BUSINESS BOOK REVIEWS: THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE BY STEPHEN COVEY
15th August, 2007
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Ok, first things first, I listened to this on audio CD and didn't actually read the book. This is because I'm highly effective and I was saving time... Sorry, what I meant to say was, "this gave me an unusual insight into the overarching structure of the book; allowing me to consider the entire concept in a single sitting."
The thing that struck me most about Covey's system of self management was the first of his seven rules - be pro-active. This seems obvious but Covey's analysis of what make a pro active person was fascinating. He defines it as someone who has responsibility. He further breaks down the word responsibility into its two elements - response and ability. His point is that you have the ability to respond.
I'm not convinced from an etymological standpoint, but from a self help perspective it’s interesting. The idea that you are responsible for your own effectiveness is unusual. Most books of this nature start from the position that you are ineffective and have no choice over the issue. Instead they argue that you should adopt whatever system of management they espouse. Covey is much more of a traditionalist - he simply argues that you need to have the character to be able to take action to achieve your goals. This is empowering for those of us weighed down with managerial mumbo jumbo.
So my advice is to be pro-active and buy the audio CD straight away - it's much more effective than the book. And you can listen to it while walking the dog too…