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Showing 1-10 of 111 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on February 7, 2004
There are a couple of major problems with this book. First of all, the author devotes a significant amount of space to explaining the importance of leaving a legacy, but fails to recognize that this matters the least in terms of the largest group of people who bought this book and where they are right now in their lives.
Here's the gist of how the legacy imperative is presented and what it is: There are lots of successful people out there who are worth millions and, realize at some point in their late forties to fifties that they have spent their entire lives amassing wealth and have no abstract higher purpose or meaning in their lives. This is a common cliche that we are all familiar with, but Covey insults our intelligence by acting as though we have discovered dynamite.
There is also an audience inconsistency with the legacy. It's fair to say that this book is marketed to and generally read by those who want to be more productive and make more valuable use of their time; be more successful. This implies that the mass audience for this book has not made it yet.
With that being said, the quest for leaving a legacy is really irrelevent to someone who has not yet become accomplished or aquired affluence. What good would squabbling about some abstract principle do for someone who instead needs to advance his career and manage his time more effectively? In short, Covey, in his elitist academic demeanor, fails to recognize that the quest for a legacy is a luxury that is obtained later: It may be highly relevant once you're worth 10 mil and find that your view of the world is shrouded by "the hedges of your country club", but for now, most people need to eat.
Another problem is that Covey attempts to boost his perceived credibility by telling stories of his conquests, which are highly questionable; we weren't there. For example, he conveys a story about a speech that he gave to some college students, where, during a question and answer session, many students proposed a specific argument and were effective in conveying examples to support it. He disagreed but they weren't listening to him; He admits that he felt he was on the defensive and losing support among the students as they were leaning in favor of the students' argument. He claims that he then asked each of them to pause for a minute and listen to their inner voice. After this miute, he claims that they were less defiant, didn't know what to say, or agreed with him. Are you serious? I'm really going to believe that a large group of arrogant, defiant, "intellectual" college kids who are pushing some kind of progressive moral standard argument are really going to stop in their tracks and do a 180 after something like that. The problem with such unbelievable stories like this is that they claim things happened that you would never see, and since we weren't there, can't be substantiated.
The book is also full of fluff and could have been reduced to 25% and still say the same things.
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on March 29, 2015
First Things First [Kindle Edition With Audio/Video or without Video] is not 100% the exact full kindle, e-book version of the classic First Things First which is not very fair to the 3 original authors.Diagrams are poorly illustrated and surely diluted and destroyed the original spirit of First Things First, the classic textbook. A lot of the useful info of the original version of the First Things First book has been taken out or the typesetting makes reading so terrible and crammed, and yet the book is still named as the book truly or fully authored by Stephen R. Covey and the co-authors. This is certainly a watered-down version, especially all the important diagrams on Weekly Planning, QII Diagram, etc. are gone. Hope Franklin Covey brings back the original, exact ebook version of the book, and let Covey's true legacy about Life Leadership and Time Management live on! Besides, the new book, 5 Choices by FranklinCovey is no comparison to this First Things First book. Yet, for marketing reasons, in order to hype 5 Choices for FranklinCovey's public seminars and corporate training, many diagrams in First Things First are played down, and featured in 5 Choices instead. How can the First Things First book be truly be the "time management classic" when there is no QII Diagram there, and all the useful diagrams inside the book are deleted and inserted with those lousy, childish looking diagrams that spoil the mood of the book. I will definitely refund this ebook, and stay away ebooks from FranklinCovey that tends to water down their original great books!
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on December 22, 2015
I found it redundant with "Seven Habits" - covering the same material, but with a lot of unnecessary words. Seems like he was just churning out another book to make money off the reputation he made for himself from "Seven Habits".
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on May 12, 2003
Close to 400 tedious pages telling you to plan your time according to what is of heartfelt importance to you, review your progress and refine your goals, and spend an hour or so a day improving your skills. Got that? The book seems to be pitched toward yuppies with "urgency addiction", who need to spend less time at work and more with their kids and the PTA.

If you're at the planning-your-life-on-a-napkin stage, though, you might want to go to the library and photocopy--and answer--the questions in Appendix A (Mission Statement Workshop) as a starting point.
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on January 3, 2008
I was at first pleased to find a book that was written by an African, as well as one that discusses African traditions and customs. Not only that, it has also garnered enormous acclaim and praise from critics. However, after finishing Things Fall Apart and mulling it over in my mind, I now feel let down by author Chinua Achebe. While I managed to learn much about the culture of West Africa, particularly the traditions of the Igbo people in modern day Nigeria, as well as the effects of British imperialism, I was not enthralled by the sharp transitions, harsh and simple minded characters, and lack of a well developed story.

With a title ironically derived from a European poem (The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats), Things Fall Apart chronicles the adult life and exploits of Okonkwo, a member of the Igbo tribe who rose from humble beginnings to become a simultaneously respected and feared farmer and warrior. Okonkwo's fervent adherence to tribal customs of manliness and his tendency to conform stem from his desire to retain all that he worked hard for and now holds. To ensure that his legacy will live on, Okonkwo instills these values in his eldest son Nwoye by any means possible, even through abuse and alienation. The first major part of the story is an exhibition and explanation of various tribal customs, and describes Okonkwo's role in the special events and daily occurrences of life. Extremely detailed accounts of tribal processes in practically all aspects of life, from cooking to farming to law are given by Achebe. These descriptions are interesting to readers like me who have never been able to acquire much information about African culture, yet I was not able to relate or even sympathize with any of the characters. Okonkwo is the protagonist, but is a misogynist and narrow minded savage who is only able to command the respect and admiration of those around him through fear and violence. Other characters are either colorless and do not possess personalities that appeal to readers. Extremely simple language makes the novel far too easy to read, and makes the themes of the novel too obvious for readers.

What I despised most about this book was its sudden transition from relative calm to swift and destructive action following Okonkwo's accidental shooting of another tribe member. Okonkwo is punished by being exiled from his village and sent to live in his mother's village for seven years. Upon his return, Okonkwo finds his world turned upside down by the British settlers and their lifestyles, which contradict all of his values that he cannot compromise on, leading to his suicide. It is this overly quick change from an exposition of sorts to an actual plot that completely derails the reader and damages the novel. I feel that this novel fails to provide an adequate link between the two stages of the story, and that the two parts should have been completely separated into two different books. Only the second half the novel seems to have any actual plot, which proceeds too rapidly and without much explanation of the facts. The novel ends with an anticlimax, just as much of the book itself is sobering and disappointing, but this conclusion suits the story well and provides an appropriate ending situation for a novel on imperialism.

The amount of description of objects and scenes in this novel was remarkably vivid, as well as its explanation of tribal culture. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was that it provided interesting accounts of tribe life and the effects of imperialism on Africa. These qualities, however, pale in comparison to the bland and poorly structured story that Achebe has created, and the unappealing and cold characters that populate the novel. Critics have referred to Things Fall Apart as the quintessential African novel. This novel, however, has given me a poor image of African literature, and deserves to be read only by those who have the time required for progressing through its simpe language and unappealing plot.
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on December 2, 2015
I know this is considered a very important novel as it is the first to come out of Africa. However, it read like a myth to me, I found it boring,
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on November 16, 2015
Very confusing and depressing
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on July 31, 2013
This book takes a few ideas from the 7 habits and drags on and on for hundreds of pages.

I'm not convinced that Covery necessarily even wrote the book. The specific time tracking sheets are not useful, or even reflect a well designed system at all... I'd refer readers to Getting Things Done and Zen To Done as far as creating a system, and studying agile to really get the system on overdrive.

I simply don't understand the other reviews for this book. I took away almost nothing useful from it, especially after reading 7 habits. This is filled with beginner level material.

I'd get into specifics, but there was so much fluff, that nothing even stands out, and it's not worth my time to flip through the book and cite examples. Seriously very bad book, don't be fooled by other reviews.
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on June 14, 2014
I would call this book bland, but that would be giving it too much credit.

Dropping the reader in an environment that they have no previous knowledge of is kind of like dropping a two year old into the ocean: unless you give them something to hold onto (a likable or relatable protagonist being the life raft in this metaphor), someone is going to drown (and you're not going to get invited to any more fishing trips). Instead of a relatable or even admirable main character, Achebe gives us a 2000lb anchor in the form of Okonkueu. Instead of learning about the virtues of pre-colonial African culture alongside great characters, you will learn to hate everything about this loathsome ego-maniac over the course of the book. He has no redeeming factors, and grows more loathsome over time, alienating family members, emasculating his son, and attacking and killing innocent people. You will long for the days when he was just prideful. And when the Christian Missionaries show up the reader is expected to hate them even though they preach love, offered education, reached out to the village outcasts, took little from the tribe, and saved "undesirable" babies from the brush (these babies were put there by the characters that we were supposed to be rooting for) . This book is not a tragedy, because that implies that "the bad guys " win or an admirable character was killed. As far as I'm concerned, the good guys won and the characters who beat their wives and left babies to die either learned better or were killed off. If I didn't know who the author was, I would have thought this was a propaganda piece, created by someone who wanted to promote "the white man's burden" and ensure everyone that imperialism is for the best. As a history lesson, I guess this book is alright. It's peppered with interesting African proverbs and traditions, but you would be much better off doing your own research. Doing so would mean that you would avoid this steaming pile of a story.

Avoid this book at all cost unless you've got a thing for domestic violence and yams.
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on February 28, 2015
I got this book because i was very impressed with the authors book called 7 habits of highly effective people....although that book was impressive this one is a waist of time and money.
Its long, boring and repeating the same thing again and again.... nothing original and i really had to force myself to even get to half of the book.
It seems the author simply wanted to use his fame to write another book...what a shame
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