The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey Book Review

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey Book ReviewThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 372
Format: Paperback
Indie Bookstores | Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity — principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.”


My Thoughts:

There are books you just read, and there are books you must live. The 7 Habits is a book you must live, read, furiously take notes, try to implement its teachings and re-read again for reinforcement.  I am not sure why I procrastinated so long in reading this book but I gained so much from it and think it will be a useful resource for anyone looking to improve themselves and their outlook on life.

I always thought myself a fair and objective person but from the first chapter I was forced to take an honestly brutal and deeper look at myself to learn more about the person I choose to be and that whom I want to be. I always thought myself an empathetic person and this book taught me how to take that empathy to the next level to really understand where people are coming from in our interactions.

While this book certainly would be helpful to dealing with difficult people in the workplace, I found it equally invaluable for learning how to deal with strong-willed young kids.  We each have our own minds and we encourage our kids to think for themselves and outside the box.  But then, we want them to listen to our every word and do as we say, which is not always what we do.  This book helped me learn ways to cope with those difficult moments in parenthood and I will continually need a refresher as my kids get older and we encounter new triumphs and trials.

When Anna from In the Next 30 Days mentioned that she’d read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens as a teenager, I thought what a great time to have my middle schooler read the teen version. It’s very similar and we have already had quite interesting discussions on how we can improve communication and trust with and for each other.

The book even had a planner template to help organize life and the many roles we undertake. I am constantly in search of a planner to meet my needs and I could never find one. Using the book’s template, I finally created my own planner that I have been using for a couple weeks now and finally I feel more in control of my schedule and weekly priorities for the many roles I juggle. The book also helped me prioritize my never ending to-do list, into manageable, weekly, bite-sized pieces. 

It’s been a long time since I learned so much about myself from a book. I’m still a work in progress, constantly learning and growing. But I feel stronger, inspired, empowered and ready to take on my daily challenges. Seven Habits was a refreshing change and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to build more meaningful relationships with yourself, your coworkers and most importantly, your family.

[bctt tweet=”The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People changed my life. See why and grab the #freeplanner now!”]

Favorite Quotes/Concepts

“Private victories precede public victories.”

Responsibility = response + ability (you are able to choose your response to the situation)

Emotional bank account, the amount of trust you build into your relationship. Your responses to situations can make deposits or withdrawals into the bank account and impact whether your trust in the other person (or their trust in you) is increased or decreased.

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are – or, as we are conditioned to see it.”

[bctt tweet=”The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey changed my life. See how here and grab the #free #planner!”]

For more planner and productivity goodness:

Check out the free printables I’ve made and planning tips.


Do not forget to follow my Planners, Organizing and Productivity board on Pinterest where I hoard collect tons of planning ideas to maximize my productivity:

               Follow Tanya @ Mom’s Small Victories’s board Planners, Organizing & Productivity on Pinterest.   

Have you read and tried to live the 7 Habits? What books have you read that inspired you to take a deeper look at yourself and make a change for the better? Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!


About Stephen Covey

From Goodreads: “Stephen Richards Covey was the author of the best-selling book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Other books he wrote include “First Things First”, “Principle-Centered Leadership”, and “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families”. In 2004, Covey released “The 8th Habit”. In 2008, Covey released “The Leader In Me—How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time”. He was also a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. You can purchase Stephen R. Covey’s books and audios at http://www.7habitsstore.com

Covey died at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho, on July 16, 2012, due to complications from a bicycle accident he suffered the previous April.”


  1. I haven’t read this one, but I read his other leadership book in college and it was full of really great advice. It also briefly touched on these habits so that was very useful too.

  2. Hi Tanya!
    I listened to this audiobook some time ago and yes, I liked it.
    However, I liked other books about productivity more than this, but I think that some of them talk to you more directly than others, or perhaps it’s the moment when you read them.
    Anyway, you always find valuable information in order to implement new habits in your life. I usually take this thing from this book, that thing from that book, and find a system that works for me 🙂
    And I always try to listen or read them again after a few months, because you have relaxed your habits and need more motivation, and because I always find “something else” that I missed in the first read.

  3. This book is right up my alley. I could definitely improve upon both my communication & organization skills. I love that quote, “We see the world not as it is, but as we are.” It’s so true.

    Great review! Very thorough & helpful.

    1. Thanks so much Krista. The 7 Habits is one of those few books I think I’d benefit from rereading. I keep making other people read it. I got my copy back over the weekend and I really want to sit down with it again. Maybe after this readathon is done. So glad to hear my review helped you and would love to discuss with you when you’ve read it.

  4. This is easily one of my all time favorite books. There’s so much wisdom and amazing advice in it! Plus, it’s amazing how applicable it is to everyone. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a businessman, a teacher, anything, you can learn a ton from this book.

  5. This is one of my oldest and rattiest books, but I keep going back to it. Everytime I open it I learn something new, for my circumstances, for that time. It’s a classic self-help book that will never ever get dated.

    1. I agree whole heartedly Aloi! I have already gotten it ratty by dropping water on it and yet I think it is one of a few books that I will re-read!

  6. I am so glad to hear you were so inspired by this book! I read it about 20 years ago, as a young and rising professional (i.e. before illness!). A colleague and friend, about 30 years my senior, loved this book so much that we used to tease him and refer to Steven Covey as St. Steven. But then I read the book myself – and listened to the incredible audios he lent me on cassette! – and I understood his zeal. I feel like this book absolutely changed my life. Like you, I thought I was a good, thoughtful person, but reading 7 Habits made me realize how self-absorbed I actually was (remember, in my late 20’s and no kids yet!). It transformed the way I interact with people.

    After reading your post and your comments on the application to parenting, I feel like I should re-read 7 Habits. My life now is so very different than it was back then – I;m sure my insights would be entirely different. Thanks for the reminder!


    Book By Book

    Live with CFS

    P.S. You inspired me to join the same two writing challenges – thanks! And I gave your blog a mention:

    1. Good for you reading this in your 20’s, I wish I had, at the start of my career. But I do think it’s worth a re-read, I think Covey gives as many business as he does parenting applications. He admits that he was still working on the 7 habits himself. It seems there is always some way we can improve the way we react to situations. With kids, we can never quite predict what they will come up with. I was sad to learn that Dr. Covey passed away last year but I certainly will go back and read some of his other books.

      Glad you’ve joined the writing challenges Sue, and I certainly appreciate the mention and your kind words!

        1. Sadly, yes. In the Goodreads profile that I copied to the About the Author at the bottom of the page, it says he died from complications from a bicycle accident. 🙁

  7. Very interesting to read your take on the the book from the perspective of a parent. I really liked the quote about the emotional bank account. I feel like we could use some of that in our household.

    1. Yes! Instead of an allowance, I almost want to track emotional bank accounts with my oldest son so he can see the impact of his actions on my trust levels. When I trust that he will do a chore without my nagging and he fails to do so, it’s a withdrawal. If he does the chore without my asking, it’s a deposit. He will be a teenager soon, we have to work on his earning our trust before I let him learn how to drive and have to trust him with other people’s lives. In all fairness, I should have him track how I am doing as well, if I make a promise or commitment to do something that impacts him, how do I live up to my word? Let’s hope I continue to earn his trust too 🙂

    1. It took me a while to read but I felt like a student taking notes on everything. I am a very visual person, so in order to remember the facts, I have to write it down in order to remember the habits taught. I don’t read exceptionally fast but do feel like I can read faster than a narrator can narrate. I bet it’s a lot of tapes to listen to 🙂

      As I told Sue, I think the principles Covey teaches are just as applicable in business as they are at home. He gave so many examples of his dealings with his own kids and so many “aha” moments, because I find myself in many of the same situations. Thanks for commenting Ashley!

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