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.
- I already own a copy of the book.
- The book has been around for decades and has sold more than 25 million copies—surely, Covey must have gotten something right in it.
- Covey (while alive) and I share the same faith (a nice but not a necessary requirement).
- 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.
- He was bald and so I am I—another more personal connection.
- When he was alive, he lived not too far from where I live—a local connection.
- 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.
- 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.