am 30. Mai 2000
The first time I ever read this book, I couldn't put it down. The introduction alone was very good. It's hard to tell sometimes what makes a book so good especially a self-help book.
What makes this book stand out among a crowded field of self-help boks is that it's so much different, and isn't that nice for a change? This book is not about goal setting in the traditional sense or positive thinking. You won't find catchy phrases to say to yourself when you look in the mirror each morning. This book is about getting to the core of your soul. It's about who you are. I would compare this book to other self-help books the same as comparing losing weight through a change in lifestyle to simply dieting for a while. Too much of our society is bent on instant gratification. We scratch the surface of our health, for instance, by going on crash diets to look good on the outside, yet we haven't changed our core self. You can chant all the positive phrases you want, but it will only offer a temporary solution. Cheerleaders don't win football games; they just try to make you feel good.
Some people may be turned off by this book because it is not a "how to" book in the traditional sense. You are required to incorporate the 7 habits into your life in order to make it work. There are no shortcuts and no exercises to do. It's not easy at all. It requires a fundamental change in your outlook on life. I have difficulty rating what I like best about this book. I found the chapter on "Think Win Win" to be my favorite with "Seek First to Understand, Then be Understood" as a close second. Too many of us try to compete in life without seeing the big picture.
I'm giving this book 5 stars because I think it is a cut way above the rest of the self-help literature of the 20th century. It's not filled with silly platitudes and quotes you can put on your wall. It is deep, very deep and very thought provoking. If you want shortcuts and simple little exercises like most books give you, then don't waste your money on this book. If you want to take a good hard look at your life from the inside out, then this book is a real bargain.
am 22. August 1999
First of all, people who have responded negatively to "The 7 Habits" may simply not be ready to incorporate and internalize Covey's principles into their lives yet. They may also have been expecting an easy read, a "quick fix" if you will, and been sadly disappointed. For people who are ready, this book will seem like a beacon of light, giving implementable and easy to follow methods to take control of your life, feel fulfilled personally, be able to give to your loved ones and richen your every relationship. It just makes sense! I found the latter part of the book very powerful in that Covey hits on a key aspect to healthy, happy and effective living: BALANCE. "The 7 Habits" is a guide and reference manual providing you with the tools to take control of your life. It's up to the individual as to where to take that in his/her own life.
am 27. Mai 1998
This book has changed a lot of lives. I teach the Seven Habits to other people who ask me how I have managed to do many of the things I have, and still balance work, family, etc. Covey proposes sound, down-to-earth principles for achieving happiness, success, and managing "yourself" in time.
A lot of people, accustomed to those "quick fix" programs, find that they work no better than the quick weight loss, fad diets. You think you are doing great, for a short time, then you begin encountering hurdles. This book is a let-down for people who have become addicted to such short-term thinking. With patience, periodic review of the 7-Habits book, and determination, you can change your life.
Covey never said he would do it for you. But he has produced a great tool for helping you put it all into perspective.
am 7. Mai 1998
I just finished reading this book, and have to say it was a serious let-down in light of the reviews. Let me save you some time and money: 1) You are responsible for your own life, so do something about it. 2) Make a plan for yourself. 3) Focus on what's important. 3)You reap what you sow--so sow well. 4)Seek mutually beneficial relationships. 5) Have empathy and be considerate to others. 6)Be cooperative. 7) Take care of yourself--mind, body, and soul. ----Ground-breaking stuff, isn't it?!?! Mr. Covey is a wealthy man for this?! Hmmmmmmm.
am 14. Juli 1998
Well, Stephen Covey really gains popularity, but I still wonder why it is so easy to earn money on the obvious? It is a good book, but with a wrong approach from the reader, it may turn out as a religious book or a bible. I guess that's not what Stephen wants, but if you keep your head cool and adopt the goodies from the script, the book may be a shortcut to a successful life in many ways. It is still essential to think by your self, your own thoughts. With a correct approach this book should be a good help for people with minds stuck in dead ends...bearing in mind that no one but yourself can do the necessary work. Read it, judge it, use it, but most important: Improve your life with or without it. Dale Carnegie would perhaps have written this book if he had been alive.
am 6. September 2012
Keine Frage: Die Thesen in diesem Buch würde ich bestätigen. Der Autor beschreibt diese sehr anschaulich und einprägsam. Ich finde es aber fast schon bedenklich, dass die Menschheit so ein Buch braucht. Mir ist es ingesamt zu "platt" und zu amerikanisch. Wem aber z.B. nicht klar ist, dass er für sein Leben selbst verantwortlich ist, und für Regeln wie "Begin with the End in Mind", "Put first things first", "Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood" oder "Think Win-Win" noch Erklärungsbedarf für sich sieht, der kann aus diesem Buch durchaus etwas lernen. Der Nutzen des Buches für den Leser hängt also von seinem persönlichen Entwicklungsstand ab.
Eine Anmerkung zum eBook: Die Illusrationen sind teilweise komplett geschwärzt.
am 6. Juni 2000
This book is not about organizing. It's about prioritizing, learning to think with new perspectives, and leaving out junk without guilt. I took the 7 Habits class, and then read the book. The rules, or habits, are not innate. It's something we cultivate as intelligent beings, so we work smarter, not harder. I try to implement them in my daily life as much as I can, :) and it helped immensely. Love, Peace, Light, and Laughter
am 11. März 2000
Stephen Covey brings "25 years of working with people in business, university and marriage and family settings," as his credentials in writing this book. With an MBA from Harvard, a professorship at Brigham Young University and a marriage that has survived many years and nine children, these credentials certainly ring true. The principles he describes are not the products of academic research or controlled studies. Neither do they stem from deeply moving personal experiences that a Nelson Mandela or a Viktor Frankl may speak about. They are the principles that grandma may have talked about, if only she were more articulate. And yet, for this very reason, one feels compelled to listen to Covey for his experiences are close to those of us common folk.
Thesis and Critique
The book certainly presents a well structured attempt at restructuring our lives in the pursuit of personal excellence. In this review however, I will focus on its role as a management handbook. Covey makes a special effort to remind us that his is not a "time management" book. While this is a book about organizational excellence, Covey emphasizes that the foundation of organizational excellence is personal excellence. The seven habits he describes in great detail are tools leading to that goal. They can be applied in nearly every situation in our lives, and, if successfully practiced, will help us to improve our personal as well as professional lives. In describing Habit 1 (Be Proactive) Covey uses a vast array of allusions ranging from Pavlovian conditioned reflexes to Frankl's holocaust experiences. His erudite tone, laced with pithy personal anecdotes soon lulls the reader into acceptance in true Socratic fashion. The second Habit emphasizes a sense of mission. Under the influence of Covey and his cohorts, every corporate office now has some variation on a mission statement. The more inept and slow-moving the organization, the more prominent is the display of "The Vision of Our Corporation." While mission statements are valuable for organizations such as Procter and Gamble and Coke, they can be a hindrance in today's fast moving biotechnology and information systems companies whose very survival is based on constant redefinition and opportunistic adaptation to market demands and new technological developments. Habit 3 deals with time management and is perhaps the most useful section of the book. A reader in love with the Pareto principle could read this section and get most of the utility out of the book. A unique feature is the analysis of activities based on four quadrants. Covey stresses quadrant II activities such as relationship building and recognizing new opportunities. These are certainly critical management skills and deserve to be emphasized. Covey's worksheets for time management are also novel and represent an improvement over to-do lists and appointment books. The division of time based on ones many "roles" certainly is a way to achieve greater balance between the personal and the professional. With Habit 4 Covey again descends into sermonizing. Predecessors such as Jesus and Buddha have done a far better job at illustrating this principle through their lives and words. From a modern author angling at the management crowd one would expect a more "how-to" approach set in a real-world context, but this is lacking. A far superior treatment of this aspect is Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff's Co-opetition that shows the applications of this noble principle in a business setting. Habit 5 emphasizes empathic communication. The chapter showcases Covey's talents as an empath. Habit 6, Synergy is another great concept much touted by merging organizations. This chapter alone could explain Covey's tremendous success in an otherwise astute business community. Habit 7, picturesquely called "sharpening the saw," belongs more in a Deepak Chopra book with its quasi-religious overtones.
The overwhelming success of this book emphasizes the human mind's love of simplification. If seven, easy to understand habits could enrich our lives, the world quickly would become a much better place. These habits and their virtues are not new to us and have been an open secret for millennia. The difficulty of course lies in their application. On closing the book the following verse from Alice in Wonderland comes to mind:
'You are old,' said the youth, 'as I mentioned before, And have grown most uncommonly fat; Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door-- Pray, what is the reason of that?'
'In my youth,' said the sage, as he shook his grey locks, 'I kept all my limbs very supple By the use of this ointment--one shilling the box-- Allow me to sell you a couple?'
am 16. Juli 1999
Bei aller Skepsis gegenüber Selbsthilfe-Büchern, die mich früher geplagt hat, war dieses Buch schon immer ein persönlicher Klassiker.
Covey gelingt es in (typisch amerikanischer?) bildhafter und flüssig geschriebener Form ein weitreichendes Modell persönlicher Entwicklung zu vermitteln. Er bleibt bodenständig und verliert sich nicht in Fachterminologie oder Selbstdarstellung (wie das gerade bei deutschen Büchern in diesem Bereich der Fall zu sein scheint). Kurz, die Person, die ich zwischen oder hinter den Zeilen zu sehen vermute, ist durch und durch sympathisch - für einen Lehrer (und nichts anderes ist Covey ja in seiner Funktion als Autor) ist das meiner Meinung nach die optimale Voraussetzung. Die Vielzahl an positiven, teilweise fast euphorischen Kurzrezensionen (in Kommentarform, wie das bei amerikanischen Büchern die Regel ist) mutet denn ausnahmsweise auch nicht verzerrt, übertrieben selektiv an, sondern durchaus authentisch.
Coveys Vorschläge basieren auf einem (wiederum amerikanischen?) Glauben an die individuelle Verantwortlichkeit, die Möglichkeit und das Potential in jedem, aus seinem Leben das Beste zu machen. Die von ihm vermittelten Prinzipien unterteilt er in drei Hauptsegmente: Private Victory, Public Victory und Renewal. Anhand von vielen persönlichen und ihm von anderen Personen vermittelten Beispielen, anschaulichen Abbildungen und einleuchtenden Argumenten weist Covey auf die Bedeutung von proaktivem Handeln hin (be proactive), betont klare Zielsetzungen (begin with the end in mind), und konsequente Prioritätensetzungen (put first things first). Sehr positiv empfand ich die generelle humanistische Ausrichtung des Buchs - man merkt, das hier nicht ein Hardcore-Manager schreibt, für den finanzieller Erfolg und Macht das Non-plus-Ultra darstellen, sondern ein reflektierter, Integrität zeigender Unternehmer, Freund, Vater, Denker. Als Prinzipien für public victory definiert er entsprechend Win/Win-Denken, das Bemühen um Verständnis des Gegenübers (seek first to understand, then to be understood) und die Nutzung von Synergie-Effekten (die letztendlich von Solidarität nicht so verschieden sind).
Auch wenn Coveys Vorschläge einleuchten, inspirieren - die Umsetzung bleibt zumindest für mich immer wieder aufs neue eine Herausforderung. Trotzdem bin ich davon überzeugt, daß dieses Buch eine persönliche Bereicherung war und ist. (Dies ist eine Amazon.de an der Uni-Studentenrezension.)
am 1. Juli 1999
This review is based on the audio cassette version. This 8-cassette collection appears to be taken mostly from Dr. Covey's own seminars. Covey is an excellent speaker, and illustrates his concepts simply and concisely, with enough examples to make the application of his advice practical. Being derived from somewhat lo-fi recordings, the quality varies (some comments from the crowd are barely understandable) but overall the speech is clear.
My primary gripe is the way the tapes are organized. Perhaps some people prefer small segments of tapes to listen to in the car. I found the tape sides too short, and during my 30-minute commute to work I felt I was constantly juggling tapes -- turning them over, putting new ones in, etc. The cassettes themselves could be of higher quality too -- I had to do surgery on a couple when I found they came out of the package tangled.
He takes until tape three to even get to the first habit, and the reason is that Covey takes a lot of time to lay a firm foundation, without which the Seven Habits would come across as just so much cheerleading. His talk about life balance (P-PC), paradigms, habits, and the concept of the "emotional bank account" are essential to understand before even hearing about the Seven Habits themselves.
The first six habits split nicely into personal and social realms. If I would make any suggestions, I'd recommend moving the seventh habit, "sharpening the saw" up front, because it seems to be the only one that addresses actually changing your worldview (paradigm), a change that the other six habits seem predicated upon. I found his speeches on how to actually address a paradigm change incomplete, like the cartoon with the mathematicians who, in the middle of a lavishly complex chalkboard equation, wrote "and then a miracle occurs". Like the caption, I think Dr. Covey needs to be a little clearer on this point.
This book has made at least as big of an impact on society as Dr. David Burns's "Feeling Good" from 1980. Perhaps Burns's books could address the paradigm shifting problem and make a good companion to Dr. Covey's book. Although Burns, a psychologist, was helping depressed people and Covey is geared towards healthy people, Burns's cognitive therapy approach is as close to Paradigm Shifting 101 as I've ever found and might fill that void in Covey's book nicely.