I read this book in 7th grade at the age of 12, and I loved it. I thought it was very well-written and witty.
Now, as a 19 year old, I recently finished rereading this book just because I found it as I was cleaning out my bookshelf, and I have to say...it's not bad, but it's not that good. I think, perhaps, as the author was aiming for a lower age bracket, he accidentally aimed a little too low.
Here's my breakdown:
- Book is much shorter than the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People yet still conveys the same ideas.
- The writing style is pretty straightforward.
- It offers a lot of examples from teens and a lot of illustrations.
- Book becomes more and more condescending as it goes on.
- At some points, there are just too many examples, and many are rather impersonal--they don't offer the kind of detail that would make a reader actually care. Some of the examples even contradict the Habits.
- A lot of the illustrations are kind of lame (I remember thinking this back at the age of 12, as well). The charts are fine, but most of the cartoons on the side just aren't funny.
- The information in the book is all very intuitive.
I think I will read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to see how I feel about it. As for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, I have to say...
1) Do not force a teen to read a self-help book. I've seen that in most of the negative comments, people were forced to read this book for a class in school. I think doing so even goes against the Habits. If you genuinely care about someone's problems, maybe read through the Habits yourself and practice them. Then, you might be able to get your little friend to play along. This book is not that inspiring, and anyone who is forced to read it will easily find a thousand things ridiculous about it.
2) Although the book's subject matter is intuitive, I agree that it is nice to be reminded of the right way to live your life and how to reach an "effective" life.
3) However...because of the book's pseudo-spunky and somewhat condescending style, I see it gaining more acceptance among people right on the brink of teenagedom than actual teens. Pre-teens will probably get more of a kick out of reading a book for teens, and they may not notice the condescending writing since society has yet to tell them that they deserve to be treated as adults. There are points where Covey talks about eating disorders and suicide, but, as far as I can remember, middle schoolers have already been well introduced to these topics.
This is not a good book for the people it was meant to help, but it would be a very good book for a slightly younger age group. That way, you have a better chance of getting through to them before the pressures start to pile on.