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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

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This twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Stephen Covey’s cherished classic commemorates the timeless wisdom of the 7 Habits.

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.
Anyone who thinks the audiocassette adaptation of Stephen Covey’s bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is a shortcut to reading the book has another thing coming. As a preview, the cassette is worth every one of its 90 minutes; as a substitute for the original, it’s going to only leave you wishing for the rest. There’s a reason 7 Habits has sold more than 5 million copies and been translated into 32 languages. Serious work has obviously gone into it, and serious change can likely come out of it–but only with constant discipline and steadfast commitment. As the densely packed tape makes immediately clear, this is no quick fix for what’s ailing us in our personal and professional lives.

The tape opens to the silky-smooth, overtrained voice of the female narrator, who’s responsible for tying together audio clips from actual Covey seminars. Leaving aside the occasional attempts at promoting Covey and his institute, her script does a first-rate job of making sense of Covey’s own intense, analogy-rich style of explaining his habits. There’s nothing simple about his approach to becoming an effective person. The first three habits alone–which have to do with personal responsibility, leadership, and self-management–could take years to master. Yet the last four are unimaginable, the narrator insists, if you’ll be able to’t acquire the personal security–the “inner core,” says Covey–that presumably comes from a mastery of the foundation.

All the way through our lessons, Covey’s presence is both learned and thoroughly appealing. He drops references to the likes of Socrates, T.S. Eliot, and Robert Frost with the aplomb of an English professor. And his knack for mixing on a regular basis stories with abstract concepts manages to clarify difficult issues even as respecting our intelligence. You should argue that the cassette is nothing more than a clever marketing tool for selling another few million copies of the book. But, even at that, it’s worth the investment in time and concentration: in any case, we’re moved to be informed more about integrating all seven habits in our struggle to develop into better and, yes, more effective people. (Running time: 1.5 hours, one cassette) –Ann Senechal

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