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"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" by Sean Covey

AUTHOR: Sean Covey


ISBN: 978-0743258159

PAGES: 272

Today I'll be hosting a school summer reading book club program at the East Orange Public Library and this book is on the district school summer reading list for high schoolers in East Orange, NJ.


I read the "parent" book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, years ago and this book has the same clichés as the original book, but I'm sure that as wildly successful as both of these books are, these common sense principles are what people need to hear. I'm interested to see what the teens thought of this book. It was very preachy, and I did cringe at a white man trying to give advice on overcoming race.....I mean, come on. But much of what he said was universal, and could be advice that anyone would give anyone, only these are things easier to say than to do - and particularly easier for a white male who's father is a best selling author, and probably lives within a level of comfort the kids who frequent my library will never know. What are the habits, at a glance?

  • Be Proactive - Covey encourages students to take responsibility for their own lives and their own actions. To stop blaming parents, their race, or whatever external factors, and be more of a go-getter. This is good advice. Advice anyone would give to anyone.

  • Begin with the end in mind - This is a strategy Covey gives to help teens keep in mind why they are working hard and not procrastinating - to set goals and keep them in mind when striving towards them.

  • Put first things first - Covey encourages teens to prioritize the things they have to do by keeping a planner... Every school gives a planner to students, so I'm not sure if schools read this 20 years ago and have made this a thing, but it seems kind of self explanatory to me, even though many teens are just not going to do it.

  • Think win-win - Covey encourages teens to let go of negative thinking and a victim mentality and look at the world in terms of win-win. (Notable is Covey's gratuitous use of the word "paradigm".

  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood - And we've arrived at the "Can't we all just get along" portion of the book, where Covey reminds us why we shouldn't label, judge, and hold biases against people - even though, he has some pretty race-obvious anecdotes throughout the book. I listened to the audiobook and this was particularly problematic.

  • Synergize - Covey encourages teens to reach out for help and balancing out relationships. Basically - common sense.

  • Sharpen the saw - Today we call this self-care. Doing things you enjoy and finding ways to relax.

Overall this was a very simple book that is accessible to teens. I don't know if this would have been a book I'd have liked as a teen....Surely, this book was published when I was in high school, and I didn't read it!'ll be interesting to see what the teens have to say. I guess I can post their reactions, which should be epic.

Recommendation: I mean, it's kind of hard to argue against positive common sense - so I'd recommend this for those who need it. If you're already winning at life, and looking for a meatier read - it's okay to pass on this one.

Audience: Young Adults

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