Book Reviews

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

by Stephen R. Covey

Reviewed by Perry Berkowitz
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, College of St. Rose, Albany, N.Y.

To move from effectiveness to greatness, find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.

One might think the statement to be the mantra of world-renowned voice coaches. Not so. The advice represents Stephen Covey’s 8th habit.

Covey, who gave us the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People more than 15 years ago, has worked on his latest book for the past five years and it appears to have been a labor of love. For those of us who have used the 7 Habits in our work as education leaders, this is a book we have been waiting for.

In Covey’s words, the 8th habit takes us to a new dimension. “It’s about seeing and harnessing a third dimension to the 7 habits that meets the central challenge of the new knowledge worker age,” he writes.

The book attempts to provide the reader with a road map that leads first through the steps of finding one’s own voice and then, more importantly for education leaders, to find the way to inspire others to discover their voices. As such, this book is about transformational, servant and spiritual leadership.

Interestingly, Covey wrote 352 pages in 1989 when he wrote 7 Habits. It required 408 pages and a 2-hour, 10-minute DVD (which comes free with the book) to convey the 8th Habit. The best news is that one does not have to read (or re-read) the first book as Covey ties the two works together in both descriptive language and a three-dimensional graphic organizer. The 16 DVD segments are all worth watching.

(The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen R. Covey, Free Press, New York, N.Y., 2004, 408 pp., $26 hardcover)