The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

by Sean Covey


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Stephen Covey's son presents a simple step-by-step set of principles for helping teens solve problems and deal with issues.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780780786653
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1998
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sean Covey was born in Belfast, Ireland, and raised in Provo, Utah; he has lived in South Africa, Boston, and Dallas. He is currently vice president of retail stores at Franklin Covey Co., one of the world's leading time and life leadership authorities. He graduated with honors from BYU with a degree in English and later earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. The author of the bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, he is a popular speaker to youth and adult groups. Sean and his wife, Rebecca Thatcher, are the parents of five children.

Read an Excerpt

7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Welcome! My name is Sean and I wrote this book. I don’t know how you got it. Maybe your mom gave it to you to shape you up. Or maybe you bought it with your own money because the title caught your eye. Regardless of how it landed in your hands, I’m really glad it did. Now you just need to read it.

We first make our habits, then our habits make us.


A lot of teens read books, but I wasn’t one of them. (I did read several book summaries, however.) So if you’re like I was, you may be ready to shelve this book. But before you do that, hear me out. If you promise to read on, I’ll promise to make it an adventure. In fact, to keep it fun, I’ve stuffed it with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and powerful stories about real teens from all over the world . . . along with a few other surprises. So, with that in mind: will you give it a try?

Okay? Okay!

Let’s dive in, then. This book is based on another book that my dad, Stephen R. Covey, wrote several years ago entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Surprisingly, that book has become one of the best-selling books of all time. He owes a lot of the credit for its success to me and my brothers and sisters, however. You see, we were his guinea pigs. He tried out all of his psycho experiments on us, and that’s why my brothers and sisters have major emotional problems (just kidding, siblings). Luckily, I escaped uninjured.

So why did I write this book? I wrote it because life for teens is no playground. It’s a jungle out there. And if I’ve done my job right, this book can be like a compass to help you navigate through it. Unlike my dad’s book, which was written for old people (and can get really boring at times), this book was written especially for teens and is always interesting.

Although I’m a retired teenager, I still remember what it was like to be one. I could’ve sworn I was riding an emotional roller coaster most of the time. Looking back, I’m actually amazed that I survived. Barely. I’ll never forget the time in seventh grade when I fell in love with a girl named Nicole. I told my friend Clar to tell her that I liked her (I was too scared to speak directly to girls so I used messengers). Clar completed his mission and returned and reported.

“Hey, Sean, I told Nicole that you liked her.”

“What’d she say!?” I asked impatiently.

“She said, ‘Ohh, Sean? He’s fat!’?” Clar laughed.

I was devastated. I felt like hiding in my room and never coming out again. I vowed to hate girls for life. Luckily my hormones prevailed and I began liking girls again.

I’ve interviewed a lot of teens in the making of this book. I suspect that some of the struggles they shared with me will be familiar to you too:

“There’s too much to do and not enough time. I’ve got school, homework, job, friends, parties, and family on top of everything else. I’m totally stressed out. Help!”

“How can I feel good about myself when I don’t match up? Everywhere I look I am reminded that someone else is smarter, or prettier, or more popular. I can’t help but think, ‘If I only had her hair, her clothes, her personality, her boyfriend, then I’d be happy.’?”

“If I could only get my parents off my back I might be able to live my life. It seems they’re constantly nagging, and I can’t ever seem to satisfy them.”

“I know I’m not living the way I should. I’m into everything—drugs, drinking, sex, you name it. But when I’m with my friends, I give in and just do what everyone else is doing.”

“I’ve started another diet. I think it’s my fifth one this year. I really do want to change, but I just don’t have the discipline to stick with it. Each time I start a new diet I have hope. But it’s usually only a short time before I blow it. And then I feel awful.”

“I’m not doing too well in school right now. If I don’t get my grades up I’ll never get into college.”

“I’m moody and get depressed often and I don’t know what to do about it.”

“I feel as if my life is out of control.”

These problems are real, and you can’t turn off real life. I won’t pretend you can. Instead, I’ll give you a set of tools to help you deal with real life. What are they? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens or, said another way, the seven characteristics that happy and successful teens all over the world have in common.

By now, you’re probably wondering what these habits are so I might as well end the suspense. Here they are, followed by a brief explanation:

Habit 1:

Be Proactive

Take responsibility for your life.

Habit 2:

Begin with the End in Mind

Define your mission and goals in life.

Habit 3:

Put First Things First

Prioritize, and do the most important things first.

Habit 4:

Think Win-Win

Have an everyone-can-win attitude.

Habit 5:

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Listen to people sincerely.

Habit 6:


Work together to achieve more.

Habit 7:

Sharpen the Saw

Renew yourself regularly.

As the above diagram shows, the habits build upon one another. Habits 1, 2, and 3 deal with self-mastery. We call it the “private victory.” Habits 4, 5, and 6 deal with relationships and teamwork. We call it the “public victory.” You’ve got to get your personal act together before you can be a good team player. That’s why the private victory comes before the public victory. The last habit, Habit 7, is the habit of renewal. It feeds all of the other six habits.

The habits seem pretty simple, don’t they? But just wait till you see how powerful they can be! One great way to understand what the 7 Habits are is to understand what they are not. So here are the opposites, or:

The 7 Habits of Highly Defective Teens

Habit 1: React

Blame all of your problems on your parents, your stupid teachers, your lousy neighborhood, your boy- or girlfriend, the government, or something or somebody else. Be a victim. Take no responsibility for your life. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re bored, make trouble. If someone yells at you, yell back. If you feel like doing something you know is wrong, go for it.

Habit 2: Begin with No End in Mind

Don’t have a plan. Avoid goals at all costs. And never think about tomorrow. Why worry about the consequences of your actions? Live for the moment. Sleep around, get wasted, and party on, for tomorrow you die.

Habit 3: Put First Things Last

Whatever is most important in your life, don’t do it until you have spent sufficient time watching videos of cute animals on YouTube, texting endlessly, and lounging around. Always put off studying until tomorrow. Make sure that fun things come before important things.

Habit 4: Think Win-Lose

See life as a vicious competition. If you want to be at the top of the popularity list, you’d better knock someone else off first. Don’t let anyone else succeed at anything because, remember, if they win, you lose. If it looks like you’re going to lose, however, make sure you drag that sucker down with you.

Habit 5: Seek First to Talk, Then Pretend to Listen

You were born with a mouth, so use it. Talk a lot. Always express your side of the story first. Once everyone understands your views, pretend to listen to theirs by nodding and saying “uh-huh” while daydreaming about what’s for lunch. Or, if you really want their opinion, give it to them.

Habit 6: Don’t Cooperate

Let’s face it, other people are weird because they’re different from you. So why try to get along with them? Teamwork’s for the dogs. Since you always have the best ideas, you’re better off doing everything by yourself. Be your own island.

Habit 7: Wear Yourself Out

Be so busy with life that you never take time to renew or improve yourself. Never study. Don’t learn anything new. Avoid exercise like the plague. And, for heaven’s sake, stay away from good books, nature, or anything else that may inspire you.

As you can see, the habits listed above are recipes for disaster. Yet many of us indulge in them . . . regularly (me included). And, given this, it’s no wonder that life can really stink at times.
Habits are things we do repeatedly. But most of the time we’re hardly aware that we even have them. They’re on autopilot.

Some habits are good, such as:

• Exercising regularly

• Planning ahead

• Showing respect for others

Some are bad, including:

• Thinking negatively

• Feeling inferior

• Blaming others

And some don’t really matter, like:

• Taking showers before bed instead of in the morning

• Putting hot sauce on every meal

• Listening to music while you exercise

Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do. As writer Samuel Smiles put it:

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;

Sow an act, and you reap a habit;

Sow a habit, and you reap a character;

Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

Luckily, you are stronger than your habits. You can change them. For example, try folding your arms. Now fold them in the opposite way. Feels pretty strange, right? But if you folded them in the opposite way for thirty days in a row, it wouldn’t feel so strange. You wouldn’t even have to think about it. You’d get in the habit.

At any time you can look yourself in the mirror and say, “Hey, I don’t like that about myself,” and you can exchange a bad habit for a better one. It may not always be easy, but it’s always possible.

Maybe not every idea in this book will work for you. But you don’t have to be perfect to see results, either. Just living some of the habits some of the time can help you experience changes in your life you never thought possible.

The 7 Habits can help you:

• Get control of your life

• Improve your relationships with your friends

• Make smarter decisions

• Get along with your parents

• Overcome addictions and self-destructive habits

• Define your values and what matters most to you

• Get more done in less time

• Increase your self-confidence

• Be happy

• Find balance between school, work, friends, dating, and everything else

One final point. It’s your book, so use it. Get out a pen or highlighter and mark it up. Don’t be afraid to underline, circle, or bookmark your favorite ideas. Take notes in the margins. Scribble. Reread the stories that inspire you and memorize the quotes that give you hope. Try doing the “baby steps” at the end of each chapter, which were designed to help you start living the habits immediately. You’ll get a lot more out of the book if you do.

You may also want to check out the hotlines and websites listed at the back of the book for additional help or information.

If you’re the kind of reader who likes to skip around looking for cartoons and tidbits, that’s fine. But at some point you ought to read the book from start to finish, because the 7 Habits are sequential. Each chapter builds on the last. Habit 1 comes before Habit 2 (and so on) for a reason.

So what do you say? Make my day and read this book!


Up next, we’ll take a look at ten of the dumbest statements ever made. You don’t want to miss them. So read on!

Table of Contents

Introduction xv

Part I The Set-up

Get in the Habit: They Make You or Break You 3

Paradigms and Principles: What You See Is What You Get 11

Part II The Private Victory

The Personal Bank Account: Starting with the Man in the Mirror 31

Habit 1 Be Proactive: I Am the Force 47

Habit 2 Begin with the End in Mind: Control Your Own Destiny or Someone Else Will 73

Habit 3 Put First Things First: Will and Won't Power 105

Part III The Public Victory

The Relationship Bank Account: The Stuff That Life Is Made Of 131

Habit 4 Think Win-Win: Life Is an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet 145

Habit 5 Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: You Have Two Ears and One Mouth … Hel-lo! 163

Habit 6 Synergize: The "High" Way 181

Part IV Renewal

Habit 7 Sharpen the Saw: It's "Me Time" 205

Keep Hope Alive!: Kid, You'll Move Mountains 243

Book Study Guide 247

Thank Yous 251

Info Central 253

Great Books for Teens 256

Bibliography 257

Index 259

Customer Reviews

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The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 253 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OK, my mom made me read the book. I was really surprised! I realy liked it and once I started reading, I couldn't stop! This book provides lots of good tips on how to stay organized and an efficient person. It helped me make the right choices in the difficult life of a teen. I definatly reccomend this book to all of my friends and to teens. Parents, BUY THIS FOR YOUR KIDS! MAKE THEM READ IT! THEY WILL LIKE IT EVEN THO THEY MAY NOT ADMIT IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was great, and if u read the other reviews saying thats it didnt help them it was because they didnt want it to help them, but if ur open to it and actualy take ur time its very i helpful i loved it :]
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book helps teens tune their lives for happiness. This book helped me put things into perspective, and I realized what I need to work on in my life. Highly Recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was tired of battling with my teen... instead of punishment for poor attitude, I redirected them through reading this book a chapter at a time - then discussing it together... abd now we are working through more together. Can't complain about that!
Knowledge_Reigns_Supreme More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to all teens. It offers insight and guidance and lets us see things from different point of views that we may not have seen before. This book is very helpful and definitely well put together. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter's class used this book to help seventh graders look at their lives and try to organize themselves. She found that working through the book was so rewarding that she continued on her own at home by completing the acompanying workbook. The book provides a great foundation for discussion with your maturing kids.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The reason why I first read this book was because I had lied to my parents when I was in 7th grade and this book caught my dad's eye so he wanted me to read it. When I started reading it, I had an extremely closed mind and even before I had barely started it I decided that I wasn't going to like it. Then, very slowly, I started to like it and listen to what Sean Covey was saying. By the end, I was sad that it was over. Now, I'm going to be a sophomore and I have already re-read it and gave it to my younger sister for her to read. The second time around, it was even better! I really loved this book! I also liked how it had cartoons and stories in it to make it interesting! All teenagers should read this book!!!!
acherry202 More than 1 year ago
I wanted my son to read this book so I purchased 2. One for me and one for him and we are reading it together and I have him answer questions after each chapter. I am really enjoying the book. My son thinks of it as homework so I am not sure how much he is getting out of it but I know he will get something out of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very helpful for you, if you are the person that needs to get back on track with yourself. Throughout the text, it describes how to approach things in calmly manner and to stay in a positive attidtude in order to accomplish the tasks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm 15, and I absolutly LOVED this book! I couldn't stop reading! It is perfect, I felt like he was accually talking to the reader and truly sharing. I would and HAVE recommended this book to any teenagers! No matter how great your life is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very motivational. It teaches teens how to deal with the pressure and hardships of their life. This book helps teens to realize that no matter how horrible their life may seem, there is always someone who treads a darker, harder road. I would reccomend this book for anyone, even adults, becuase you learn self control, self improvement, and most of all, to love your life. Anybody could use a bit of comfort! The only problem is that Sean Covey may give the impression that a teen has to be perfect. However when reading this book you will realize that he does not mean for you to be pristine, just to improve yourself so you can shine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is saying things that i have thougth about and how i feel. I belive that all are even some teenagers can relate to this book. am only 14years old .and yes everything this book said is what your thinking about doing or your doing. If you not judgeing you ok i got nothing to do about it. Yes i know every teenager got so mad at your mom and dad so bad that you wish what will life be like if they did not have you yes its normal to feel that way we all have. If your a teenager you need to read this book to encorege you. So far it has encorge me and made me look at myslfe for secound. Dont read the bad rates they dont know what they are talking about. READ THIS BOOK please its good for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this a looong time ago when i was 15.. i remembered it helped me so much as a teenager. I was going thru a rough patch as many high schoolers do, & it helped to see what was important & got my head back out if a funk. It was assigned for my leadership class & im so glad that it was. I still have my copy 15 yrs l8r & im thinkin of reading it again as my oldest is turning 11 i want to refresh on it & have him read it soon. Maybe it will help me again. I will surely have all 4 of my kids read it. Ill probly hav my sitter read it too:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had some great, very helpful advice. But there were sime sections that could use a little help being more interesting. Just sayin
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have only read a few pages of this book and i have already found it very helpful. I hope you read and find it as helpful as i have.
Nina Elise More than 1 year ago
im a preteen and i hav to read this book as an assignment/book report and IT IS REALLY GOOD!!!!!!!!!!! it helps me SOOOOOOOOOO much with orginazation, emotions, school, and everything else!!!! Thank you sooo much, sean covey, for eriting this awesomely awesome book!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clear, simple for parents' reference.
Guest More than 1 year ago
first time i tried reading the book, i was like, oh no this guy's judging me and i wont let him do it. so i slammed it shut and tried to never flip through it again. until finally, some comments bugged me hard on certain soft spots and i gave in. FINE! so i read and read, and man was he right. now that i gave in to let his words sink in,i realized it was kind of funny, when you really think about it. i really recomend this book to people of all ages. this book will give you wise advice and great realizations in life. it's funny, 'real ', and very informative. you definitely will enjoy the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens By: Sean Covey For a grade I give this book an A+. This book changed my life. I read it because I had to. At first, I thought this book was going to be stupid. As I read it I soon had noticed how successful this would be to me and realized that I was already changing. It provided me with advice on how to get through life, making friends and study skills. It talked about how to treat people the right way. My grades where getting better, and I was actually doing good in school. This book motivated me to do well and I have achieved many things because of it. I recommend this book to not only teens but to anyone out there who can read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It really helped me to think positively and get my life back on track!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a book report in English. At first I was just reading it to get it over with, but then I got into it. I could relate my life to this book much more easily than to other books similar to it. I have read a couple of the Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul books, but none of them were as good as this one. I really enjoyed this book, and I leared a lot from it. I honestly think I have become a better person becuase of this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book as a Sophmore for school, and I thought I was going to hate it. But it was written for teenagers in language they actually understand. I highlighted information I wanted to use and it helped me a lot. My self esteem boosted because I realized 'I can' do the things I wanted to do in my life. Looking back, now a Senior, this was something I needed to give my self esteem the extra push it needed. I'm highly confident now and I rule the world! (Well my world anyways) I'm giving this to my 8th grade brother for Christmas...I know he'll appreciate it as much as I did
Guest More than 1 year ago
The reason why I read the book is because it was a class requirement on my booklist. At the beginning I thought it was going to be a dull book but when I actually read the book it helped me out a lot. I think this book is really an ultimate success guide for teenagers. I would recommend this book to all the people who think life is a joke and don't take responsibility for their life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Every parent should pick up a copy of this book! Teaching teens the importance of a good self-image, as well as tips on how to resist peer pressure is a priceless asset for teenagers. Very few books of this calibre are available and I would strongly recommend it for teachers, counselors, or any adult who works with teens.
NolanDang More than 1 year ago
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens Out of all the “how to be successful”, “habits of the rich”, and “the most efficient worker” kind-of-books, this one was definitely the most helpful and inspirational. The author, Sean Covey, had his own way of illustrating the different habits and behaviors of successful people and it really got through to me. The book were separated into various chunks of information accompanied with fun comics so that it was actually fun to read and enjoyable to the reader. The ideas expressed in the book, such as different paradigm shifts (a shift in views or perspectives), were deeply delved into and supported by personal anecdotes and famous quotes. This book helped me fix many bad habits in my daily life and made me recognize my actions versus my habits. Through this, I realized what habits I could keep and the habits that I had to fix. Throughout the few weeks that I have been reading this book, I’ve learned a lot about the path I should be taking in life and what I should do to correct my mistakes. As a teen, this book was really influential to me and helped me stay positive and always have goals to accomplish. I learned that my biggest opponent was myself and I had to conquer all the temptations and bad habits that I have been stuck with my whole life. Though it wasn’t easy at first, when I read this book, it cleared my mind and helped me stay on track. In times of hardship, this book gave me guidance by giving me perspectives from other people that were stuck in the same situation as me and conquered their failures. To any teen out there, I would highly and truly recommend this book. This book has helped me in so many ways: getting me out of tough situations, breaking bad habits, and helping me recognize my goals in life. Sean Covey makes a normal how-to-be-successful lecture into an interesting and appealing book that is filled with fun comics and fascinating quotes. With so many things that help you stay positive, it is far from boring. When I first read this book, I was opened up and filled with inspiration and it made my goals so much clearer. The author’s insight and perspective is supported by effective strategies to overcome hard struggles and helps the reader become society’s winners. I am glad my parents introduced this book to me and it was truly a wonderful work by Sean Covey.