The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
by Stephen R. Covey
Pub. Date: November 2005, Free Press
ISBN-10: 0-7432-8793-2
409 PagesSuccess Rating :4

Why I Read this Book:
There are few things more important to success than having a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. This book provided me with the fundamentals necessary for putting that vision together and helping others to do the same.


Stephen Covey came right over the top with this one.  It’s funny to write one book about 7 habits and haveit be around 250 pages and then write another book about the 8th habit alone and have it be over 400. The truth is that every one of those pages was very well used.  This book was fantastically written and is an absolute must read for people serious about continued personal (and professional) development and enrichment.  I know it seems like I have similar extremely positive things to say about many of these books, but please keep in mind that that is why they are on this site.  These are the best and most valuable books that I have read.  The reason there are not negative reviews on this site is because I am only cherry picking what I feel is most important and beneficial to you as the reader and your success.  I have found every one of the books on this site to be very beneficial.

The 8th Habit is to find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.  I would put it in the top four most valuable books (that I have read) on personal development and enrichment.  It is right up there with The 7 Habits by Stephen Covey, Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins, and How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  If you have not read these reviews and books, I suggest you do so now.  They contain the most universal and valuable words you may come across in your journey for success.  They provide the framework from which everything else diverges.

Much of Covey’s words in the 8th Habit stem from the idea of taking the road less traveled by, which is something that you should all know by now is very near and dear to me.  If you are not familiar with this poem by Robert Frost, please read it here.  One and all should take the road less traveled in some way or another because no one has the same vision and plan for their life, therefore everyone’s road should be one that others have not traveled.  If you aren’t taking this road then you are most likely trying to live someone else’s dream.

The single most valuable takeaway from this book is the companion website that comes with it.  You can visit it at  This site is offered free of charge to those of us who have purchased the book.  It is only of great use if you use it as a tool as you read through the book.  Throughout the book Covey refers the reader to various films and exercises to further his points.  Two of these videos are the most inspirational I have seen.  I watch them first thing each morning before I set out to work towards my goals.  Once you see them you will understand why.  To see the videos visit, but please only do so if you have purchased the book.  The two I am referring to are entitled Legacy and The Nature of Leadership.  They are very inspiring.

Through finding your voice he shows the power it can have on your leadership style and working with others.  Leadership is giving people the vision and drive to complete a goal.  The problem with most organizations is that they are under-led and over-managed.  Remember that things are managed and controlled, but people are led and empowered.  It is a common misconception that there are only a few people in this world who are the leaders and the rest are to be led.

When you think about it, leadership is more of a state of mind than anything else.  You should always be leading others while also being led.  At any point in your life you have the power to be a leader; to take initiative.  If nothing else, you are the leader of your own life.  Could you think of a more important role or position than being the leader of you and your destiny?  It really does not get any more executive than that.  What Covey really wants us to understand is you must always remember that it is you who has the power to control your life and your circumstances, but you must also always remember that others have this same power over themselves as well.  That is the whole idea of finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs.  It is here where you find greatness.

I will end with a point Covey makes that resonates with me more than most.  This is something that has become one of my best practices (you know, something that you try to do as often as possible as you live your life).  It is, “Always try to operate outside of your comfort zone.”  It is so easy to be overcome by comfort and it can be the most infectious object for your success.  Don’t get me wrong, it is very difficult to get yourself to operate outside of this zone.  So few people do it, and its where all real achievement occurs.  It is the reason why so many people’s dreams remain just that.  It is why so few people read books like the 8th Habit and others listed on this site.  Do something great for yourself today and get out of your comfort zone.  Give the 8th Habit a read and you will get that first nudge.  It may be all you need.

Valuable Quotes:

8th Habit Dedication: “To the humble, courageous, “great” ones among us who exemplify how leadership is a choice, not a position.”
—Stephen Covey

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
—Edmund Burke

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
—Albert Einstein

“We can take one of two roads in life: One is the broad, well-traveled road to mediocrity, the other the road to greatness and meaning.”
—Stephen Covey

“To know and not to do, is really not to know.”
—Stephen Covey

Assumptions to live by:
1. For the body—assume you’ve had a heart attack; now live accordingly
2. For the mind—assume the half-life of your profession is two years; now prepare accordingly
3. For the heart—assume everything you say about another, they can overhear; now speak accordingly
4. For the spirit—assume you have a one-on-one visit with your Creator every quarter; now live accordingly
—Stephen Covey

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out.”
—Dee Hock

“Being powerful is like being a lady; if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
—Margaret Thatcher

“Vision is seeing a future state with the mind’s eye.  Vision is applied imagination.”
—Stephen Covey

“Vision is about more than just getting things done, accomplishing some task, achieving something; it is about discovering and expanding our view of others, affirming them, believing in them, and helping them discover and realize the potential within them—helping them find their own voice.”
—Stephen Covey

“When the morning’s freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles quiver under the strain, the climb seems endless, and, suddenly, nothing will go quite as you wish—It is then that you must not hesitate.”
—Dag Hammarskjöld

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
—Warren Bennis

“The great contributors in life are those who, though afraid of the knock at the door, still answer it.”
—Stephen Covey

“Sacrifice really means giving up something good for something better.”
—Stephen Covey

“For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: It might have been!”
—Greenleaf Whittier

”It is never too late for us to become what we might have been.”

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
—Albert Schweitzer

“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.”
—Stephen Covey

“Taking initiative is a form of self-empowerment.”
—Stephen Covey

“All organizations are perfectly aligned to get the results they get.”
—Arthur W. Jones

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”
—Serenity Prayer used by Alcoholics Anonymous

“Never tell people what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity”
—General George A. Patton

“Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt.  Give the world your best anyway.”
—Mother Teresa

”The Supreme quality of leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football fired, in an army, or in an office.
—Dwight David Eisenhower

“That which we desire most earnestly we believe most easily”
—Stephen Covey

“Lying makes a problem part of the future; truth makes a problem part of the past.”
—Rick Pitino, Baseball Coach Legend

“The key to the many is often the one; it is how you regard and talk about the one in that one’s absence or presence that communicates to the many how you would regard and talk about them in their presence or absence.”
—Stephen Covey

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it stands than to anything on which it is poured.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is; treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

“The greatest risk of all is the risk of riskless living.”
—Stephen Covey

“Leaders do not avoid, repress, or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity.”
—Warren Bennis

“When we look through the lens of each others’ weaknesses, we make others’ strengths irrelevant and their weaknesses more evident.”
—Stephen Covey

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.  Which road do I take? She asked.  His response was a question: Where do you want to go? I don’t know, Alice answered.  Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter.”
—Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonder Land

“No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.”
—Henry Emerson Fosdick

“The best way to inspire people to a superior performance is to convince them by everything you do and by your everyday attitude that you are wholeheartedly supporting them.
—Harold S. Geneen, Former Chairman of ITT

“Passion is the fire, enthusiasm and courage that an individual feels when she is doing something she loves while accomplishing worthy ends, something that satisfies her deepest needs.”
—Stephen Covey

“The difference between what we are doing and what we’re capable of doing would solve most of the world’s problems.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

“So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.”
—Peter Druker

“The important task rarely must be done today, or even this week…But the urgent task calls for instant action…The momentary appeal of these tasks seems irresistible and important, and they devour our energy.  But in the light of time’s perspective, their deceptive prominence fades; with a sense of loss we recall the vital tasks we pushed aside.  We realize we’ve become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent.”
—Charles Hummel

“I slept and dreamed that life was joy.  I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold, service was joy.”
—Rabindranath Tagore

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”
—Ambrose Redmond

“You have not done enough, you have never done enough so long as it is still possible that you have something of value to contribute.”
—Dag Hammarskjöld

“The surest way to reveal one’s character is not through adversity but by giving them power.”
—Abraham Lincoln.

“One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in my bank account nor what my clothes looked like.  But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.”

“You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping.  You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly; while you are making them you cannot see them.  Good people know about both bad and evil; bad people do not know about either.”
—C.S. Lewis

“To every man there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents.  What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.”
—Winston Churchill

-Reading for Your Success