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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Trust can make things easier, and distrust can definitely make things much harder. You already know that. But do you know how to check out where you need to change in order to create more beneficial trust? The Speed of Trust can help those who need a template for such self-examination.

Mr. Stephen M. R. Covey is the son of Dr. Stephen R. Covey of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People fame. If you've read that famous book, you may remember young Stephen referred to by his father as the seven-year-old son who was asked to keep the yard "clean and green" and did neither at first. Dr. Covey writes the foreword for this book and refers to that example. Ms. Rebecca Merrill helped with the writing of Dr. Stephen R. Covey's book First Things First which was coauthored by Roger Merrill.

Trust is expressed by a paradigm that includes five waves of trust (self trust based on the principle of credibility, relationship trust based on the principle of proper behavior, organizational trust based on the principle of alignment, market trust based on the principle of reputation, and societal trust based on the principle of contribution). Most of the book is taken up with examining those five waves and their underlying principles. The core of the book comes, however, in the 13 behaviors that establish trust (talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs, show loyalty, get better, confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments, and extend trust). Each section of the book comes with ways to check on your performance and to create plans for improvement.

This book is by far the best development of the subject of creating and restoring trust that I have read. That makes the book an essential reference. I congratulate and appreciate the authors for tackling this important subject.

I would be remiss, however, in being a trustworthy reviewer if I didn't point out some weaknesses in the approach:

1. Some of the examples of trust and mistrust drawn from Mr. Covey's experiences aren't terribly satisfying to read. Perhaps the most jarring example is one of the early ones in the book that describes the distrust that the Franklin Quest people felt toward him after the company merged with Covey Leadership Center. Mr. Covey comes across as unbelievably naive for not having taken into account how the two cultures should mesh (if at all) in engineering the merger. That's a more fundamental lesson than the lack of trust point. In addition, he doesn't seem to realize that merely being the son of the company's founder would make many people who didn't know him skeptical of his qualifications and his talent. Having read about how naive Mr. Covey was in this situation undercut my confidence in his ability to address the subject of trust. But I did appreciate his willingness to share such a painful experience in his book.

2. Most of the examples that are cited that do not involve Mr. Covey's direct experience are very overused. They same examples have been used to prove excellence in many other dimensions. As a result, the book doesn't come alive as much as it might. The examples conjure up memories of other books and arguments rather than cleanly bringing across the authors' trust-related points.

3. The book's structure and style are pretty pedantic, but without the precision that an academic would bring to the subject. In most areas, the authors rely on your sense of what's right rather than giving you clear lines of what to do and what not to do. That's fine if you already have a well-defined sense of how trust is formed and re-established. But if you don't know the answers already because you haven't lived in that kind of an environment, the book will leave you with too little direction.

4. Ultimately, long sections of the book are very general and boring. The major exceptions are the examples drawn from Mr. Covey's own family. I found those examples to be fresh and interesting.

After you finish this book, I suggest that you think about those who have gained your trust and distrust. What did they do? Examining those personal examples will add a lot of depth to the general ideas presented here.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2009
As far as what the book is trying to say it is pretty solid. The book however is about 100 pages too long. Cut down the huge intro and streamline the examples and take out all the unnecessary repetition.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Trust can make things easier, and distrust can definitely make things much harder. You already know that. But do you know how to check out where you need to change in order to create more beneficial trust? The Speed of Trust can help those who need a template for such self-examination.

Mr. Stephen M. R. Covey is the son of Dr. Stephen R. Covey of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People fame. If you've read that famous book, you may remember young Stephen referred to by his father as the seven-year-old son who was asked to keep the yard "clean and green" and did neither at first. Dr. Covey writes the foreword for this book and refers to that example. Ms. Rebecca Merrill helped with the writing of Dr. Stephen R. Covey's book First Things First which was coauthored by Roger Merrill.

Trust is expressed by a paradigm that includes five waves of trust (self trust based on the principle of credibility, relationship trust based on the principle of proper behavior, organizational trust based on the principle of alignment, market trust based on the principle of reputation, and societal trust based on the principle of contribution). Most of the book is taken up with examining those five waves and their underlying principles. The core of the book comes, however, in the 13 behaviors that establish trust (talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs, show loyalty, get better, confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments, and extend trust). Each section of the book comes with ways to check on your performance and to create plans for improvement.

This book is by far the best development of the subject of creating and restoring trust that I have read. That makes the book an essential reference. I congratulate and appreciate the authors for tackling this important subject.

I would be remiss, however, in being a trustworthy reviewer if I didn't point out some weaknesses in the approach:

1. Some of the examples of trust and mistrust drawn from Mr. Covey's experiences aren't terribly satisfying to read. Perhaps the most jarring example is one of the early ones in the book that describes the distrust that the Franklin Quest people felt toward him after the company merged with Covey Leadership Center. Mr. Covey comes across as unbelievably naive for not having taken into account how the two cultures should mesh (if at all) in engineering the merger. That's a more fundamental lesson than the lack of trust point. In addition, he doesn't seem to realize that merely being the son of the company's founder would make many people who didn't know him skeptical of his qualifications and his talent. Having read about how naive Mr. Covey was in this situation undercut my confidence in his ability to address the subject of trust. But I did appreciate his willingness to share such a painful experience in his book.

2. Most of the examples that are cited that do not involve Mr. Covey's direct experience are very overused. They same examples have been used to prove excellence in many other dimensions. As a result, the book doesn't come alive as much as it might. The examples conjure up memories of other books and arguments rather than cleanly bringing across the authors' trust-related points.

3. The book's structure and style are pretty pedantic, but without the precision that an academic would bring to the subject. In most areas, the authors rely on your sense of what's right rather than giving you clear lines of what to do and what not to do. That's fine if you already have a well-defined sense of how trust is formed and re-established. But if you don't know the answers already because you haven't lived in that kind of an environment, the book will leave you with too little direction.

4. Ultimately, long sections of the book are very general and boring. The major exceptions are the examples drawn from Mr. Covey's own family. I found those examples to be fresh and interesting.

After you finish this book, I suggest that you think about those who have gained your trust and distrust. What did they do? Examining those personal examples will add a lot of depth to the general ideas presented here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2011
Great book, great message. If only we were living in a world where everyone played the game. Things would be so much better. Incredibly better! This book shows how and why we should, and how we can, in our own environment. Helps us all to shape up and see the massive advantages in being trustworthy. The writer reminds those of us who already are, to continue, and those who are not to wake up to the negative effects mistrust is having in every area of their lives and the significant benefits for being dependable and trustworthy. The one thing that changes everything? A bold claim but I would have to agree.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2013
Stephen Covey is an easy read but at the same time is deeply thought provoking. His examples are succinct and eminently understandable regardless of the level the reader.
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Have puzzled over how many stars to give this book. On the one hand it is lazily written, doesn't reference sources properly and relies too heavily (way too heavily) on the author's own limited personal experience. On the other - well there are one or two really powerful concepts I have used with my team to good effect.

I think there is a great deal of difference between the US and Europe when it comes to business. Some of the examples he gives of US business practice would probably see that person sidelined or fired in my experience in the UK. So it feels as though there is less inherent trust in the US. However, the sections based on exploring the difference between behavioural trust and competence trust are useful ("I trust my wife - but I wouldn't trust her to take my appendix out as she's not a surgeon")
The writing style is hard work and self congratulatory - probably works better in the US. I was personally also appalled by the story of him pouring a jug of water over the head of his nephew because because his team won, and Stephen Covey's team lost. Try re-building trust after that one!
Overall - is insightful if you are a fast reader and you are wiling to invest the time to mine the diamonds.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2007
For someone advocating trust, Stephen M.R. Covey seems to rely far too much on unsuspecting business travellers picking up his book (which has been made to look substantially like those of Stephen R. Covey, his father) under the assumption that they are buying a book written by Stephen R. Covey. Stephen M.R. Covey's book is unfortunately uninspiring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2014
I got the audio book, he basically talks about WHY trust is important ! from beginning to end, with loads of anecdotes to prove it ! I was expecting ways on how to improve trust. We all know trust is very important, no one needs an entire book to just remind us...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2014
This book can be summarised in this short statement: "Trust people. If you trust people, good things happen. If you don't trust them, bad things happen". It doesn't need the 100's of pages of repetition to tell you this.
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on 5 March 2013
I now judge all leadership, management, and business books against Stephen M.R. Covey's The Speed Of Trust. If you every need to fully understand the how, why, what and where of 'Trust' then you must read this book. It is exceptional in the way it is put together, with the author breaking down and rebuilding 'trust' in a way that is comprehensible and manageable to digest. Along the way there are several hidden gems, not only explaining why trust is low in so many organisations, but how to regain trust when this is the case. Finally, credit and thanks must be given to the Stephen M.R. Covey for writing such a masterpiece.
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