Here's my final run down of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Steven Covey seems a very wise gentleman, tho not without his flaws, and the book, too, is filled with many wise things, but not without its flaws. My first complaint is the need Covey seems to have to inventing terminology where none is needed. Some concepts require this, such as the idea of an 'emotional bank account', but other's, like 'the P/PC Balance' is stretching things a bit. (P/PC is the balance between a product and the ability to produce) It also insures that individual chapters must be read in order, but the book feels like a reference book to me, and reference books should allow a little more freedom in how they are paged through. Many times I found myself backtracking through the pages to remember one term or another that I could not or looking up a reference that escaped me.
This is an easily overlooked flaw when compared to the stigma the book has as a self-help book. No one really wants to be told how to live their lives and most people have to defend themselves from such preaching anyway. Especially in America where morality and religion are pushed daily upon a people who already are certain of their own feelings with God or there lack of (as the case may be). I won't lie, Covey is pretty religious, but the book he wrote is not. He feeling is that the principals discovered and outlined in the 7 Habits are universally human principals regardless of our beliefs. I have to agree. I certainly don't believe in your or his gods because of reading this book. In all honesty, this is the first self help book I've read that doesn't feel preachy.
He didn't just come up with the seven habits over nights. Covey researched and observed and checked and double checked trying to sort out his principals, finally believing that, under scrutiny, these are the values that shine out most among memorable and effective personalities as well as law that seem to govern human interaction with one's self and others. Values like 'Belief in Choice,' 'Planing ahead,' 'importance,' 'empathy,' 'everyone's victory,' 'teamwork,' and 'resting with purpose.' If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be a tie between the first habit (Be Proactive) and the fourth (Always Seek to Understand).
My advice is, if you get time and opportunity, to read this book, or get the audio book. If for no other reason than the ideas Steven Covey has applies to almost every situation and the writing, even with it's self references, is gentle and self aware (i.e. Seems to guess what you may think of it's ideas). Plus, it's generally a lot of fun.
I'm not going to say it changed my life. How I was raised, I've already been doing some of the habits. It certainly got me thinking, however, and it's what I needed at the time of 'reading' it. Especially now that I've entered this strange and frightening world of freelancing and self employment.
Peace ouch, guys.