When terms coined by a writer or a company enter our every day language, you know they’ve had an impact. The cover of my copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful PeopleThe 7 Habits of Highly Successful People say’s that it’s sold over 10 million copies (and it’s still ranked 9985 on Amazon’s best sellers list, despite being first published in 1989) so you might not be surprised that phrases like ‘sharpen the saw,’ and ‘think win / win’ were made popular from this Dr Stephen R. Covey’s classic.
So, what’s so important about the The 8th HabitThe 8th Habit that it has a book all to itself (and an extra 10 pages ignoring the appendices, and 38 pages more with)? Dr Covey’s concise description is that The 7 Habits lead to great effectiveness; and in today’s world that’s not enough so the 8th HabitThe 8th Habit builds on the previous seven and leads to greatness. Which is even move concise in the books title!
One unique element is that it’s accompanied by 15 videos. You can watch these online or order a DVD and pay the postage (which is $35 for the UK and $7.95 for the USA at the time of writing). Although the book still works without them, I thought the videos made an interesting compliment.
There are two parts to the book – Find Your Voice and Help Others to Find Thiers. Which might be broadly summarised as learn to lead yourself - more focused on you as an individual (like the ‘private victory’ of The 7 Habits), and then lead others - more focused on business (the like ‘public victory’ of The 7 Habits).
Then there are four core themes that pervade both parts and I’ve tried to condense Dr. Covey description to give you the essence of if for self leadership:
- Assume that the half life of your profession is two years – now prepare accordingly. What is your vision of the future?
- Assume you had a direct relationship with your maker – now live accordingly. Use your conscience.
- Assume that you had had a heart attack, now treat your body accordingly. Have discipline.
- Assume that everything you say about another can be overheard – now speak accordingly. Live with passion.
This really does only give you a flavour. Like many good books it’s full of stories and fitting with Dr Covey’s data orientation there’s plenty of charts, tables and research.
There are parts of the book that I found a little difficult to keep my concentration, but overall it’s worth it. If the super summary "Live, Love, Learn & Leave a Legacy" sounds good and you want to be a leader, this is one of the books you really should read.
Format: BookBook 382 pages, AudioAudio 14hrs 24 mins, Short video 48mins and WorkbookWorkbook
Author: Dr. Stephen R. Covey