This week I present to you a masterpiece of self-improvement that is celebrating its 25th birthday this year. It has sold over 20 million copies and been printed in 38 different languages. It remained on the “New York Times Bestseller List” for almost 5 years. It has helped better the lives of millions of people all over the world, including mine. This week’s entry into the Scott Drotar Literary Review is the Stephen R. Covey classic, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
In this book, Covey explains that in order to make real changes in your attitudes and behaviors, you must first make a paradigm shift in the way you see the world. This is similar to what I call “Mental Optometry,” as it is the process of stepping back to try to see things as they actually are without the slant that your “lens” puts on the situation. He proposes what he calls an “inside-out” procedure to make this change and improve your life. He chose this name because you first work on habits that are completely inside you, and then you work on habits that involve your interactions with other people. By developing each of the 7 habits, in the order he suggests, you can make major, long-term improvements in your life.
The author also groups the habits and orders them this way to illustrate the importance of how you view your place in society. He discusses the differences between living being independent, dependent, and interdependent. He shows how society often promotes being independent and self-sufficient, and that even though being independent may make you a great worker in a technical sense, you do not work or live in a vacuum. In order to move up in your career and your life, you must also work with others and master being interdependent. By practicing the 7 habits in this tome of knowledge, you will be able to move from being independent to interdependent, and greatly improve your personal and professional life.
There is really nothing bad to say about this roadmap to a better life. The writing is very accessible and still does a thorough job of fully presenting the information. He even uses diagrams and pictures to help illuminate certain points he is making. Each habit is well discussed, and there are numerous stories and examples throughout each chapter to solidify his message. I have read this book twice now, and I am sure before too long I will read it again. If you are really serious about making long-term, positive changes in your life, this is the place to start. This book gets a 5 out of 5 on the Roll Models Review Scale.