Top positive review
The ultimate book!
Reviewed in India on 16 May 2017
i) Are you hurt? or did someone reject you? Or do you think you don't have enough maturity to maintain relationships? or do you just want to understand how relations work?
ii) Do you wonder if there are any so-called 'natural laws' that we must follow in life for things to work better?
iii) Are you really very busy that you cannot manage your time effectively? or do you want to know how to prioritise your activities?
iv) Do you want to know the real meaning of maturity, happiness, love, frustration etc...
v) Do you somehow feel some emptiness in your life or in your relationship despite giving your best?
vi) Do you want to know how to communicate with others in accordance with natural laws?
vii) Do you want to know how to find out what exactly is your mission in life?
viii) Do you want to know what is right or wrong in any given situation etc...
And I can continue the list. No matter what ever may be your problem, I bet you'll find a solution in this book. Please trust me. I'm not exaggerating facts.
→The book has a total of 7 habits:
a) Private victory: These habits lift a person from dependent stage to independent stage.
1. Be proactive:
It basically teaches that "between stimulus and response HUMANS have the ability to choose". In computer metaphor it says you are the programmer.
2. Begin with the end in mind:
It teaches how to write a 'personal constitution' through which you can achieve your goals. In computer metaphor it says "write the program."
3. Put first things first:
It teaches how to prepare a scheduler/planner based on 'fourth generation of time management' which overcomes the shortcomings of the previous three generations. In computer metaphor it says "execute the program".
b) Public victory: These habits lift a person from independent stage to interdependent stage.
4. Think win/win:
In teaches how 'win-win/no deal' is the only viable alternative in interdependent reality transactions.
5. Seek first to understand and then to be understood:
It teaches basic laws to be followed to have a meaningful conversation with others.
It basically teaches how one plus one is greater than two (it may be 10/20/100 depending on the trust level)
7. Sharpen the saw:
It teaches how to have a balanced self-renewal in all four dimensions of human life viz., physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual.
→What's unique in this book:
1. The concept of character ethic and personality ethic.
2. The principles or laws are excellent. They are the foundation on which this book is written.
3. A broad definition of success.
4. Making us use our four 'unique human endowments' in solving our problems and even while reading this book.
5. There is logic/reason in everything covey says.
1. Covey says that he found startling contrast between the self help literature before 20th century and after 20th century. He found that the literature before 20th century concentrated more on the "character ethic" or the base (or the roots or the person's character or the private victory). In contrast the literature after 20th century concentrated more on the "personality ethic" or manipulation tricks (or public victory or communication skills or quick fixes or bandaids). Personality ethic may be required in some situations in life. But serving character through personality ethic is unacceptable. It doesn't really help. Just imagine trying to reach a destination in India using maps of America. It doesn't work. He says you may be a positive thinker and think positively like "Well we are going to reach the correct destination. Be positive". Even then you don't reach the destination because obviously the MAPS are incorrect. But as you are a positive thinker, even if you don't reach your destination, you may feel "Ok. Let me think positively that whatever god does or whatever happens to me is for my benefit only". But the problem with that type of thinking is that ultimately YOU DON'T REACH YOUR DESTINATION.
2. There are, what covey calls, natural laws or principles that govern us. We have to live in accordance with them.
Law- when you love anyone don't put any conditions for that love.
Exp- When you love someone unconditionally you encourage their natural growth process and give them strength. If you attach conditions to that love, the other person wants to prove that he matters as a person independent of you. You put him in a reactive state.
3. Covey stresses that success in one area doesn't mean success in other areas too, as we live in an interdependent reality. If success in one area is enough, you'd probably isolate yourself from the society and work on it. Can your high profile/salary job do something to your broken relationship in your marriage? He further gives what success really is.
4. Human beings posses four unique human endowments viz., self awareness, imagination, conscience and independent will, which makes us truly unique. Even the most intelligent animals possess none of these.
Covey says you should strive for P/PC balance. The person producing results is called production(P) and the ability of that person to produce results is called production capability (PC). If you concentrate more on P, you will get sick and be unfit for PC. On the other hand if you concentrate too much on PC, you will get no work done.
5. This book is not something which tells you that "do this and suddenly a light will shine upon you and take you into... or do good, be good, let's spread joy...Or do this and something miracle happens and save you bla bla...". When Covey says something he means it. He follows it throughout the book.
example 1: When your son doesn't agree with what you said, you get him into your way of thinking through threatening or exploiting his vulnerabilities because you are smarter, stronger and (you think) you are RIGHT. You will win. And what about the feelings of your son? Convey says, there you stand at the centre of the debris of a shattered relationship, your son being outwardly submissive and inwardly suppressing feelings that would later come in uglier ways. Instead if you ask your son what his problem is and work on a solution that'd be beneficial to both of you wouldn't it be nice? Afterall your son's well-being is your priority.
example 2: What is right in any given situation? Because if you and somebody are in a conflict and if something you think is right to you, it maybe wrong for the other person and vice versa. Here we have to go for win-win solution. Here, many people think "if he wins, I lose. Life is a competitive race". The fact is that, it is not so. Only 'very few' areas in life are like that. The actual problem is 'your scarcity mentality'.
→Suggestions for those who decided to read this book:
1. Don't read this book in one go. Take atleast a week break after studying one habit and apply it in your college/work in your interaction with others.
2. The first pages (till habit 1 starting) is somewhat boring for beginners. Don't feel your money is wasted after reading few pages. Hold on.
3. Trust those universal principles. Don't ever doubt them.
4. Repeat reading this book as many times as possible and I bet every time you will discover something new. The principles are highly practical that you may start applying them from day-1 itself.
-> My experience:
When i was reading this book, i could hardly wait for a week because each habit filled me with energy and curiosity for further habits to come. Several positive things happened in my life after I started applying these principles. I became friend with my enemies. I got new friends. Started being much more mature in my relations. Started taking academics seriously. Just to give you an example, one of my old friends with whom I had a falling out, later being friends again after two years said "You know, you have changed a lot! ".
If you have any problem in life, the book is worth reading because you are worth it! See most of the problems in your life. You have no ill intention towards anyone or anything. You try to be as perfect as possible. Inspite of all this, you will have problems. People hurt you. They just don't understand you. The problems are not because the other person is wrong or you are right. It is just that you don't have sufficient knowledge to deal with yourself and others. Ignorance is okay but not willing to come out of it is not.
Happy reading !
Edit: Reviewed and made few minor corrections.