am 13. Mai 1999
Being well-read in self-help literature, I would conclude that the "7 Habits" represents an up to date effort to re-represent old ideas and theories that have been around since common sense was invented.
I am left with some mixed feelings about this book and I can see the same from the reviews posted here: You either love it or you hate it. On one hand, it seems that our own sense of what is right and wrong should be enough to get us through life. However, if indeed that were always true we wouldn't have such a market for books on self-development/improvement. On the other hand, to totally buy into this one book as "the only book you'll ever need to be all you can be" is narrowly buying into one concept at the expense of other potential alternatives.
Basically, I liked Covey's messages about being principle-centered and so forth. However, he seemed to 'beat a dead horse' referring over and over again to basic, character-based, lighthouse-guiding principles over and over again in an irritatingly repetitive way. Although some are mentioned (such as quality, honesty and humility) I found it odd to be in pursuit of a set of ideals without a 'compass' to guide me to the correct ones I need to focus on and a 'map' enabling me to accurately apply them to life. I suppose my common sense should do that for me (?).
I do like the 'inside-out' approach to personal change, growth and eventual fulfillment. It is a nice break away from all the "Raising Your Self-Esteem in 50 Steps" and "Contacting Your Inner Child" fanfare but it also seems to take a corporate flavor as well. This book seems to be timely in an era of downsizing and squeezing the most for the least amount from the workforce at large.
Bottom line, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in personal development. It is a very logically organized book and well written. You will have to form your own ideas and comparisons as you read it, like it or hate it.
am 13. Januar 2009
Dieses Buch wurde mir von einem guten Freund geschenkt. Als er es mir überreichte, fügte er besorgt hinzu: "Die Konzepte zu verstehen ist leicht, aber sie WIRKLICH zu verstehen und umzusetzen ist ein Lebenswerk..." Er hatte zufällig sein eigenes Exemplar dabei: jede Seite war KOMMENTIERT und ganze Passagen waren FARBIG hervorgehoben.
Meine Erwartungen an die leichte Lesbarkeit des Buchs schieden augenblicklich dahin! Aber da es sich um ein Geschenk handelte, erkannte ich die Geste an und dankte ihm.
Welche überraschend anregende Lektüre! Die Konzepte sind zwar messerscharf gedacht; dennoch erfolgt die Vermittlung auf eine sehr lebendige Weise, über persönliche Erlebnisse des Autors:
- Es folgen Situationen bei der Erziehung seiner Kinder, die ihm halfen, das Konzept des "emotionalen Bankkontos" zu schmieden (man kann ein Leben lang durch kleine Gesten darauf "einzahlen". Nur dann ist im Bedarfsfall Geld da, welches "abgehoben" werden kann...).
- Wie eine plötzlich intensivierte Kommunikation mit seiner Frau (bei täglich erforderlichen Fahrten zu zweit auf einem Moped, durch die Felder Hawaiis) ihm half, versteckte Motive bei ihr zu erkennen und vergangene Konflikte zu verstehen, die sogar zu einer ganz falschen Einschätzung von ihr als Person geführt hatten (Prinzip 5: "First seek to understand...").
- Wie er sich dabei ertappte, unvernünftige Forderungen an einen seiner Mitarbeiter zu stellen und von ihm eines besseren gelehrt wurde (Handhabung dringender Aufgaben vs. wichtiger Aufgaben).
Nicht jeder ist ein Stephen Covey. Sein Charakter und Profil sind eng mit dem Buch verbunden und können teilweise anecken: manchmal wirkt er oberlehrerhaft, ja fast humorlos... Aber seine Strukturierungs-Leistung ist unermeßlich, weil die Konzepte logisch schlüssig, überschaubar und plausibel wirken.
Obwohl die Konzepte eine zeitlose Gültigkeit aufweisen, hatte dies in der Form noch keiner vor ihm gesagt. Genau das ist eine anregende Lektüre!
am 2. Juni 2000
There is no question that Stephen Covey's book, THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE:POWERFUL LESSONS IN PERSONAL CHANGE, has been one of the more important books about how to personally achieve excellence--millions of copies have been sold. His ability to collect the wisdom of the ages and then organize and articulate it in a way that makes sense to those of us who are less skilled is truly inspiring. I read the book when it first came out ten years ago and have frequently revisited it over the years. It has been an "old friend" providing a context for my understanding a variety of "paradigm shifts" in both my professional and personal life. It has also been used, and is still used, in my company as a leadership development tool. I recently re-read it and can again highly recommend it. If you like this book, you might also like to read another fairly recent book that I have found to be very powerful. The title of the book is WORKING ON YOURSELF DOESN'T WORK by Ariel and Shya Kane. Whereas Mr. Covey seems to focus on incremental, personal change and working on the development of new "habits"-a "change model"-the Kanes focus on "awareness" (in an anthropological sense) of "what is"--of "one's own behaviors" and of the "behaviors of others"--as a vehicle for personal transformation, greater achievment and personal satisfaction--a "transformation model" vs a "change model". Interesting contrast in approach--I think you'll like it.
am 15. Mai 1997
This book can be considered as one of the most influential books on character building, personal mission, effectiveness and leadership. I keep referring to this book often.
Let me go through what I learnt in this book and it will be clear as to why this can be a life changing book.
In Habit 1 ( Be Proactive ), I learnt that being proactive means being responsible to our lives. In a reactive model, we are conditioned to respond in a particular way to a particular stimulus. In contrast, proactive model states that between stimulus and response, lies our freedom to choose the response.
Habit 2 (Begin with the end in mind) is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There's a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation. The second creation follows from the first, just as a building follows from a blueprint. In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own self-awareness and become responsible for the first creation, we empower other people and circumstances to shape our lives by default.
In Habit 3 (First Things First), I learnt that all our activities can be divided into four quadrants
Quadrant 1 : Activities that are Important and Urgent
Quadrant 2 : Activities that are Important but Not Urgent
Quadrant 3 : Activities that are Urgent but Not Important
Quadrant 4 : Activities that are Not Urgent and Not Important
The ideal to work toward is increasing your time spent in Quadrant II.
In Habit 5 (Think Win-Win), I learnt that most of us base our self-worth on comparisons and competition. We think about succeeding in terms of someone else failing. That is, if I win, you lose. Or if you win, I lose. Life is a zero-sum game. There is only so much pie, and if you get a big piece, there is less for me. People with this type of Scarcity Mentality find it difficult to share recognition and power, and to be happy for the successes of others, especially those closest to them.
Win-win on the other hand, is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person's success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others. Win-win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying.
Habit 5 says 'Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood'. A wise doctor will diagnose before writing a prescription. A good engineer will understand the forces, the stresses at work, before designing the bridge. An effective sales person first seeks to understand the needs of the customer before offering a product. Similarly, an effective communicator will first seek to understand another person's view before seeking to be understood. Until people feel properly diagnosed they will not be open to prescriptions.
In Habit 6 (Synergize), I learnt that 'The Whole is greater than the sum of its parts'. One plus one equals three or more. Two people, creatively cooperating will be able to produce far better results than either one could alone.
Habit 7 (Sharpen the Saw) surrounds the other habits because it is the habit that makes all other habits possible. Sharpen the saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have - you. It means having a balanced, systematic program for the four areas of our lives; physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
While the book has a price tag, what we learn from this book cannot be valued.
am 6. Juli 1999
I first read this book a couple of years ago, and found it valuable though hardly revolutionary. As many other reviewers have pointed out, most of what is covered by this book is common sense and almost self evident. As a non-believer in everything supernatural, I also was slightly disturbed by the authors frequent references to Scripture and spirituality. And finally, back then I was pretty at ease with my current life situation and did not feel much need for change. I read the book mostly because my girlfriend wanted me to. So the book really did not affect my life much.
When I now re-read the book, I judge it from a somewhat different perspective. Relational problems, financial and career troubles have forced me to realize that a change is needed. The "habits" discussed in the book are still pretty obvious, but this time I agree with the author about their importance for a happy life. I have decided to try to implement them in my life, starting by writing a personal Mission Statement. That's the easy part! But living it every day is hard even when you totally agree with the author's analysis. Where do I find the will-power needed to make all this happen? The author has very little to say about this. He is very clear about one thing: You have to do it all yourself. You have to be disciplined. But for many of us, this is exactly the problem! We are sloppy, non-planning individuals that simply don't know how to take control of our lives. The book teaches you that you have to, it even tells you what to do. But it doesn't tell you how to force yourself to do it, it doesn't say were you can find the strength and endurance.
I think I already live according to habit 1 & 2. I don't blame others, I know I must do the job, and I even think I know where I want to go in life. This book have also taught me how to get there through habits 3 to 7. But not how to force myself to give up old, destructive habits in order to replace them with something better.
I have never wished for an easy fix, such as a pill that would make me happy. But if there was a pill I could take that gave me the willpower needed to really live according to this book, then I would take it, and I'm convinced that this really would change my life. However, without such a pill, I doubt I ever will be able to live the principle-based life this book teaches, however much I agree that it would be an enormous improvement.
am 2. März 1999
As the title of the book implies, Covey describes the seven habits of highly effective people and techniques for adopting the seven habits. Covey makes clear that an individual must make a paradigm shift before incorporating these habits into his/her own personal life. A paradigm is essentially the way an individual perceives something. Covey emphasizes that if we want to make a change in our lives, we should probably first focus on our personal attitudes and behaviors. He applies different examples via family, business, and society in general.
This book's focal point is on an approach to obtain personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Covey points out that private victories precede public victories. He makes the example that making and keeping promises to ourselves comes before making and keeping promises to others.
Habits 1, 2, and 3 deal with self-mastery. They move an individual from dependency on others to independence. Habits 4, 5, and 6 deal with teamwork, cooperation, and communication. These habits deal with transforming a person from dependency to independence to interdependence. Interdependence simply means mutual dependence. Habit 7 embodies all of the other habits to help an individual work toward continuous improvement.
Habit 1 discusses the importance of being proactive. Covey states that we are responsible for our own lives; therefore, we possess the initiative to make things happen. He also points out that proactive people so not blame various circumstances for their behaviors but they realize behavior comes from one's conscious. Covey also explains that the other type of person is reactive. Reactive people are affected by their social as well as physical surroundings. This means that if the weather is bad, then it affects their behavior such as their attitude and performance.
He also explains that all problems that are experienced by individuals fall into one of three categories, which are direct control, indirect control, or no control. The problems that are classified under direct control are the problems that involve our own behavior. The problems classified as indirect control encompasses problems that we can do nothing about. The problems classified as no control are those that we can do nothing about.
Habit 2 focuses on beginning with the end in mind. Covey wants the reader to envision his/her funeral. This may sound disheartening but his goal is to help you think about the words that you wish to be said about you; it can help the individual visualize what you value the most. To begin with the end simply means to start with your destination in mind. That gives an individual a sense of where he/she presently is in their life. One has to know where they are going to make sure that they are headed in the right direction. Covey also mentions that the most effective way to begin with the end is by developing a personal mission statement. After doing that, you should identify your center of attention. Are you spouse centered, money centered, family centered, etc. The he tells you depending on you core of interest, your foundation for security, guidance, and power.
Habit 3 is the practical fulfillment of Habits 1 and 2. Covey accentuates that Habits 1 and 2 are prerequisite to Habit 3. He states that an individual cannot become principle centered developing their own proactive nature; or without being aware of your paradigms; or the capability of envisioning the contribution that is yours to make. One must have an independent will. This is the ability to make decisions and to act in accordance with them.
Habit 4 deals with the six paradigms of interaction, which are win/win, win/lose, lose/win, lose/lose, win, and win/win or no deal. Win/win is a situation in which everyone benefits something. It is not your way or my way; it is a better way. Win/lose declares that if I win then you lose. Simply put, I get my way; you don't get yours. Win/lose people usually use position, power, possessions, or personality to get their way. The win/lose type of person is the person that feels that if I lose; you win. People who feel this way are usually easy to please and find the strength of others intimidating. When two win/lose people get together both will lose resulting in a lose/lose situation. Both will try to get the upper end of the stick but in the end, neither gets anything. The person that simply thinks to win secures their own ends and leaves it up to others to secure theirs. The win/win or no deal person means that if there is not a suitable solution met that satisfies both parties then there is no agreement.
Habit 5 deals with seeking means of effective communication. This habit deals with seeking first to understand. However, we usually seek first to be understood. Most people to not listen with the intent to understand but with the intent to reply. The act of listening to understand is referred to as empathic listening. That means you try to get into the person's frame of mind and think as they are thinking.
Habit 6 discuses combining all of the other habits to prepare us for the habit of synergy. Synergy means that the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Possessing all of the habits will benefit an individual more than possessing one or two of them. Synergism in communication allows you to open your mind to new possibilities or new options.
Habit 7 involves surrounds the other habits because it is the habit that makes all of the others possible. It is amplifying the greatest asset you have which is yourself. It is renewing your physical, emotional, mental, and social nature. The physical scope involves caring for yourself effectively. Spiritual renewal will take more time. Our mental development comes through formal education. Quality literature in our field of study as well as other fields help to broaden our paradigms. Renewing the social dimension is not as time consuming as the others. We can start by our everyday interactions with people.
Moving along the upward spiral requires us to continuously learn, commit, and do on higher planes. This is essential to keep progressing. At the end of each habit, there are application suggestions or exercises that help you become a more effective person. This is definitely not a quick fix it book. The concepts should be studied in order to be fully achieved. I think if you learn to use these 7 habits, it will change your life.
This is a must-have book.
am 21. Februar 1999
After reading Stephen Covey's "7 Habits" cover-to-cover a few years ago, I picked it up again for a re-read. I can't bring myself to read too many books twice, but this one is worth the effort.
As many of the other readers here suggest, the book is not perfect. Certain examples Covey cites and recommendations he issues are so idealistic that they make him seem completely out of touch with everyday life. In addition, his style is so upbeat that it, at times, borders on hokey.
Nonetheless, there's a reason this book have been a business bestseller for a zillon weeks: it presents a sound method for improving your life. This is not a re-write of the "Power of Positive Thinking" - Covey explicitly rejects these types of quick-fix remedies. Instead, it is a plan to restructure your life based on those things that you deem most important. Of course, a plan needs to be executed, and that part can't be done for you, although Covey is glad to assist by selling you a few day planners and a conference or two.
The bottom line is that this book won't change your life. You'll do the changing, and Covey is one of the best sources to explain how.
am 11. März 2000
I was doing pretty well with this book until I came to the part where he was demonstrating effective listening skills with a conversation he supposedly had with his son about staying in school. The conversation was ridiculous to anyone who has teenage children. With just a few choice sentences he convinced his son that staying in school is the right and proper thing to do and the beauty part was the kid thinks he convinced himself! Rubbish! This was a dialogue made up by the author to make a point although he says it really happened. If it did then I'm Santa Claus. I stopped reading at that point.
am 18. Dezember 2008
Während ich durch mein Bücherregal schaute, fand ich dieses unglaublich einfache und doch so tiefgründige Buch und las es erneut.
Die Prinzipien und Ideen über die Stephen schreibt, sind wirklich Wege um zu entdecken, wie man sein Leben als die Person die man wirklich sein will lebt. Besonders spannend fand ich den Abschnitt in welchem Stephen darüber schreibt, wie unbeobachtete Einstellungen und Vorstellungen mein Verhalten in bestimmten Situationen und anderen gegenüber beeinflußt. Als ich erstmal anfing meine vorbestimmten Gedanken... anzusehen, wurden diese Situationen weniger banal und irritierend. Meine Erfahrungen wurden unmittelbar authentischer, Bedeutungsvoller und erfreulicher. Stephen beschreibt dies als einen "Paradigmenwechsel" wo unsere Einstellung und unser Verhalten, wenn sie ungeprüft bleiben, bestimmen wie wir uns fühlen und wir uns in mechanischen Mustern bewegen.
Zwei Autoren die mich ebenfalls inspiriert und meine Leidenschaft ein großartiges Leben zu führen geweckt haben sind Ariel und Shya Kane.
Die Arbeiten der Kanes: "Being Here: Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment" (zur Zeit nur in englisch), "Lebe im Augenblick!: Verwandeln statt verändern - Die Erfahrung der Unmittelbaren Transformation" "Das Geheimnis wundervoller Beziehungen: Durch unmittelbare Transformation" und ihre Internet Radio Show "Being Here" on Voiceamerica.com (englisch) sind alle unentbehrlich gewordene Quellen denen ich mich zuwende um Wohlbefinden in allen meinen Lebensbereichen zu unterstützen.
Ich kann die Kanes und Stephen Coveys Klassiker "Die 7 Wege zur Effektivität" nur wärmstens empfehlen.
A must in every business and home library, I pick it up off the shelf every two months or so just to refresh and drive home the framework. Dr. Covey recommends that you "keep sharpening the saw" which is good advice for us all. His advice on communications is also excellent, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." Another way to improve is to read complementary books. What Seven Habits does for the individual The 2000 Percent Solution does for business. Smart Choices is also good for making better personal decisions. All three books are a must for every library.