Only Seven Habits From Success

How do you go about choosing a book to live by in the hopes that it will change your life for the better? If you are a person of faith, you may choose a book of scripture. It is never a bad choice in my opinion—except for when personal ambition, pride, and hubris are driving the interpretation of those sacred writings. Anyone for a holy war?

What about something for a more secular approach to self-improvement though? This is my challenge for this blog—the Think Taller Experiment. There are a lot of self-help books out there to choose from.

According to my extensive research (i.e. google), “Self-improvement represents a $10 billion per year industry in the U.S. alone.”  It has, however, been pointed out that there is a “noticeable absence of empirical evidence supporting the advice so copiously pumped out to the masses.”

Let me be clear. I will not be providing empirical evidence. It’s all going to be antidotal—my antidotes—and yours, if you choose to follow along and become a part of the conversation.

After much consideration, I decided to go with Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It was a hard choice.  How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie was a close second. In the end though, Seven Habits won the day for the following very valid reasons.

  1. I already own a copy of the book.
  2. The book has been around for decades and has sold more than 25 million copies—surely, Covey must have gotten something right in it.
  3. Covey (while alive) and I share the same faith (a nice but not a necessary requirement).
  4. I actually had an opportunity to see Covey live with about 40 other people when he came to speak to an employment networking group I was attending—that experience gives me a sense of personal connection with the author.
  5. He was bald and so I am I—another more personal connection.
  6. When he was alive, he lived not too far from where I live—a local connection.
  7. It is a book that claims to address who you are (character ethic) opposed to behavior techniques (personality ethic). Who really likes who they are anyway— if they did there wouldn’t be a 10 billion dollar self-improvement market.
  8. The book gets into paradigm shifts—which sounds cool and all metaphysical.

Does applying the principles—or in this case—adopting a bunch of habits really work? I will let you know how things are going as I attempt to live the seven habits of a highly effective person—which at this point I make no claim to resembling.

Maybe one day I will be a highly effective person.  I suppose one could do worse things with his or her life than trying to live a bunch of value based habits.


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