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Book Review, The 7 Habits of highly effective people: Stephen Covey

The book titled Seven Habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey, looks into habits that successful people employ to advance their lives. At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to a tale of a goose that gives birth to golden eggs. The owner of the goose wakes up to find the golden eggs which the goose gave birth to. The owner eventually decides to kill the goose so that he can operate the goose and get a multitude of golden eggs, instead of getting one golden egg a day. 

As the owner-operated the goose he found no golden eggs inside. The author used this tale to emphasize the importance of nurturing the input rather than focusing on the outcome. The tale of the goose is relevant because as humans we are in constant pursuit of achieving our goals, either academic or financial goals, in that pursuit, we sometimes focus on the end product instead of feeding the input- which is nurturing the body to make sure it is well-nourished and will be able to operate at an optimal level for production. The author also elaborates on the importance of being “pro-active” which means that instead of complaining and blaming our parents, government or the system, one has to take initiative and write their own beautiful story. The author states that by being pro-active we choose who hurts us or not, and Elanor Roosevelt alluded once that, “No one can hurt you without your consent.”

The author introduces us to another profound habit which is- “beginning with the end in mind”. This habit is backed up by the fact that everything is created twice, first in the mind then through action, that before one starts the day- they have already finished it, with a schedule and to-do list which will be driving the day. The essence of this habit is that you ought to craft a mental picture of what you want to achieve- then execute based on what you have created in your mental realm. The author further introduces another habit, “seeking to understand rather than seeking to be understood”. Here the potent matter according to the author is listening to understand rather than listening to respond, this means that one who is listening must practice the art of putting themselves in the shoes of those that are speaking in order to understand the gravity of the matter from a different perspective. The author sedates his point by using an analogy of a doctor during a consultation with a patient, he states that before a doctor diagnoses a case- the client has to tell the doctor everything with regards to the pain the client is feeling, from that point the doctor is able to narrow down his thoughts and actions following the insight from the patient. 

Finally, the last habit which is, “Sharpening the Saw”- this habit reiterates the story of the goose at the beginning; which is the importance of taking care of the input,  which in human terms we can say it is taking care and balancing every area in our lives, physical, financial, mental and spiritual. Napoleon Hills refers to this concept as taking care of the “Princes” which is taking care of every aspect of one’s life.

All in all the book is centered on habits, essential, yet simple daily practices that common man and women from all walks of life, race, and stature in society can utilize in improving the quality of their lives. This book has been regarded as one of the best books one can use in directing and redirecting their lives towards a path of absolute wellness holistically. 

BlogPost by: Sakhile Ka Ngobe

Edited by: Tokelo Hlagala