1. The Author’s backstory.
Steven Covey is a well-renowned author, he has authored many best-selling books, and the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was no exception. This book has sold millions of copies worldwide, helping countless people around the globe in their pursuit of self-improvement.
Along with his professorship at Harvard University, he also had many professional opportunities to work with organizations to assist them with training in regards to leadership and cooperation.
His religious background is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and it is said that his morals as a Christian can be reflected in the way in which he writes.
2. Why did the Author write the book?
The author wrote this book to respond to his observation of how he thought self-help books were organized.
He observed that these books emphasized alterations to a person’s personality to be the root of lasting change.
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen argues that lasting change can only come through a change in one’s characteristics.
3. What is the Author’s thesis?
How an individual can make the right decisions and be effective in all aspects of their life.
4. What is the Author’s purpose?
To give people the psychological tools to assist them in being as effective as possible in pursuing their goals and aspirations.
5. What were two arguments the author used in defense of his thesis?
In the argument ‘Be Proactive,’ he talks about how being proactive means spending your time working on preventive measures, thus spending less time in crisis management.
He argues that situations that become unmanageable became that way due to neglect in the simple things. If worked on constantly, little by little, these things would prevent those fires from starting in the first place.
Think “Win/Win” was my favorite argument because it stressed that building strong relationships and getting the most out of people requires us to compromise and always to make sure that all parties are, in a sense winning.
He gave four variations to outcomes: Win/Win, Win/Lose, Lose/Win, Lose/Lose, or no deal. He shared that Win/Win was the only path that left all parties happy.
I found that this concept helped me to understand how human psychology works as it pertains to negotiations.
6. What was the Author’s conclusion?
The author concluded that by “sharpening your saw” every day, you would become effective in all areas of life.
He listed 5 categories to renew each part of yourself: spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and social.
I found the book’s structure to be very effective because by reading through each habit, I now understand that the human character has many different facets, which can be worked on each day.
The council he gave in this book covered a wide variety of human characteristics.
If you have issues being proactive, you could focus on that habit in the book, and it would fully give you the tools to change and become more proactive.
In this sense, it might be more beneficial not to view the book in a holistic way, but rather as 7 different core sections, with character-building techniques to improve one’s effectiveness.
As I stated at the beginning of this section, Stephen Covey focuses on the idea that true change starts on the inside and works its way out. This requires us to focus on our core beliefs and character traits instead of focusing on external factors, especially if we want these changes to have a lasting effect on our core habits.
7. What is my conclusion about the book?
This book’s strength comes in its comprehensiveness of the information around each topic.
The author broke down each topic(habits) into smaller sub-topics that made it easier to read and understand. Each sub-topic was well thought out and well written.
In this way, the book shined, covering, in my opinion, all aspects of the idea that he was trying to present.
In many instances, a weakness was that it felt like I was reading a school textbook on human nature; there wasn’t much humor or stories to captivate me.
In some cases, that could be a strength, but I struggled to relate to the information without that personal touch.
Each chapter was also very long. The 7 chapters were broken down into subchapters; I personally like books that have many shorter chapters. Therefore the longer chapters made it feel drawn out.
I believe this book’s intended audience would be literally anyone.
It was hard to read, but I am a much better individual because I took the time to read it. It changed my understanding of human nature more than any other book.
Steven Covey really did an exceptional job putting the contents together.
I personally wished I had read it sooner. It would have definitely shaped a lot of my past decisions positively.
OVERALL READABILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS
Like I said before, the overall readability could be better because of the long stretches of self-help content and not many stories illustrating the content.
Don’t misunderstand though, there were plenty of application stories, but I think there should have been at least one after every topic summarizing each version of the content.
I believe it was very effective in several ways. It talked about changing character/nature instead of personality. It targeted the idea that change only comes from a person’s core rather than superficial ‘how-to’ behaviors.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT TO GET OUT OF THIS BOOK?
From applying the content, I have concluded that his claim is indeed true, that changing character/nature instead of personality leads to lasting change, and I believe you can expect to get the same result.
I would give this book a rating of 4.7/5.