Key Themes:

Self-development, Positivity, Growth Mindset, Leadership


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is one of the original self-development books. Covey wrote the book around the concept that the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions, thoughts and background. In order to change a given situation, we must, therefore, change ourselves, and in order to change ourselves, we must be able to change our perceptions. To demonstrate this belief system, he identified the 7 habits most commonly found in successful people.

Content Overview:

Covey’s book focuses on a person’s internal environment and demonstrates the belief, that any deep-seated change begins within yourself. He reiterates that the most important skill a person can master is to communicate and deal with people and that learning, improving and growing was the responsibility of every individual and essential in self-care.

As the book title outlines, there are 7 habits, that successful and effective people follow. These are:

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First
  • Habit 4: Think Win / Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  • Habit 6: Synergize
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Covey illustrates that most people are looking to find quick fixes. They see someone who’s been highly successful in life and want to know how they achieved it, in the misguided belief that that they can side-step the learning process and just follow a blueprint. But, he debates that real change, is only achievable from the inside out. He further adds that the most comprehensive way of changing yourself is through a paradigm shift and taking a new world view.

This book outlines his approach which is founded on building your character and principles.

The first three habits focus on you, taking you from reliance on the world to creating your own world. Habits 4, 5, and 6 focus your attention on people and relationships – moving you from independence to interdependence. The last habit concentrates on the importance of continuous growth and improvement.

Each habit is outlined using a combination of Covey’s research and knowledge and the experiences he’s faced as a leader, consultant, father and husband. At each step, he provides practical tasks to complete in order to develop positive benefits to the individual’s life and performance.

Rating: 8.5/10

The content of this book (originally published in 1989) is timeless and it’s definitely a classic. His 7 success habits remain as relevant today as when they were first published over 30-years ago.

Readability: 6.5/10

Covey’s book has some exceptional nuggets of wisdom and some great concepts but his writing style means that he often uses 100 words when 10 will do. But, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, if you push through, there is some life changing content here.

Does what it says on the tin: 8.5/10

Yes – these habits, with practical application and persistence will definitely change your life and add to your success.