Today a student told me that he’d ordered a copy of The Grapes of Wrath to read for my class, but the wrong book had been delivered. Turns out that some yahoo published a book with the same name as the Steinbeck classic. Maybe he thought he could get some sales through accidental purchases by students looking for school supplies.
There are clues that this is not the book you’re looking for. For example, it was published just a few months ago. Notice that people get the wrong book so often that Amazon suggests bundling this with another Steinbeck classic, Of Mice and Men.
But the reviews are priceless! Angry people feeling ripped off, confused people searching for meaning, and at least one reviewer who posted five-star praise about Steinbeck, for some reason.
I’m a 7 Habits guy. Though it’s been about eight years since I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, its impact on me has been indelible. For the first couple of years after reading it, in fact, I would stop myself before starting many activities and ask myself, “Wait, is this really a quadrant two activity?”
So I was excited about the release of The 8th Habit, which I’ve checked out of the library a few times…but haven’t really been able to get into. A few weeks ago I saw that Covey had recorded a lecture of himself teaching the 8th habit to an audience, so I checked that out, hoping a visual abbreviation would help me get the gist of it. Even better, the version that I picked up had an audio version on CD, and since my time to listen to things in the car is far more substantial than the time I might find to watch things at home, I cheerfully popped the CD into my car and listened to the whole thing in one day.
It. Was. Terrible. The whole presentation reeks of touchy-feely affirmations with vague, watery, new-agey platitudes that have little utilitarian value. What I’ve always liked about the 7 Habits (and I presume what millions of others also appreciate) is its practical, down-to-earth applicability. This one comes across as a whole lot of bloviating puff about some simple, obvious concepts (“serve and inspire others”), some of which are already well defined in the original 7 habits (“set goals”). This 48 minute lecture of weak fluff is supposed to represent the essentials of the 8th habit? This does not do anything for my desire to finish the book.
I’ll be proactively shunning this waste of time for the foreseeable future. If anyone wants to defend the 8th habit book, please do–I’d hate for my opinion of Covey’s work to be so sullied as it is by this embarrassing tripe.
Final Grade: D