After three failed attempts at getting past Habit 3 in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I finally finished it. It wasn’t Covey’s motivational writing style, the relevant content, or the novel’s length that barred me from reading the book all the way through the first time, it was the fact that I tried to read it at a point in my life at which there were many other demands on my time. You see, in order to get through this lengthy book, you have to really want to read it; you have to make it a priority.
Covey fills each page with not only descriptions of the habits themselves, but helpful anecdotes and diagrams to make the process of changing your habits more enjoyable. Several of the habits are clear (Habit 1: Be Proactive) while others are vague (Habit 3: Put First Things First). But at the end, Covey wraps them up tightly with the Habit 7 “bow”: Sharpen the Saw.
It is this neat, organized flow of the 7 Habits, coupled with Covey’s expertise and friendly tone, that makes this novel so popular. After Covey sets the tone as early as page 4 with his focus on character as opposed to personality, he spends the rest of the novel detailing how a person can change his or her life by moving from dependence to interdependence. His Habits, the roadmap to get there, are obvious but sometimes difficult to implement in daily life.
It is important to note, when reading the reviews at the beginning, that it isn’t so much the book that is life-changing, but the Habits themselves. This book can be too long and overly descriptive at times, but it is worth reading for the sake of experiencing Covey’s 7 Habits as he sees them and implements them in his daily life. He truly uses this novel as an opportunity to show his readers that he practices what he preaches. When keeping this intent in mind, the boring portions become less so and 7 Habits is a joy to read.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is available on Amazon for $11.04 here if you’re interested in giving it a try.
Have you read 7 Habits? If so, let me know what you thought!