The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, by Stephen R. Covey (Free Press, 2004)

Strictly speaking, this is not a review of Stephen Covey’s new book. The 8th Habit is in great demand at our library, so all I have done is read through it, making little attempt to think about the concepts, much less apply them. (I still have a long way to go in applying the concepts from Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First.) I will, however, allow myself a few comments:

The critical 8th habit is “Find Your Voice, and Inspire Others to Find Theirs,” which I'll admit doesn’t make much sense out of context. I believe there is much of value to be found here, although it’s not going to happen in a single reading—nor in any reading at all that is not accompanied by application. I was a bit frustrated in that it did not read as smoothly as Covey’s other books; I kept bogging down in what appeared to be repetitiveness, in the many charts and graphs, and in the business/corporate/organizational applications. The examples were wonderful to read, however, and I know the principles are applicable on a smaller (e.g. family) scale. I’ll probably come back to this book after I’ve done better at applying what I learned in the earlier books.

I wonder how much Stephen Covey, Richard Ryan, and Edward Deci are aware of each other. There’s much in The 8th Habit that reminded me of what I learned from a seminar Deci and Ryan gave at the University of Rochester, and from Deci’s book about understanding self-motivation, Why We Do What We Do.

The principles expressed in The 8th Habit are timeless and universal. The format of the book is not. Included with the book is a DVD, and the narrative is frequently interrupted by an exhortation to stop reading and watch a short movie. No doubt this works well for many people, but is annoying to those of us who do not own a DVD player, or who may be reading in the car or at the dentist’s office. That’s another reason I can’t review the book, because I don’t know what I’ve missed by not being able to watch the movies. Several footnotes suggest websites to visit for further information, which is useful, but also a sign of an author who is writing for this year’s readers, not those who might pick up his book ten or a hundred years from now.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, February 3, 2005 at 9:08 am | Edit
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