The 8th Habit

Book Review: The 8th Habit by Stephen R. Covey

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

The 8th Habit

(Updated 10/15/2013) According to Keven Rollins, “Getting results in large companies is a scarce skill, and this book captures how to do it. The guidance provided here will prove invaluable for leaders who are trying to drive tighter execution in their organizations.”

My reading confirms Rollins’s statement, even though in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the marketing reasons for Covey writing this book. Still, the information within is useful and builds on the seven habits of highly effective people.

The DVD provided with the book would, I believe, make things easier for folks who learn better visually rather than reading text. That was a nice touch. However, it didn’t add much to my understanding of what Covey was trying to convey—but great marketing. The book would have been even more effective if it was half as long. Covey spends too much time rehashing the old “7-Habits” information.

Covey, in his usual conversational style, encourages the reader to “Find your voice and help others find their voice.” In some ways, this seems a labored metaphor. Others have said this more succinctly with “Follow your Bliss” or “Discover your Passion.” Covey takes pains to bend his “lessons” into the “find your voice” analogy, and often the story seems disconnected from the message.

Yet, for those who found much meaning in the Seven Habits, this book will add to the rich imagery that Covey created in his earlier book. There are new ways of looking at how we are in a relationship with each other and ourselves. All in all, a book worth reading, though, as I said, it could have been quite a bit shorter.

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In this book, Covey writes about an interview with a fast attack, nuclear submarine commander on the Santa Fe. I remembered almost none of Covey’s book except that interview. Years after reading the book, I was searching for that interview but never connected it with Covey. Then, on reading a leadership article by Simon Senik, that very interview was mentioned and viola! I had found the connection. And much to my joy, the commander of that submarine, L. David Marquet had retired and written his book on leadership called, Turn the Ship Around! I contacted David on LinkedIn and thus began an excellent relationship leading to his fabulous Keynote speech at the 2013 Vistage Orange County All-City Event. David also presented at two other All-City Events and has two more scheduled. Serendipity is a beautiful thing!

Related links:

Web site, David Marquet: Turn The Ship Around!

On this site: Book Review: Turn the Ship Around

Video: “Leadership; Noun: Embedding the capacity for greatness in the people and practices of an organization and decoupling it from the personality of the leader.” – L. David Marquet.

Video: Happiness at work on a nuclear submarine.

David Marquet on TEDx: How Great Leaders Serve Others

[Lightly edited in 9/2020 for our new website.]