Voracious reader and DPhil candidate blogs about books and scholarly life.
This is, quite probably, the first book review I ever wrote, and certainly the first one I got published, as part of a series of reviews of self-help books for students in The Ubyssey. And it’s a bit of a hatchet job. No apologies.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen R. Covey
Leadership is important to many students. It is something that scholarships and jobs are centred on. It is something that many are eager to delve into best-selling leadership books for.
But that doesn’t mean you should read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Stephen J. Covey’s work on effective leadership has become hugely popular since its release in 1990, reaching an audience of millions, and it still continues to be sold with a 4.5-star rating on Amazon. However, the book assumes a frame of reference that many students cannot relate to.
Covey tries to teach the reader how to better interact with their (heterosexual) spouse, and their children. He encourages the reader to write a personal mission statement comparable to the United States constitution, and presents a sample version containing the phrases “God can count on me to keep my covenants” and “the love of Christ is visible through my actions.”
How can you even use this book as a student in a diverse community?
It is difficult, but the seven habits that Covey tries to teach its readers are still worth looking into. The book explains how to make the most of your social interactions. Covey focuses on listening rather than speaking, on the importance of understanding and being emphatic and on successful negotiation. At the same time, he explains how important it is to live according to your most important values, instead of pretending.
Finally, Covey shows how people are often blinded by the assumption that others see the world in the same way that they themselves do. A very valid point — and an ironic one, too.