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The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People

Funny how American writers always have to have the middle initial. Mine’s a P. just in case you’re interested (I know you’re not). This is one of the most famous personal development books ever written and has since spawned a veritable industry – leadership training, time management systems, you name it. In a way that’s a shame because it dilutes the power of the original work.

I think it’s a great book. I like it because it tells us the truth; and the truth is that personal development and growth is an internal job, and there are no quick fixes. There are many who would have us believe that learning a few specialised techniques will transform our lives, and enable us to become ‘master practitioners of communication.’  They are wrong. These ‘techniques’ will only impress other ‘master practitioners.’ Everyone else will think you’re strange.

The seven habits are fundamental truths, and as Covey explains them, you can feel quite uncomfortable as you remember the many times you did the opposite with painful human consequences. The ideas are powerful and have become part of our language now e.g. the win-win, being proactive. My favourite is ‘the emotional bank account.’ This is the truth that we have to invest in relationships for them to bear fruit. How often do we forget that one, even with the people that we love?!

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