picks anyone who exhibits his ideas, then doesn't bother with them again if they don't demonstrate any of his other ideas.

So it's not at all enlightening. Anyone can think up some laudable ideas and find some successful people who exhibit them. And you don't need to limit it to seven habits. You can pick any arbitrary number.

For example, I think some really important habits are (a) own an army, (b) wear a loincloth, and (c) don't worry about your hair. I think every head of state has an army, so that's my point (a) proved. The great leaders Gandhi and Jesus wore loincloths, so that's point (b) proved. And both Albert Einstein and Russell Brand clearly don't give a damn about their hair, so that's my point (c) dealt with.

Actually, I might turn that into a book...
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on 25 September 2012
What can I say about this fantastic book that hasn't already been said in so many other reviews.

'Self help' as a term for books today has become something of a dirty word, something a lot of people sneer at and make fun of. I can understand this to a point, as there is some real rubbish on the market but this book and of course the author Stephen Covey, to my mind is in a league only a few motivational authors/speakers share.

I'm so impressed with this book ~ I started off with a paperback edition many years ago, then a couple of years ago I purchased the Kindle edition and then through Audible (Amazon company) I downloaded the talking book. I've also bought a copy for my son, so obviously I HIGHLY RECOMMEND. This is in my top five books of all time and I read and listen to it often.

I don't care for the term self help, I choose my books carefully and refer to them as personal power; something which will markedly improve for anyone who reads this book and puts the advice into action!
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on 28 September 2005
Stephen Covey's book is still a must read in it's field.
He gives a beautifully clear structure for self-development and a big picture overview of why it matters and how it fits into living a life with principles.
If you haven't read it yet then do so now and if you have read it some time ago then re-visit it and re-inspire yourself.
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on 28 June 2007
When I first borrowed the book from my companys learning library I had an ephiphany... I was compelled to study over and over what he wrote, not because it was some new mindblowing concept, but it peiced together my thoughts and experiences and principles I had collected in my 22 years of my life in a way that was easy to understand.

Not that I agree with everything and in this book we are given practical examples, but from what I heard from a friend who did business with Covey, even he fails sometimes to apply what he teaches. There is no perfect person that can be the perfect embodiment of these principles and if those around you have very different principles or none, you may suffer as well as gain from applying them.

I rate this book along with Paradise 21st Century Fox and One Minute Manager and Don't Shoot The Dog as one of the most important books one can take the time to read. Put it at the top of the pile!

I would also reccomend checking out his videos on youtube, excellent. Thank you Mr Covey!
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on 9 February 2015
One of those books that quite simply everyone should be given to read in their formative years (late teens / early twenties). Its a book I wish I had read a decade before I did, and I keep on dipping back into it.

The habits of being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, think win-win, seek to understand - then be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw - are characteristics that will help anyone in any walk of life. Sometimes people aren't even aware that these characteristics exist within themselves, and can be worked upon.

Give this as a gift to those at university, it may just help set them off on the right path in life, and for the price of a few drinks that has to be worth it.
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on 8 October 2008
For a personal change book, I found it rather a hard read. The book to me is, well, complicated. The seven habits make sense and all, but the whole process seems to involve making layers of change, with each layer being a whole book in itself. Not a very quick read, and I'm not saying its not worthwhile and all, it's more a book that you have to be willing to work with. Readers who like less sophisticated personal change books might enjoy The Sixty-Second Motivator.
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on 25 March 2013
As soon as I got to the chapter early on which described how Stephen Covey took the phrase 'paradigm shift' from a scientific book, I started to struggle - and I've still not finished the book. I like plain talking and although I can cope with the odd bit of bizspeak, if I have to keep analysing new terms, I just give up. Not for me I'm afraid, but a lot of CEOs love it.
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on 21 January 2005
Inspiring, insightful, clear and methodical all at the same time. Stephen Covey's system is grounded in a sound long-term approach to life management. He does not promise a quick-fix - in fact, states specifically that it may take you a very long time to work out the core issues around which you build your life. And it's true! I reckoned I knew these at the time of reading it, but now, several years later, realise that I didn't. A lot of work to be done to follow this sytem, but a worthwhile one to follow.
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on 9 April 2013
There has been an explosion of self help and motivational books in the last 20 years, but in my opinion this one is still the daddy of them all.

It encourages you to break your life into bite size chunks and to follow the right path (or climb the right ladder). There is so much great advice in this book that I couldn't possibly begin to quote it all. However one of the most important has to be where Stephen uses the 5 year growth cycle of the bamboo tree as an example of why it pays to have patience when putting down one's foundations for life.

I would encourage everyone who wants to better their life, to buy this book and buy into the 7 habits.
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