Welcome to my first ever book report. Or, review. I just like to say “book report” because it reminds me of school and I’ve always liked the idea of book reports.

There’s something really beautiful about classifying knowledge to me.

That may make me look like a nerd, but that’s alright. I am one. A closet nerd.

I’ve always been inspired by a man named Derek Sivers. On his website, he has personally rated and reviewed more than 200 books!

I’d like to do the same. No doubt, it will take quite a long time to try and catch up to Derek, but that’s not my goal. I simply wish to catalogue the knowledge that I acquire from my daily book study.

I’ll begin with the fan favorite, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This is the first book that I have finished in 2017.

Below you’ll find a short personal summary and some of my favorite highlights from the book. Enjoy!


ASIN — B01069X4H0

Read — 1/11/17

Rating — 8/10

Go to the Amazon page.

Read more of my book reviews here.

Summary

To attempt to sum up this book in only a few short sentences feels like a daunting task. The book feels enormous! It seemed to take me a long time to read.

Not only is the book lengthy, but it is repetitive. I am sure that is intentional, but I believe that you could read a summary of this book and grasp all of the major takeaways just fine.

Overall, the book is a game changer! It is certainly one of the best books I’ve read on managing people, although the book is more about managing yourself.

My greatest takeaways were the win/win principle and the concept of empathetic listening. I’m not sure that I’ve ever done those things well, but after reading the chapters on those subjects, I feel that I grew tremendously.

I gave the book an 8/10 because it is incredible, but a bit too lengthy and quite repetitive for me.


Favorite Highlights

Great leadership begins first with character.

How do you build leaders? You first build character.

It simply makes no difference how good the rhetoric is or even how good the intentions are; if there is little or no trust, there is no foundation for permanent success.

Eventually, if there isn’t deep integrity and fundamental character strength, the challenges of life will cause true motives to surface and human relationship failure will replace short-term success.

As Emerson once put it, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”

To try to change outward attitudes and behaviors does very little good in the long run if we fail to examine the basic paradigms from which those attitudes and behaviors flow.

Our paradigms, correct or incorrect, are the sources of our attitudes and behaviors, and ultimately our relationships with others.

It becomes obvious that if we want to make relatively minor changes in our lives, we can perhaps appropriately focus on our attitudes and behaviors. But if we want to make significant, quantum change, we need to work on our basic paradigms.

Paradigms are inseparable from character.

If you don’t let a teacher know at what level you are—by asking a question, or revealing your ignorance—you will not learn or grow.

Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.

We must learn to listen. And this requires emotional strength.

Listening involves patience, openness, and the desire to understand—highly developed qualities of character.

It’s so much easier to operate from a low emotional level and to give high-level advice.

But to take the child alone, quietly, when the relationship is good and to discuss the teaching or the value seems to have much greater impact.

Perhaps a sense of possessing needs to come before a sense of genuine sharing.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle

We will define a habit as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire.

You can buy a person’s hand, but you can’t buy his heart. His heart is where his enthusiasm, his loyalty is. You can buy his back, but you can’t buy his brain. That’s where his creativity is, his ingenuity, his resourcefulness.

Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.

Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response.

Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behavior of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them.

The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person.

It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.

Many people wait for something to happen or someone to take care of them. But people who end up with the good jobs are the proactive ones who are solutions to problems, not problems themselves, who seize the initiative to do whatever is necessary, consistent with correct principles, to get the job done.

Holding people to the responsible course is not demeaning; it is affirming.

The language of reactive people absolves them of responsibility.

If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control—myself.

The power to make and keep commitments to ourselves is the essence of developing the basic habits of effectiveness.

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination.

No management success can compensate for failure in leadership.

I can live out of my imagination instead of my memory. I can tie myself to my limitless potential instead of my limiting past.

Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power.

If you visualize the wrong thing, you’ll produce the wrong thing.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” — Goethe

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

If we delegate to time, we think efficiency. If we delegate to other people, we think effectiveness.

Delegation means growth, both for individuals and for organizations.

Stewardship delegation is focused on results instead of methods. It gives people a choice of method and makes them responsible for results.

Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people. But it takes time and patience, and it doesn’t preclude the necessity to train and develop people so that their competency can rise to the level of that trust.

With immature people, you specify fewer desired results and more guidelines, identify more resources, conduct more frequent accountability interviews, and apply more immediate consequences. With more mature people, you have more challenging desired results, fewer guidelines, less frequent accountability, and less measurable but more discernable criteria.

Effective delegation is perhaps the best indicator of effective management simply because it is so basic to both personal and organizational growth.

An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship.

Really seeking to understand another person is probably one of the most important deposits you can make, and it is the key to every other deposit. You simply don’t know what constitutes a deposit to another person until you understand that individual.

People are very tender, very sensitive inside.

The cause of almost all relationship difficulties is rooted in conflicting or ambiguous expectations around roles and goals.

One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present. In doing so, we build the trust of those who are present. When you defend those who are absent, you retain the trust of those present.

It’s how you treat the one that reveals how you regard the ninety-nine, because everyone is ultimately a one.

Integrity also means avoiding any communication that is deceptive, full of guile, or beneath the dignity of people. “A lie is any communication with intent to deceive,” according to one definition of the word. Whether we communicate with words or behavior, if we have integrity, our intent cannot be to deceive.

Win/Win is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others.

Competition, not cooperation, lies at the core of the educational process. Cooperation, in fact, is usually associated with cheating.

Anything less than Win/Win in an interdependent reality is a poor second best that will have impact in the long-term relationship.

High courage and consideration are both essential to Win/Win. It is the balance that is the mark of real maturity. If I have it, I can listen, I can empathically understand, but I can also courageously confront.

The third character trait essential to Win/Win is the Abundance Mentality, the paradigm that there is plenty out there for everybody.

Often, people with a Scarcity Mentality harbor secret hopes that others might suffer misfortune—not terrible misfortune, but acceptable misfortune that would keep them “in their place.” They’re always comparing, always competing.

You basically get what you reward.

But how often do we diagnose before we prescribe in communication?

If you want to interact effectively with me, to influence me—your spouse, your child, your neighbor, your boss, your coworker, your friend—you first need to understand me.

But unless I open up with you, unless you understand me and my unique situation and feelings, you won’t know how to advise or counsel me.

Unless you’re influenced by my uniqueness, I’m not going to be influenced by your advice. So if you want to be really effective in the habit of interpersonal communication, you cannot do it with technique alone. You have to build the skills of empathic listening on a base of character that inspires openness and trust.

Empathic (from empathy) listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand their paradigm, you understand how they feel.

Communications experts estimate, in fact, that only 10 percent of our communication is represented by the words we say. Another 30 percent is represented by our sounds, and 60 percent by our body language. In empathic listening, you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and with your heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning. You listen for behavior. You use your right brain as well as your left. You sense, you intuit, you feel.

Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival—to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.

When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air. And after that vital need is met, you can then focus on influencing or problem solving.

Because you really listen, you become influenceable. And being influenceable is the key to influencing others.

Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way.

Goethe taught, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress.

That which we persist in doing becomes easier—not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.

Principles are natural laws that are external to us and that ultimately control the consequences of our actions. Values are internal and subjective and represent that which we feel strongest about in guiding our behavior.

I have come to believe that humility is the mother of all virtues.

It’s better to be trusted than to be liked.

What is common sense is not always common practice.

When you are buried by the urgent and have a thousand balls in the air, it is so easy to put people that appear to have solutions into key positions.

I am convinced that when recruiting and selecting is done strategically, that is, thinking long-term and proactively, not based upon the pressures of the moment, it pays enormous long-term dividends.

Albert Schweitzer’s three basic rules for raising children: First, example; second, example; third, example.


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