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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1986)

by Stephen R. Covey

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Just got back from a great, short trip to Ankara where I've secured housing for my family. But my departure coincided with the end of a road trip and family reunion in Chicago which means I had time to knock out a couple more books before New Years.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey. I had never read Covey's book, but I assume that almost everyone I know who has held some type of leadership or management position has read it as it's probably the all-time bestselling management/leadership book and easily one of the most influential.

The Seven Habits:
1. Be Proactive - means not blaming others for your circumstances but owning up to them yourself.
2. Begin with the End in Mind - Character matters and underlies everything else. You should have a mission statement that sets out your goal. Each day you "flex your proactive muscles" to make it happen.
3. Put First Things First - Tasks fall into one of four categories and you should focus on the ones that are important but not necessarily urgent. That will help guide your organization and keep things from becoming important and urgent, ie: a crisis.
4. Think Win-Win - Negotiate hard. It's a little like Adam Smith or David Ricardo's idea that two parties don't enter a transaction unless both benefit. So, maximize your benefit and make sure the other party feels it is winning too.
5. Seek First to Understand, Then be Understood - This helps generate Win-Win, and is a basic sales technique. Don't expect to get what you want without respecting the other party's wants.
6. Synergize - Be an effective leader that fosters teamwork and brings out the best in everyone. It's more than the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, but that's the basic idea.
7. Sharpen the Saw - Take time to rest and do activities that improve your physical health and spiritual well-being.

I don't know how many hundreds of books are out there that have built on Covey's concepts. There are a lot of basic, timeless truths that he puts simply and I guess that's why this book is so hugely popular. I'd like to put him in a room with Frederick Taylor and see how it goes.

Reading this book tempts me to size up leaders of organizations by how well they follow the seven habits. I like thinking about the first three the best, particularly in evaluating my time management. Is what I'm doing right now important, and how urgent is it?

I give it 3.5 stars. ( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
This book has something for everyones self development. Do you want to remake yourself into a better person, improve your relationship with a spouse, develop better communication skills with you kids, refine your business expertise, enhance your leadership capabilities, prioritize your life, I could go on and on. To quote the book, you learn, that the gate to change can only be opened from the inside. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is very well written, There are stories, examples, forms, diagrams and even interactive areas within the book to help you understand concepts. The book breaks down how to be effective in whatever goal you choose. You learn how to prioritize, expand listening skills (great to help you understand your children and spouse), why you must admit mistakes, and how what you say impacts others. By the end of the book you will understand how to develop good attitudes and a winning behavior. I highly recommend his book. ( )
  LarryGerovac | Mar 9, 2015 |
A must read book in personal development. ( )
  JavierRiestra | Mar 5, 2015 |
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has become so representative of increasing personal effectiveness that it has almost become a cliché, even to the point where it is derided as representative of the inauthenticity and shallowness of many who claim to practice it. I found myself oddly embarrassed to be seen reading this book on the subway – lest someone attribute that same character to me.

In truth, this book is more worthy of its acclaim than of its infamy. If you can push past the Buzzfeed-style clickbait titles to understand the truths behind them that were the impetus for people to later turn them into buzzwords, you will find enormous value in these pages.



The 7 Habits

In the pursuit of personal effectiveness, most people try to change one of two things: their behavior (“I’m going to try really hard at this!”) or their attitude (hence the popularity of self-help books and motivational speakers). If you’ve tried these approaches, you know them to be ineffective. The only solution for real change is the recognition and changing of your personal “paradigm,” or pattern of perception by which you view the world.

To sum up the seven habits at a high level, an effective person has learned to make the paradigm shift from outside-in to inside-out, progressing along the growth continuum from dependence to independence to interdependence. He has found the balance of being able to produce while also increasing his capacity to further produce.

That may sound like a bunch of gobbledygook, but it will become clear as you progress through the habits and make the paradigm shift the author writes about.

The first three habits are habits of self-mastery, or private victories. These habits must come first, after which come the second three habits of public victories. The last habit is one that is key to the proper functioning and renewal of the first six.



Habit 1: Be Proactive

Put aside the dictionary definition of the word “proactive” for a moment, as well as any meaning you’ve learned to attribute to it from your time in the workforce. You’ll have to do this with several of the upcoming habit titles in order to understand what Covey is saying.

The best way to understand what a paradigm is, as well as which paradigm an effective person possesses, is to first understand the three widely accepted paradigms that most people use to explain human behavior:

1) Genetic determinism (you are who you are because of your genes)
2) Psychic determinism (your childhood and upbringing shaped your personality), and
3) Environmental determinism (the things around you make you who you are)

The prevailing viewpoint is that at our core, we are animals, compelled by a given stimulus to give a certain response. While there is certainly some truth to this, Covey quotes psychiatrist and Holocaust victim Victor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.” (See Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning for his story.)

The author defines proactivity (and the paradigm shift that comes with it) as exercising your freedom to choose self-awareness, imagination, conscience, or independent will in between stimulus and response. If you’re unhappy, unsuccessful, etc., it’s because you chose to let something make you that way instead of choosing your own response. This is not to minimize the effect that genetics, upbringing, or environment have on who a person is; however, being an effective person requires that you recognize your responsibility to shape your response to those things.

_____________________________________________

Read the rest at http://www.deconstructingexcellence.com/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people/ ( )
  DE_Blog | Feb 19, 2015 |
.كتاب ممتاز يتحدث عن العادات السبع الافضل التي يجب​ على كل شخص العمل بها ليكون من الاشخاص الناجحين وا​لمؤثرين والفاعلين في حياتهم العملية وتكوين مستقبل ​
فأنصح الجميع بقراءتة وهومن الكتب المشهورة جدا . ​

Excellent book about the seven habits is better that each person should work out to be successful and influential actors and people in their working lives and a better future
I advise everyone to read it and Humen very famous books. ( )
  Yaqdan9 | Dec 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Borrowing slightly from the concepts of Quantum Mechanics, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People begins with the astute observation that people perceive the world differently, and because we view the world with our own unique "lens," it is difficult to separate the observation from the observer.

Covey says that we all have our own paradigm, which is our own map of how we perceive the world and how we think the world should be in our ideal view. Covey writes, "The way we see things is the source of the way we think and the way we act."
 
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Epigraph
There is no real excellence in all this world which can be separated from right living

DAVID STAR JORDAN
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
ARISTOTLE
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.
HENRY DAVID THOREAU
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
GOETHE
Dedication
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In more than 25 years of working with people in business, university, and marriage and family settings, I have come in contact with many individuals who have achieved an incredible degree of outward success, but have found themselves struggling with an inner hunger, a deep need for personal congruency and effectiveness and for healthy, growing relationships with other people.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743269519, Paperback)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change was a groundbreaker when it was first published in 1990, and it continues to be a business bestseller with more than 10 million copies sold. Stephen Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority, realizes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness, so this book is a manual for performing better in both arenas. His anecdotes are as frequently from family situations as from business challenges. Before you can adopt the seven habits, you'll need to accomplish what Covey calls a "paradigm shift"--a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your "proactive muscles" (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more. This isn't a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you'll want to study this book, not skim it. When you finish, you'll probably have Post-it notes or hand-written annotations in every chapter, and you'll feel like you've taken a powerful seminar by Covey. --Joan Price

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:53 -0400)

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A leading management consultant outlines seven organizational rules for improving effectiveness and increasing productivity at work and at home.

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