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3.8 out of 5 stars
The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
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398 of 412 people found the following review helpful
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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123 of 138 people found the following review helpful
As with most of his previous writings, Dr. Covey has a great point to get across and does an excellent job of motivating it and presenting it in a way that makes it easy to apply to yourself. Unfortunately, unlike his other books, this one was a bit tedious to get through. The mixture of inspirational content (quotes and motivational passages), reiteration of concepts, mapping of his concepts onto the presentations of others in the leadership and self-help community, and just general pacing added up to make this far longer than I would've preferred. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who isn't a speed reader.
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87 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2004
When I got my hands on a pre-release copy of this book, I expected to enjoy it, simply because his classic, THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE, has had such a powerful impact on my personal and professional life. But in no way was I prepared for this new book to be so inspiring and riviting, and to speak so clearly and insightfully to my present challenges and desires for my life.

With THE 8TH HABIT, Covey not only acknowledges the on-going need to be effective in today's world, but puts his finger on the human hunger for meaning, contribution, and significance--what he calls "greatness"--and then provides a roadmap for individuals and organizations to achieve it.

You know it's one thing to identify, as his research does, just how disengaged, frustrated, disempowered and straitjacketed most people are in the organizations they work for, but it's another to give insight into how we can actually realize the kind of positive change we desire in our lives, our homes, and in the teams and organizations we are part of.

I love and was moved by the personal examples and experiences Covey shares. It's another great blend of principles and practical, inspiring stories. I also love how the focus is not just centered on oneself. Yes, we can and need to "find our voice," but the equal and perhaps greater key to life lies in "inspiring others to find their voice." That's the leadership challenge--whether it be with your children or with those you work with.

I believe this may very well be Covey's most important and significant work--an idea whose time has come.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2006
This is one of the most articulate compendiums on human/business relationships on the market today. Not the sugary feel-good hype but luminescent truths peppered with examples on how to achieve success in today's world by applying age-old human relationship laws with new laws born of the paradigm shift. Incomparable stuff - something for everyone. LOTS of info here - and with 13 CDs, it's not to be absorbed overnight.

BONUS! This set also comes with a DVD full of GREAT relevant "mini-movies"! Each movie set is wonderfully produced and qualifies as a top-notch corporate level teaching tool! In addition the family can enjoy it! This bonus DVD alone is worth the price of the 13 CD + 1 DVD set!

Highly recommended!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2005
I'd have to agree with many of the reviews here. Loved Seven Habits, read it many years ago. This one... is... just... a bit... slow... and goes on... and on. I glazed over and haven't read the last bit. I also tired of the repetition - the book is over long as it is, so why add in stories from other books? It seemed unnecessary. Anyway, I admire his intent.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2004
I bought this book after reading a review that suggested that the author may have been inspired in his discovery of his 8th habit when faced with a crisis in his Mormon faith, due to the publication of the book "Losing a Lost Tribe" that was written by a Mormon Bishop who describes how DNA evidence disproves the Book of Mormon. Covey says nothing about such a personal crisis in this book, but instead attributes his discovery of this newly discovered habit to research evidence about human behavior.

"The 8th Habit" describes how to find your own voice and then how to inspire others to do the same. Reading this book was inspirational and did excite me to further find my own voice, so I do feel I got a good return on my investment. It gives many examples of individuals who succeed by effectively individuating and who engage others to do the same. It also gives examples of those who fail to do so and how that failure will ultimately block their greatest potential for success.

The author gives the reader an additional powerful tool to enrich his life with this new book, but I did not feel that "The 8th Habit" was as strong as "7 Habits of Highly Effective People." I found myself loosing interest and skipping to the later chapters that seemed to get more to the point. Some of the conclusions seem overly simplistic. Nevertheless, on the whole, the concept is worthwhile. Unfortunately, this book lacks the punch and conciseness of the former volume. It left me with the impression that it was like a movie sequel written to capitalize on the authors past success.
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42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Poorly conceptualized. Those are the only words to describe the Eighth Habit, a length tome based on one principle that promises to be the "holy grail" of principles, but instead feels like a soggy loaf of day old bread. I am a disciple of Covey since 7 Habits first came out; own the CDs and listen to them, even now, yearly. They contain realistic, practical advice (not a "Cheerleader" like Tony Robbins et al) that allows you to integrate seven simple skills into your thought pattern. The Seven Habits are lively with example and crisp in its scope. The Eighth Habit, however, is more ethereal, more of a notion as to what the habit of purpose should be than it is a true guidepost on the compass of life (to use Stephen's analogy). Rather than climbing the ladder of success only to find that it is placed on the wrong wall--as Covey so eloquently professed in his milestone first bestseller- this book would preach that it can help you can find "the wall", a true purpose in your life. Therein lies the rub, as the mushy substance of the book does not allow intriguing storylines for example, and the essential notion of the book rapidly becomes repetative and lackluster. I strongly advise those who have not recently read or headr the Sveen Habits to review now. For those hoping for a successful Eighth habit, save your money on this book/audio CD and spend it on a trip to the beach, in a sunset, look to the sky and ask, "What am I all about, (insert your god or goddesses'name here)?" and ---think.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2006
This book isn't as much of a delight to read as was the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I don't know quite what to account that to, but I think that Mr. Covey had less to say in this volume. There are many charts and diagrams, and much repetition, here. Also, this book is over-saturated with Covey's patented brand of neologistic corporate-speak. Everything needs its own buzz word (or four), and so you have to have read the 7 Habits going in, just to be able to understand what Covey's referring to.

The positives include Covey's neverending enthusiasm for human potential. His basic messages, when divorced from all of that jargon, are spot-on. Yes, there is a gap between stimulus and response, and that's what makes all the difference! Also, I should mention that, while he's primarily talking about business structure in this book, every concept can be brought down to both family-level and that of the individual. Covey isn't just for MBA candidates.

In short, Covey is a wonderful writer with a great heart, but this isn't his best work. Reading the 7 Habits is a must; this one isn't worthless, but neither is it necessary. Three stars.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2006
I would recommend this book with some reservations. First, I will cover the areas of the book that I liked and found incredibly useful. Second, I will give some criticisms I have of the book. I liked the book because it drew on a tremendous amount of organizational behavior theories. It addressed the importance of finding your own voice. And encouraged leaders to inspire others to find their voices, which in turn leads to increased effectiveness, growth, and impact. Dr. Covey did a great job covering where we have been as a culture and where we are headed in the near future. Based on his predictions, he was able to guide and coach his readers into accepting the new challenges. He laid out models that would allow individuals to thrive, innovate, excel, and lead in an every changing world. In contrast, I disliked the book because many of the examples that were given throughout it speak to a small population in the world. I will never be a CEO in my lifetime, so how can I relate to what a CEO is saying? I am not Opera Winfrey, so how can I relate to what she is doing? I am not Gandhi, so how can I relate to what he did? I wanted to walk away from the book and understand how I, as a manager, can begin to change the culture I coexist in everyday. To me, these examples were not real. I couldn't relate to them in my everyday experiences. My other criticize of the book is that it is overly positive. There are a couple examples of how things went wrong in an organization, but mostly the book focuses on the positive transformations. I wanted to hear how a CEO's decision destroyed the culture he tried so hard to create. What was the impact? How did people react? What were his next steps? How was he looked at as a leader? I felt that those kinds of examples would have given me more to think about as a leader.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2005
I am a long time fan of S. Covey's work and a living example of using the 7-Habits as a platform to assist in managing my life. I have seen Covey speak on numerous occassions and have attended many a seminar.

As a Covey fan, that's what makes this review tough. I am positive that there are jewels of wisdom contained in The 8th Habit, but I just can't get to them! The book is really tough to get through. Mixed messages that get off topic, visuals that aren't intuitive....just not very good.

I had recently signed up to attend an 8th Habit Seminar in Denver. After attempting to reconnect with the book, and failing, for the 4th time, I call FranklinCovey today to ask for a refund for my seminar.

If this wasn't a Covey book, I would have given it one star. The three star designation is more out of respect for Mr. Covey and his work vs. how I really felt about his latest effort.

Sorry to leave such an awful review, but, that's the way I see it. Terribly disappointing.
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