A compilation of the author’s experience and research over the past 40-plus years, The 8th Habit is an outstanding work that, as its title implies, further extends the already-huge reach of his famous The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and other earlier works.

Dr. Covey begins with describing the “pain of the workforce” felt by all of us in every level of every organization, including families, communities and the greater society, and then provides a road map leading from pain and frustration to true fulfillment, relevance, significance and contribution. Culling universal principles from the narrative, he shows how to steadily grow from the inside out, find our voice and inspire our team and organizations to find theirs.

The book is loaded with clear, illustrative figures, charts and quotes, and the liberal sprinkling of anecdotes brings the lessons home in an especially personal way. The book also comes with a companion DVD, containing a series of short videos that touch the heart.

In Chapter 5, Dr. Covey writes about the patterns he has discovered in the lives of many great achievers. He describes four intelligences present in each of these people: vision, discipline, passion, and conscience. He goes on to explain how these represent mind, body, heart and spirit and how the embodiment of these moves one toward leading a powerful life.

He defines leadership as communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves. In answering the question “Can leadership be taught?” he says “No, but it can be learned!” The key is the space between the stimuli. By “space” he is referring to that time between an input to our mind and the decision as to what action we take in response to that input. For example, someone gives you a compliment on a job well done. From the time the words are heard and processed by your brain and it determines that this was a nice input just received, to the time your mouth opens and you say, “Thank You,” or some other response, there is a space. In this space we all make choices—what combination of words to use or actions to make. Do I smile when I say “Thank you”? The more we notice this space, the more we can take control of our lives and express our truest voice.

Dr. Covey suggests reading this 12-chapter book at the rate of one chapter per month, teaching the chapter just read to at least two people that month. This process turns this reading into a year-long learning process—a process that will have an impact on the rest of your life!


Hardcover, 409 pages, $26.00; Free Press, 2004.