Books, Literature, and Writing 

A Review on Sean Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

A Little About the Author

Sean Covey is the son of esteemed author Stephen Covey, who wrote 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Unfortunately, his father’s book was not specifically tailored to younger audiences which are where a lot of adult bad habits can be caught ahead of time before it’s too late.

Critics state that this book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, is a phenomenal introduction to the 7 habits from a young adult’s perspective and offers insight to ongoing issues that our youth face during their high school years.

The Youth Perspective is Important to Consider

The youth these days face challenges we did when we were in school. However, there really wasn’t a tailored set of instructions on how to deal or maximize our potential in a meaningful and understandable way. If there was, I didn’t have access to it! Teenagers today need to connect with role models on their level. They need information that speaks to them in their language.

Sean Covey was able to do this by providing life examples and how the 7 habits were used to overcome his obstacles and help others do the same. Life examples, true stories of what happened to us as children, are great ways to connect with the youth and give them insight into something without all the “I told you so” undertones. I think they appreciate it more when you are on their level.

Tailored Formatting

In addition to the youthful voice spoken in this book, Sean Covey also adds illustrations. I don’t know about you, but I like picture books. I use my imagination enough when I’m trying to escape pirate jail from two guards dressed up like Cinderella and prince charming, so the pictures are a nice touch. Statistics say that images are processed faster than words and the information developed is significantly more than reading a paragraph. Can you imagine how much more information we could retain if we had cartoons in our textbooks?

The information itself is also formatted for easier reading and understanding:

Font style changes
Bullet points

All of these help gauge the reader’s attention and bring focus to important content necessary for maximizing information retention.

Take Baby Steps Often

Sean Covey also offers “homework” after each section, or habit. Each of these homework lists is called Baby Steps, offering exercises and tips to start with to achieve mastery of the previous habit. There are several options to choose from, but each one is designed to help master the habit and move on to the next one, the next chapter in the book.

One of my favorite Baby Step exercises was right before Habit 4, and was part of building your Relationship Bank Account:

Keep Promises
Do Small Acts of Kindness
Be Loyal
Say You’re Sorry
Set Clear Expectations

The Relationship Bank Account is about making positive deposits of “karma” into yourself and helping others do the same. Teenagers should practice this habit often so that they can develop ethical social skills that will help them later on in life.

Another Baby Step Exercise section is after Habit 6 (Synergize):

Get well acquainted with those who have disabilities or impairments.
Use your action plan when you are arguing with someone in the family.
Share personal problems with people you trust to get different perspectives and possible solutions.
Look around and notice people working together and offer your own assistance.
Identify what you can learn from people who may irritate you.
Brainstorm different ideas on what to do, where to go, with your friends instead of doing the same old thing.

This section challenges young people to look further, beyond what they see in situations and in people in order to reconcile negativity and improve positive connections. Most teenagers these days don’t have these essential soft skills, which are what make most adults successful in their careers.
I love baby steps.

Overall Opinion

This book was fun to read when I was younger and fun to read now. I actually prefer Sean Covey’s interpretation of the 7 Habits over his father’s. It gives a more basic understanding for those who need a break from the high-brow text. I think it’s best for teenagers to learn about these types of things while they are in high school, because it’s not all about math and science. It’s about people, strategy, ethics, and creating habits that will ensure a successful future.

The 7 Habits may have had their day, but there are other inspiring personal development specialists out there that young people should know about:

Zig Ziglar
Andrew Carnegie
Deepak Chopra
Tony Robins
Napoleon Hill
Brian Tracy
Clayton Christensen
Daniel Goleman
Tammy Erickson

Again, I recommend this book to all teenagers and hope they take the lessons to heart. This is an older book and I’m sure you can find an online discount for it somewhere. If not, you can borrow my copy. I’ve read it many times and won’t miss it for a few weeks. 😉

All in all, young people should expand their minds, their development, and their understanding of how the world works. This will lessen the shock we all experienced when we first became “adults” in this every changing world.

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