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Opinion of a reader from Akron, Ohio
If you've ever truly mastered anything, you know there's a "zone" where your efforts start to produce disproportionate results. This is absolutely true for at least six of the seven habits (I haven't seen any quantum leaps with Sharpen the Saw, but that's not surprising).
I, too, found the book obvious on first reading, so I ignored the contents for several months. Then, on a long road trip, I worked hard at perfecting "empathic listening" with my wife, almost as an escape from boredom. The results were unexpected, so I spent an entire vacation trying to strictly practice -- and perfect -- as many of the Seven Habits as applied. As we drove home, she mentioned how much our relationship had improved and how happy she felt. Years forward in our closeness in a single long weekend.
Out of habit, I started using these habits at work, especially workign with my boss; within days, she couldn't wait for me to call her every day -- and I have since had to quietly put a time limit on our conversations, and she is constantly asking me to "delegate upward."
Word spread, and pretty soon my boss’ boss was calling to spend an hour at a time telling me all kinds of things that most VP's wouldn’t share with a first-line manager. He also started giving me all sorts of opportunities, saying "I know you will be able to handle them."
The real surprise came when the CEO of our company asked me to deal with a particularly difficult customer because she'd heard that I had a "knack" for getting along. This was a shock, because until 7 Habits, I was pretty much an antisocial loner who just happened to be good at what I did. BTW, that customer ended up doubling their order, but more important, ended up increasing their own effectiveness as a result of my sharing just bits and pieces of the Habits.
Since then, I’ve worked hard at polishing my technique, and found that 1-6 all produce the same effect. After really working on them, I've found myself to be healthier, happier and ... oddly enough ... much richer, both in money and in relationships.
Obvious is one thing; obvious results are something else altogether.
Opinion of a reader from Connecticut
I recommend this book to every one I know. It starts from personal integrity and works from there. It offers a method that works both in the home and work. This is not a book for those who want a quick fix. Step by step it shows how to examine your day to day decisions and how to set and focus on your goals. It does not say focus on one aspect of your life while you ignore another aspect. It shows how to base your decisions, taking your whole life - Work, family, spritual - into account.
I liked it so much I started reading "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers" for my 15 year old daughter. Sometimes, the book does get a little tedious. When it does become tedious, I then read the corresponding chapeter in the "Effective Teenagers" book.
I find I'm making better decisions (especially the minor ones) and my life slowly becoming more organized as I follow each chapter.