Monday, December 31, 2012

Mini Book Reviews - Wisdom and Teachings of Stephen R. Covey -AND- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On

As a Christmas gift this year I received two books jam packed with quotes, insights and life lessons. Quote books like these are hard to review on a whole but each of these were a lot of fun so I wanted to be sure I showcased them.

The Wisdom & Teachings of Stephen R. Covey is a cool collection of quotes and stories taken not only from his various books but also from speaking engagements, articles, interviews or other materials. The books is divided into chapters focusing on a key principle or segment of life such as Integrity, Leadership, Proactivity, etc.

For those who have previously read any of Dr. Covey's work you will find yourself immediately reminded of the core principles and insights that his works teach. I found myself recognizing a number of the quotes from my readings of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and others. There are a lot of his works that I haven't read and I found quotes and stories from those books ringing just as true and poignant as those I already knew.

For those who haven't read any of Dr. Covey's books or aren't familiar with his work you will likely find familiar advice resonating with you. In some cases this may be due to the fact that many of his principles and teachings have engrained themselves into society. In other cases the seeming familiarity will come because of the simple truthfulness and straightforward nature of the teachings. Sometimes the best advice is the advice that you already knew but didn't realize you knew or didn't know how to articulate.

This book is a wonderful wealth of great teachings and inspiring motivation and thoughts. It would be impossible to boil down all of the great lessons, stories and thoughts from Dr. Covey into a single book but this book comes pretty close and is a great resource for wonderful advice and inspiring thoughts to help make your life better in many ways. This would certainly be a great introduction to Stephen R. Covey for those who don't know his material already and for those who do, this book is a quick batch of well organized notes and snippets of some of his most poignant teachings.

4 out of 5 stars

The "Live and Learn and Pass It On" set of books include multiple volumes of "life teachings" as collected and compiled over a number of years. These anonymous nuggets of wisdom range from the profound and thoughtful to the humorous and entertaining. The latest publication contains the "Complete" compilation of 3 volumes of knowledge. The author/editor gathered hundreds and thousands of comments from children, teens, young adults, middle aged adults and elderly adults.

Each statement begins with the phrase "I have learned that..." and includes some life lesson that each individual has learned. I loved the wide variety of bits of learning ranging from how to get along with family members, how to keep an eye on finances and when not to ask your parents to give you something.

I found myself nodding knowingly to some bits of advice and remembering when I learned that lesson myself (for example, learning the difference between a "bulb" and a "clove" of garlic). I laughed at some of the simple observations of children. And I made mental notes of some of the observations of those older and more knowledgable than myself.

The book has a lot of fun simple anectdotes and thoughts. It can certainly be read cover-to-cover and provide some good smiles and learneing but it can also make for a nice "coffee table" book to sit on the counter and just pick up and turn to a random page.

The only real complaint I can voice would be that I would have liked to have seen some sort of organization. While it was fun to just read all these random bits of learning, I think it might be valuable to have the quotes chunked up by subject so that perhaps I could turn to the book as a reference for quick quotes or advice on some particular point I'm working on. One possible help for this would be an Index listing topics and then just doing a general page number reference.

The teachings may not be as timeless or wholly relevant as those of Stephen R. Covey, but it's a fun book and brought a lot of smiles and grins.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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