Book review: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey

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Stunning Sunday everyone! Hope that despite everything going on currently around the world, everyone is sound and safe. Today I will provide you a short summary of the book “The 7 habits of Highly effective People”, by Stephen R. Covey. By now you should now the drill: Grab a cup of coffee, tea or whatever else you crave for, make yourself comfortable and let’s walk through my review.

Short summary:

The introduction of the book evolves around the fact that a lot of people who seem to enjoy success on their lives, still struggle to develop personal effectiveness and meaningful relationships. People tend to see the world through their own glasses, based heavily on personal experiences and perceptions. Therefore, we need to shift our paradigms and try not to change the situation, but rather focus on changing ourselves and our own perspectives and way we see and interpret things. To achieve true change, we need to develop, practice and sustain lifelong the seven Habits as presented by Stephen R. Covey. These habits are:

1.Be Proactive

We should enhance our self-awareness, to understand how we see ourselves, and how others see themselves, so that we can become objective on every situation we face. We should proactively choose to deploy our imagination to create our ideal world and to take account of our actions. Proactive people do not react to external stimulus, they rather learn to respond according to the underlying values.

2.Begin with the End in Mind

It is of paramount importance for every action we do to start with the ultimate destination in mind. Every one of us needs to create a personal mission statement guided by our character (who we want to be) and what we want to achieve. Our mission statement needs to be based on solid principles. We need to start from the centre of our circle of influence and works outwards. Factors like security, guidance, wisdom, power are very important.

3.Put First Things First

Humans hold a unique trait, which is our ability to choose freely, to have an “independent will”. Our focus should not be on managing time but on managing ourselves. Covey analyses the concept around the 4 Quadrants of activities measured by importance and urgency. People usually spend most of their time on the Quadrants that are not beneficial for our development. We need to choose wisely where we focus our time and energy, with ultimate goal to spend most of our time on Quadrant 2 activities (important but not urgent things).

4.Think Win / Win

The best way to deal with every situation is by using a “Win/Win” model. We need to seek to enlarge the pie and find beneficial solutions and outcomes for every participant. Moving to interdependent relationships can only be succeeded on the premise of real personal independence. We need to build trust on our relationships and exchanges with others and to make deposits on the emotional bank. Such deposits shall help to compensate any unpreventable withdrawals and keep a positive balance on the relationship account.

5.Seek First to Understand. Then to Be Understood

Empathetic listening is the best way to build trust in situations where trust is of paramount importance. We need to try to understand first the other person before making any effort to be understood. People will be more open to listen to us when we spend enough time to listen to them and genuinely understand their perspective of the situation.


Synergize is the only way to create more value for all parties involved. We should communicate and cooperate in a synergetic way to open up to more possibilities and out of the box alternatives that benefit everyone.

7.Sharpen the Saw

The principle of “sharpening the saw” is one that is even more crucial nowadays when people tend to get lost on being all the time busy. The most valuable thing we have is our own selves and we need to spend the needed time to develop ourselves on our four important aspects. These aspects are the ones related to our physical, spiritual, mental and emotional development. All of them are crucial and contribute towards the Quadrant 2 activities.

Why I liked this book:

A big part of this book explores and analyses the fact how two persons can investigate the same topic/situation, seeing the same hard facts but still interpret the situation completely different based on their own experiences and on their own underlying unique perspectives. I personally think that understanding such concept and keeping it on mind whenever we communicate, or argue with someone, is very important to make us more empathetic and help us to find solutions which we might not have thought of otherwise. I found all the examples and practical tips on this context very eye opening and insightful.

Main take away from the books is:

My main take away from this book is linked to how we need to constantly take good care of ourselves and always keep developing our physical, spiritual, mental and emotional capabilities.


I hope you enjoyed this review. In case you read the book yourself and have different insights and main key take aways, I would love to hear about them on the comments below.

If you enjoy book reviews or looking for some new books for your reading list, have a look as well on the links below.

And if you enjoy poetry have a look as well on my book “The 5 stages of the Quest” available on Amazon.

Till next time take good care and remember to smile 😊

2 thoughts on “Book review: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey

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