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First Things First [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Stephen R. Covey , A. Roger Merrill
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 16.00
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Book Description

Nov. 1 1999
I'm getting more done in less time, but where are the rich relationships, the inner peace, the balance, the confidence that I'm doing what matters most and doing it well?
Does this nagging question haunt you, even when you feel you are being your most efficient? If so, First Things First can help you understand why so often our first things aren't first. Rather than offering you another clock, First Things First provides you with a compass, because where you're headed is more important than how fast you're going.

Frequently Bought Together

First Things First + The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change + The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
Price For All Three: CDN$ 33.13


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Product Description

From Amazon

What are the most important things in your life? Do they get as much care, emphasis, and time as you'd like to give them? Far from the traditional "be-more-efficient" time-management book with shortcut techniques, First Things First shows you how to look at your use of time totally differently. Using this book will help you create balance between your personal and professional responsibilities by putting first things first and acting on them. Covey teaches an organizing process that helps you categorize tasks so you focus on what is important, not merely what is urgent. First you divide tasks into these quadrants:
  1. Important and Urgent (crises, deadline-driven projects)
  2. Important, Not Urgent (preparation, prevention, planning, relationships)
  3. Urgent, Not Important (interruptions, many pressing matters)
  4. Not Urgent, Not Important (trivia, time wasters)

Most people spend most of their time in quadrants 1 and 3, while quadrant 2 is where quality happens. "Doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things," says Covey. He points you toward the real human needs--"to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy"--and how to balance your time to achieve a meaningful life, not just get things done. --Joan Price --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

This is the latest time-management book from the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
While the information in this book is still relevant and helpful, it's basically a rehash of much of the information covered in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Some of the ideas about mission statements and priorites are discussed more thoroughly and there is more specific information on time management like handling the "big rocks" in your week, but overall it seemed like a review. If you haven't read '7 Habits,' then it's a very useful approach to time management and setting the priorities in you life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Seven Habits June 30 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the best book on time management I have ever read. "First Things First" puts "Seven Habits" into action. It takes the "Habits" principles--sometimes a bit too abstract (and obtuse) and shows you how to put them to work. If you find you don't have time for the people and things that are really important in your life, read this book. If you take the suggestions seriously, you will never again short-change what you love. And, if you do, you will be at least be aware of your choices. A word of warning, though: Covey has an entire catalogue of products to sell you to support "First Things First," but the company does seem to be committed to "principle centered" business
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three authors, 1 CD - Good Highlights March 3 2004
By blair
Format:Audio CD
Some people on the reviews complained about the book not just being Covey talking...but if you notice the book is written by three people (yeah, Amazon only shows 2, but I have the book in front of me) The CD is a good highlight to explaining the basics to the First Things First principles. The cd says to get the book for using the meat and potatoes of the book...BUT there is also a 3 Disc set out there which is Unabriged and tells it all (for some reason I can't find it on Amazon...but have found it in searching around the net) So if you want the basics to remind yourself of what you are doing (Review regularly to make it a part of your life is a common self improvement strategy) is quicker than re-reading the book over and over... especially when given the gift of traffic to slow down and enjoy the CD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiritional and practical June 14 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
USA Today said that Stephen Covey is the hottest self-improvement consultant to hit U.S. business since Dale Carnegie and I agree. Covey is the best.
In First Things First, Covey discloses powerful time management techniques. What makes this book different from typical time management books and programs is that Covey shows you how to see the whole picture rather than tiny fragments of our lives.
Before reading and applying the techniques in First Things First, I would always lament
"I have too much to do---and not enough time to do it."
"I can't balance my personal life with my business life."
"There is too little of me and too much to do."
"I don't feel in controlof my life."
"Why do I feel so empty all the time."
What you won't find in this book is another daytimer program or another clock. Covey explains why it is more important to know where you are heading instead of how fast you are going. You won't find the old theory of working harder, faster, smarter and more, more, more. It's about effectiveness, not efficiency. And most importantly, it really works.
Thank you Dr. Covey!
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Format:Paperback
When I read this book, the movie, Princess Bride, came to mind. In it, Vizzini, one of the characters in that movie, uses the word "inconceivable" repeatedly. Eventually, another character in the movie, challenges him by saying: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Such is the book, First Things First, but the word here is "paradigm."
This is not an easy book to read; in fact, it could possibly induce a mild coma in the careless reader. At the least, it should come with a warning about operating heavy machinery afterwards. The difficult style is a result of having three authors. There are places in the book which begin "Stephen:" or "Roger:" or "Rebecca:" Other sections of the book bear no such introduction, insinuating the three are speaking in chorus; and then, there are passages which appear to have been authored by various acquaintances of theirs. This disorienting method of writing severely detracts from the already fragile quality of information in the book. If you are writing a book and need two people to help you write it, you need to either change subjects or find a different partner.
The book is not completely lacking value though. Chapters, Four through Eight, offer a decent time management system for those individuals who need to start somewhere; and Appendix A is an excellent resource for drafting a personal mission statement. Otherwise, the core information is hopelessly out of date by twenty-five years. The authors might be shocked to learn some of us are already using "sixth-generation paradigms" and are looking for something better. Really! Besides, if you are busy counting paradigms, you do not need to read a time management book much less write one.
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Format:Paperback
Stephen Covey and crew have written a worthwhile book about making your day to day life reflect your most important priorities and purposes.

The key concept of the book is Quadrant II. Quadrant II are those activities that are important but not necesarily urgent. They argue that most people spend most of their time in Quadrant I (urgent and important) and Quadrant III (urgent, not important) but that it is more effective to spend more time in Quadrant II. Quadrant II is where we plan, think about the best way to do something, prioritize, reflect, etc... and thus provide the best structure for carrying out our plan. A previous reviewer put it well when he said that this is "quality" time. The second part of the book, which is its heart, explains exactly how to use Quadrant II organizing. Its about translating your mission, roles and goals into your plans for the upcoming week and then reviewing that week in order to learn from it.
I found section two very helpful from a technical standpoint but the most interesting part of the book is chapter 3, "To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy". It is here that Covey and company give us their conception of human nature and the good life. To live refers to our physical needs which are for health and wealth; to love refers to our social needs which are to be in healthy relationships; to learn refers to our mental needs to learn, develop our capacities and grow; and to leave a legacy refers to our need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to make a contribution. In my opinion, this is a pretty good outline of the basic categories of human need. They then list the four human endowments (self awareness, conscience, independent will, creative imagination) which we need to use in order to satisfy our needs.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars First Things First
This book is outdated with its references to Vision and Mission Statements. The flow charts and reader activities are distracting and it is not a simple/quick read. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2008 by Gift Receiver
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Dr. Covey
This book makes a great addition to The 7 Habits. First Things First is as the title indicates a book about time management. But more than that, about people management. Read more
Published on June 30 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Why do we complicate our lives?
I started reading through this and thought to myself: "are there actually people out there that have complicated their lives to the point of needing something like this to... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by Brian S Landreth
4.0 out of 5 stars 7 Habits by Four Quadrants
This is a good book, yet it over reaches a little bit and could be a bit shorter to make the point. Yet, Covey and Merrill go a long way to help people sort out the priorities in... Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004 by Joseph J. Slevin
5.0 out of 5 stars Puttting first things first
What I like about Dr. Covey is that he can take such a basic concept, one that we all know we should do (but don't don't) and then beat it to death to drill it's importance to... Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Lack of story-time credibility and relevance of the "legacy"
There are a couple of major problems with this book. First of all, the author devotes a significant amount of space to explaining the importance of leaving a legacy, but fails to... Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2004 by "poobear123"
1.0 out of 5 stars Read "7 Habits" again instead of this book
I found this book a waste of time. This was a poor rehash of 7 Habits. 7 Habits I think is important reading and I have read it 7 or 8 times over the years. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Put first things first - it's a matter of priorities.
This book makes a great companion to Covey's highly acclaimed "7 Habits", unquestionably, one of the very best self devlopment books of all time. Read more
Published on July 4 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Put first things first - it's a matter of priorities.
This book makes a great companion to Covey's highly acclaimed "7 Habits", unquestionably, one of the very best self devlopment books of all time. Read more
Published on July 4 2003
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