Book ‘review’: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Book by Stephen Covey

Here are a few key sections/quotes/thoughts that I gathered from a very brief flick through the book. I read the first few chapters more carefully, but was well overdue in returning it and so skimmed through the last sections…

Overall image sourced from p.53. A helpful overview and worth pointing out one of my favourites (also brought out strongly in last Emerging Leaders course):

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood”


Interesting insights from Covey’s own experience with son…p.16f – struggling in school, socially, athletically etc. They had desire to help him. Realised significance of how they saw him and treated him, i.e. Actions were communicating that they thought he wasn’t capable. Focused attention on their own motives and perception of him. See his uniqueness potential…they needed to affirm, enjoy and value him.

p.54 discussion on P (production of desired results) versus PC (production capability, asset that produces). Need a balance in maintaining/preserving both. Particularly, Covey later says (p.58) with regards to employees. “The PC principle is to always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” Treat them as volunteers – indeed “they volunteer the best part – their hearts and minds”.

In ‘Habit 1’ discussion of proactivity, discusses value in being proactive, driven by well thought out values etc, rather than reactive, driven by feelings, circumstances etc (like the weather!) In responding to others influence/affect on you, Covey quotes Eleanor Roosevelt – “No one can hurt you without your consent”. Our consent hurts us more than what happens in the first place. Choose my response!


Table sourced from p.78 showing proactive versus reactive type responses.

IBM founder T.J. Watson quote on p.91:

“Success…is on the far side of failure”.

Ties in well with the growth mindset idea! Need to have a go, fail first, to reach success.


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