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If you haven't read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I suggest you read that one before this book.

Dr. Covey obviously pulled out all of the stops in trying to make this book as helpful as possible to his readers. The book contains summaries of the material in his other books, repeats many stories from those books, reconciles the material with most of the business book best sellers in recent years, contains a DVD full of inspiring videos, provides references to many free materials on his web site, has extensive appendices and contains many thoughtful sections on questions and answers. As a result, the book comes across like an encyclopedia of his teachings . . . rather than as the simple communication that is so delightful in his other books. I suspect that Dr. Covey changed ghostwriters for this one (at least I assume that the other books were ghostwritten because they avoid the ponderous communications style that Dr. Covey uses in person).

So what is the 8th habit? Allow me to paraphrase. It'll be quicker that way. You act with integrity as an individual and help others to do the same.

In Covey-speak, it's the overlap of personal greatness (applying the 7 habits in the forms of vision, discipline, passion and conscience), leadership greatness (applying the 4 roles of leadership (modeling the 7 habits, path finding, aligning and Empowering), and organizational greatness (turned into a vision, mission and values that bring clarity, commitment, translation, synergy, enabling and accountability). See Figure 14.3 on page 280 for the simplest expression of the 8th habit in Covey-speak.

Can you make a book out of that point? Well, if you put in lots of examples, you can . . . which Dr. Covey did. But the basic point is about a magazine article's worth. Most people will come to that realization when they see the entire book's concepts summarized in chapters 14 and 15. If you want to check this book out, read those two chapters and see if you need more at that point.

Why do millions of people read his books? Well, the earlier ones were beautifully written. This one isn't. All of his books show unadulterated respect for the reader and a belief in the reader's unlimited potential to improve. So it's inspiring to read someone's high opinion of you. Dr. Covey obviously cares that we live moral and positive lives. He's a sort of secular priest expressing moral values that most will agree with. Would we all like to work for Dr. Covey? Sure!

How well will this book translate in the workplace? It'll be a tough row. You can have a company that's good at the 8th habit, but doesn't build the necessary skills to succeed with using the 8th habit. That's because this book is heavy on concepts . . . and light on the practical details. Dr. Covey starts up at about 100,000 feet in the air with his abstract thinking and discussions, and rarely gets any closer. So think of the 8th habit book as helpful . . . but not sufficient in and of itself . . . for creating superior performance. Perhaps it will work better if you employ Dr. Covey's firm to help you (which is abundantly pitched in the book).

Dr. Covey humbly points out that his conclusions are aimed at dealing with the problems of poor communication, lousy alignment, misunderstandings about what to do next, lacks of tools and training, and dumbed-down workplaces . . . but is not supported by research (other than anecdotes from his clients) to support that this actually works better. But you'll agree, I'm sure, that even failure would feel a lot better in such an organization. So it's very humanistic, which is a good thing.

Few will disagree with the point of this book, and most wonder what this adds to Dr. Covey's work on Principle-Centered Leadership. "Not very much" is my impression.

I suspect that this book would have worked a lot better if the material had been simplified and added to the 7 habits book . . . and renamed as "The 8 Habits of Highly Effective People."

May God bless you, Dr. Covey! Keep inspiring us to be our best!
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on October 3, 2014
The 8th Habit was very valuable to me. Stephen Covey presents a natural, holistic, balanced approach to life: Body Mind, Heart, and Spirit. It's taken me a long time to read & understand this book because of it's abstract-ness, but in my heart I know this is an important message that applies to everyone. His core message to humanity, I think, is "Educate and Obey Your Conscience". That is so basic, so fundamental, but so correct.

The 8th Habit is simply to 1.) "Find your voice", which is the overlapping of your Talents (what you're good at), Passion (what you love to do), Need (what the world needs, even enough to pay you for), and Conscience (that sense of what is right to do).
And 2.) "Inspire Others to Find Theirs", which is done in your relationships & organizations, by following principles that expand your influence.

The most powerful concept in the book for me was that of "Moral Authority" which is when a person chooses to live by principles (like fairness, respect, accountability, mutual understanding, integrity, contribution, & meaning) in his relationships. Then as trust is earned, the person gradually becomes a leader of those around him by their consent. He has earned their trust and they freely give it to him without him demanding it. Like Ghandi when he said he would not eat until his nation stopped fighting, and they freely obeyed by their own choice.

The book outlines 2 paths in life which we all choose: Either the culturally-scripted well-travelled path to mediocrity, or the upper road to greatness. Since this "greatness" builds upon the concept of "effectiveness", this book is best for people who have already reached a certain degree of understanding & competence in effectiveness, and are ready to search deeper, to get to an even higher grasp of the unconditional worth of all people and how to unleash human potential.

I'm just a 25 year old medic in BC, with very little leadership experience. But if I become involved in projects which involve cooperation of other people, I intend to apply these principles and even buy a few copies of this book for those whose influence I earn, so that they may educate & obey their consciences too.
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on May 30, 2014
Unfortunately, this was FALSE advertising; there was no DVD with the book and when I informed the company and requested one , they said they can't supply it. Not sure where to go next in terms of securing the DVD.
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on May 4, 2015
Lots of great stuff to apply today.
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on November 28, 2008
It is not a book that is an easy read - an aspect that is useful for those of us with only small bits of time. It's language is too academic is some instances and its testimonials are not something that a small business owner can relate to. The layout and lack of white space compounds the problem and the graphics are not practical. I would not recommend this book as a gift.
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on April 19, 2015
Informative, inspirational
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on June 2, 2015
Second Best Book Ever!!!
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on July 15, 2014
Just a repeat of the other 7 habits using different stories.

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on March 19, 2006
An important book on leadership; maybe one of the most important since 7 Habits. Covey does it again with an ability to simplify complex topics without oversimplification. A must-read for those undertaking leadership in any organization.
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