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Inspiring stories andpractical insightschallenge readers to live alife of everyday greatness.
Best-selling author Stephen Covey andReader’s Digest have joined forcesto produce an extraordinary volume of inspiration, insight,and motivation to live a life of character and contribution.The timeless principles and practicalwisdom along with a "Go-Forward Plan" challenge readers ...
Inspiring stories andpractical insightschallenge readers to live alife of everyday greatness.
Best-selling author Stephen Covey andReader’s Digest have joined forcesto produce an extraordinary volume of inspiration, insight,and motivation to live a life of character and contribution.The timeless principles and practicalwisdom along with a "Go-Forward Plan" challenge readers to make threeimportant choices every day:
Withstories from some of the world's best known and loved writers, leaders, and celebrities, such as Maya Angelou, Jack Benny, and Henry David Thoreau, and insights and commentary from Stephen Covey, the Wrap Up and Reflections at the end of each chapterhelp create a project that can be used for group or personal study.
All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why. - James Thurber
In our most reflective moments, each of us wants to make a difference-a contribution. Call it a cause or call it a mission, we want be a part of something meaningful. Detecting what our contribution will be on a daily basis, however, is not always easy, especially when we are so tangled up with the little things of life. Yet there comes a point when each individual should strive to clarify what he or she will stand for and what purposes he or she will choose to pursue.
The following stories highlight three individuals who each came to a point of choice in life-a time when each was forced to decide whether he or she was to act upon life by stepping forward and making a contribution, or simply sit back and be acted upon. The first story tells of a young man by the name of John Baker. A gifted runner with Olympic aspirations, John's sense of meaning and contribution is tested like never before. As you read of the choices he made and the purposes he chose to pursue, reflect on what you will do with your life over the next weeks, months, and year. What contributions will you make?
John Baker's Last Race William J. Buchanan
The future looked bright to twenty-four-year-old John Baker in the spring of 1969. At the peak of an astonishing athletic career, touted by sportswriters as one of the fastest milers in the world, he had fixed his dreams on representing the United States in the 1972 Olympic Games.
Nothing in Baker's early years had hinted at such prominence. Light of build, and inches shorter than most of his teenage Albuquerque pals, he was considered "too uncoordinated" to run track in high school. But something happened during his junior year that changed the course of his life.
For some time, the Manzano High track coach, Bill Wolffarth, had been trying to induce a tall, promising runner named John Haaland-who was Baker's best friend-to join the track team. Haaland refused. "Let me join the team," Baker suggested one day. "Then Haaland might, too." Wolffarth agreed, and the maneuver worked. And John Baker had become a runner.
Surge of Energy
The first meet that year was a 1.7-mile cross-country race through the foothills east of Albuquerque. Most eyes were focused on Albuquerque's reigning state cross-country champion, Lloyd Goff. Immediately after the crack of the gun, the field lined up as expected, with Goff setting the pace and Haaland on his heels. At the end of four minutes, the runners disappeared one by one behind a low hill inside the far turn of the course. A minute passed. Two. Then a lone figure appeared. Coach Wolffarth nudged an assistant. "Here comes Goff," he said. Then he raised his binoculars. "Good grief!" he yelled. "That's not Goff! It's Baker!"
Leaving a field of startled runners far behind, Baker crossed the finish line alone. His time-8:03.5-set a new meet record.
What happened on the far side of that hill? Baker later explained. Halfway through the race, running well back of the leaders, he had asked himself a question: Am I doing my best? He didn't know. Fixing his eye on the back of the runner immediately in front of him, he closed his mind to all else. Only one thing mattered: catch and pass that runner, and then go after the next one. An unknown reserve of energy surged through his body. "It was almost hypnotic," Baker recalled. One by one he passed the other runners. Ignoring the fatigue that tore at his muscles, he maintained his furious pace until he crossed the finish line and collapsed in exhaustion.
Had the race been a fluke? As the season progressed, Wolffarth entered Baker in a number of other events, and always the result was the same. Once on the track, the modest, fun-loving teenager became a fierce, unrelenting competitor-a "heart" runner who simply wouldn't be beat. By the end of his junior year Baker had broken six state track records, and during his senior year he was proclaimed the finest miler ever developed in the state. He was not yet eighteen.
In the fall of 1962, Baker entered the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and stepped up his training. Each morning at dawn, spray can in hand to ward off snapping dogs, he ran through city streets, parks, and golf courses-twenty-five miles a day. The training told. Soon, in Abilene, Tulsa, Salt Lake City, wherever the New Mexico Lobos competed, "Upset John" Baker was confounding forecasters by picking off favored runners.
In the spring of 1965, when Baker was a junior, the most feared track team in the nation belonged to the University of Southern California. So, when the mighty Trojans descended on Albuquerque for a dual meet, sportscasters predicted doom for the Lobos. The mile, they said, would fall to U.S.C.'s "Big Three"-Chris Johnson, Doug Calhoun, and Bruce Bess, in that order. All had better times for the mile than Baker.
Baker led for one lap, then eased purposely back to fourth position. Rattled, Calhoun and Bess moved uneasily into the forfeited lead. Johnson, wary, held back. In the far turn of the third lap, at the same moment, Baker and Johnson moved for the lead-and collided. Fighting to stay on his feet, Baker lost precious yards, and Johnson moved into the lead. With 330 yards to go, Baker kicked into his final sprint. First Bess, then Calhoun, fell back. On the final turn it was Johnson and Baker neck and neck. Slowly, Baker inched ahead. With both hands above his head in a V-for-Victory sign, he broke the tape-a winner by three seconds. Inspired by Baker's triumph, the Lobos swept every following event, handing the demoralized Trojans their third-worst defeat in sixty-five years.
A Coach Who Cared
Upon graduation, Baker considered his options. There were college coaching offers, but he had always planned to work with children. There was also his running. Was he, he wondered, Olympic material? In the end, he accepted a job that would allow him to pursue both ambitions-he became a coach at Aspen Elementary School in Albuquerque, and at the same time renewed his rigorous training with an eye to the 1972 Games.
At Aspen, another facet of Baker's character emerged. On his playing fields there were no stars, and no criticism for lack of ability. His only demand was that each child do his or her best. This fairness, plus an obviously sincere concern for his students' welfare, triggered a powerful response. Youthful grievances were brought first to Coach Baker. Real or fancied, each was treated as if at the moment it was the most important matter in the world. And the word spread: "Coach cares."
Early in May 1969, shortly before his twenty-fifth birthday, Baker noticed that he was tiring prematurely during workouts. Two weeks later, he developed chest pains, and one morning near the end of the month he awoke with a painfully swollen groin. He made an appointment to see a doctor.
To urologist Edward Johnson, Baker's symptoms were ominous, requiring immediate exploratory surgery. The operation confirmed Johnson's fears. A cell in one of Baker's testicles had suddenly erupted in cancerous growth, and the mass was already widespread. Though Dr. Johnson didn't say it, he estimated that even with a second operation, Baker had approximately six months to live.
At home recuperating for the second operation, Baker confronted the grim reality of his world. There would be no more running, and no Olympics. Almost certainly, his coaching career was ended. Worst of all, his family faced months of anguish.
Edge of the Precipice
On the Sunday before the second operation, Baker left home alone for a drive in the mountains. He was gone for hours. When he returned that evening, there was a marked change in his spirits. His habitual smile, of late only a mask, was again natural and sincere. What's more, for the first time in two weeks, he spoke of future plans. Late that night, he told his sister Jill what had happened that clear June day.
He had driven to Sandia Crest, the majestic two-mile-high mountain peak that dominates Albuquerque's eastern skyline. Seated in his car near the edge of the precipice, he thought of the extended agony his condition would cause his family. He could end that agony, and his own in an instant. With a silent prayer, he revved the engine and reached for the emergency brake. Suddenly a vision flashed before his eyes-the faces of the children at Aspen Elementary, the children he had taught to do their best despite the odds. What sort of legacy would his suicide be for them? Shamed to the depths of his soul, he switched off the ignition, slumped in the seat and wept. After a while he realized that his fears were stilled, that he was at peace. Whatever time I have left, he told himself, I'm dedicating to the kids.
In September, following extensive surgery and a summer of treatments, Baker re-immersed himself in his job and to his already full schedule he added a new commitment-sports for the handicapped. Whatever their infirmity, children who had once stood idle on the sidelines now assumed positions as "Coach's Time Keeper" or "Chief Equipment Supervisor" all wearing their official Aspen jerseys, all eligible to earn a Coach Baker ribbon for trying hard. Baker made the ribbons himself, at home in the evening, from material purchased with his own money.
By Thanksgiving, letters in praise of Baker from grateful parents were arriving almost daily at Aspen (more than five hundred would be received there and at the Baker residence before a year had passed). "My son was a morning monster" one mother wrote. "Getting him up, fed, and out the door was hardly bearable. Now he can't wait for school. He's the Chief Infield Raker."
"Despite my son's assertions, I could not believe that there was a Superman at Aspen," wrote another mother. "I drove over secretly to watch Coach Baker with the children. My son was right." And this from two grandparents: "In other schools, our granddaughter suffered terribly from her awkwardness. Then, this wonderful year at Aspen, Coach Baker gave her an 'A' for trying her best. God bless this young man who gave a timid child self-respect."
In December, during a routine visit to Dr. Johnson, Baker complained of a sore throat and headaches. Tests confirmed that the malignancy had spread to his neck and brain. For four months, Johnson now recognized, Baker had been suffering severe pain in silence, using his incredible power of concentration to ignore the pain just as he had used it to ignore fatigue when he ran. Johnson suggested painkilling injections. Baker shook his head. "I want to work with the kids as long as I'm able," he said. "The injections would dull my responsiveness."
"From that moment," Johnson later remarked, "I looked upon John Baker as one of the most unselfish persons I've ever known."
Cups for Dashers
Early in 1970, Baker was asked to help coach a small Albuquerque track club for girls from elementary through high school age. Its name: the Duke City Dashers. He agreed on the spot and, like the children of Aspen, the girls on the Dashers responded to the new coach with enthusiasm.
One day Baker arrived at a practice session carrying a shoebox. He announced that it held two awards, one for the girl who, though never a winner, wouldn't quit. When Baker opened the box, the girls gasped. Inside were two shiny gold trophy cups. From then on, deserving Dashers received such cups. Months later, Baker's family would discover that the trophies were his, from his racing days, with his own name carefully burnished away.
By summer, the Duke City Dashers were a club to contend with, breaking record after record at meets throughout New Mexico and bordering states. Proudly, Baker made a bold prediction: "The Dashers are going to the national AAU finals."
But now a new problem plagued Baker. His frequent chemotherapy injections brought on severe nausea, and he could not keep food down. Despite steadily decreasing stamina, however, he continued to supervise the Dashers, usually sitting on a small hill above the training area, hollering encouragement.
One afternoon in October, following a huddle on the track below, one of the girls ran up the hill toward Baker. "Hey Coach!" she shouted. "Your prediction's come true! We're invited to the AAU finals in St. Louis next month."
Elated, Baker confided to friends that he had one remaining hope-to live long enough to go along.
But it was not to be. On the morning of October 28, at Aspen, Baker suddenly clutched his abdomen and collapsed on the playground. Examination revealed that the spreading tumor had ruptured, triggering shock. Declining hospitalization, Baker insisted on returning to school for one last day. He told his parents that he wanted the children to remember him walking tall, not lying helpless in the dirt.
Sustained now by massive blood transfusions and sedation, Baker realized that for him the St. Louis trip was impossible. So he began telephoning Dashers every evening and didn't stop until he had urged each girl to do her best at the finals.
In the early evening of November 23, Baker collapsed again. Barely conscious as attendants loaded him into an ambulance, he whispered to his parents, "Make sure the lights are flashing. I want to leave the neighborhood in style." Shortly after dawn on November 26, he turned on his hospital bed to his mother, who was holding his hands and said, "I'm sorry to have been so much trouble." With a final sigh, he closed his eyes. It was Thanksgiving Day of 1970, eighteen months after John Baker's first visit to Dr. Johnson. He had beaten the odds against death by twelve months.
Two days later, with tears streaming down their cheeks, the Duke City Dashers won the AAU championship in St. Louis-"for Coach Baker."
That would be the end of the John Baker story except for a phenomenon which occurred after his funeral. A few of the children of Aspen began calling their school "John Baker School" and the change of name spread like wildfire. Then a movement began to make the new name official. "It's our school," the kids said, "and we want to call it John Baker." Aspen officials referred the matter to the Albuquerque school board, and the board suggested a voter referendum. In early spring of 1971, 520 families in the Aspen district voted on the question. There were 520 votes for, none against.
That May, in a ceremony attended by hundreds of Baker's friends and all of his children, Aspen School officially became John Baker Elementary. It stands today as a visible monument to a courageous young man who, in his darkest hours, transformed bitter tragedy into an enduring legacy.
John Baker did not choose to have cancer, but he did choose his response. He chose to make a contribution. By focusing his last energies on the hearts and spirits of the children, he left a lasting legacy in the lives of those he touched. And in so doing, surely he experienced the inner rewards that accompany a life of meaning.
* * *
Like John Baker, Mary Clarke, too, faced a choice point. With her children out of the nest, her husband gone, and so much of life behind her, would she choose to sit back and be a "spectator" or choose instead to make a contribution?
Gail Cameron Wescott
A riot was raging through La Mesa prison in Tijuana, Mexico. Twenty-five hundred fed-up prisoners, packed into a compound built for six hundred, angrily hurled broken bottles at police, who fired back with machine guns.
Excerpted from Everyday Greatness by Stephen R. Covey Copyright © 2007 by Stephen R. Covey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted November 21, 2009
I received this book through the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger program. It attracted my attention as I usually like reading books about being a person of greatness. I assumed that I would find his writing uplifting and informative.
Everyday Greatness is living each day with character and contribution. It is a way of life not a one time five minutes of glory that the media loves to exploit. The author writes, "It speaks more about people's motives than about their talents; more about small simple deeds than about grandiose accomplishments. It is humble."
What I like about his book is I can read it in tiny pieces - small stories that inspired you to think beyond yourself. It's not to overwhelming, at all.
My disappointment is that the book isn't written by Covey though his name is splashed all over the front cover. Looking close it reads: Insights and commentary by Stephen Covey, compiled by David K. Hatch. The book is still packed with wisdom but I feel the reader - me for example - was mislead.
He invites the readers to ask ourselves: To what ends or purpose are your daily choices leading? Is your life in harmony with timeless universal principles? What are you contributing on daily basis? Each section contains thought provoking questions and great collection of quotes.
How does this book feed my spirit? Reading how others rise above their day to day struggles inspires me to try once again to be who God calls me to be. The world can really beat us up sometimes and this book gives the encouragement and hope to keep on and when we go through life, it truly is better together.
Posted November 17, 2009
Everyday Greatness by Stephen Covey is like Chicken Soup for the Soul on steriods. It's not a book to be read in one sitting, but rather a resource book of stories and quotes that would suit someone who speaks regularly.
The book is built around three choices that Covey regards as being a daily priority:
1. The Choice to Act - your energy
2. The Choice of Purpose - your destination
3. The Choice for Principles - the means for attaining your goals
The material is sourced from a wide variety of contributors both historical and contemporary, and Covey provides commentary and application. Each chapter ends with a wrap up and reflection to assist you in allowing at least some of what you have read to sink in.
It's certainly not groundbreaking stuff, but the sheer length of the book and the countless stories and analogies ensure that there is at least something you can find in it that will have some significance either for personal application or as material to be used in your own communication. This is the longest I've taken to review a book simply because I would find it impossible to take in one go because of the sheer volume of material and quotes. What I may find inspirational in this book and what others may can differ wildly due to the sheer number and the wide variety of contributors ranging from ancient Chinese proverbs, to Victor Hugo and even to Marie Osmond of all people.
This is not a book that I will retain any memory of and so if I am to take anything out of it I will need to use adhesive flags or some other way of highlighting the pearls.
This is not a book that I will retain any memory of and so if I am to take anything out of it I will need to use adhesive flags or some other way of highlighting the pearls. In choosing to include so much material Covey has produced a book that negates its own effect. A bit like a speaker whose got way too much material, this book goes on way too long and becomes frustrating. Less would have been more with this book.
Posted October 21, 2009
My first impression? 'A new book by Stephen Covey! Having owned three of his previous works, I was eager to see what additional wisdom he had to impart. Upon scanning it however, I was a bit disappointed to realize that Stephen only gave commentaries, and that the book was actually a compilation of articles from Reader's Digest. So. was I tricked? Sure looked that way - still, the adage 'Don't judge a book by it's cover' came to mind, so. read on I went.
I'm glad I did!
Stephen does give his readers three specific challenges to do everyday to help them become people of 'transition' i.e. someone transitioning from a challenging situation -and focusing on positive efforts, rather than wallowing in self-pity. These three challenges to Everyday Greatness are:
. The Choice to Act - your energy
. The Choice of Purpose - your destination
. The Choice for Principles - the means for attaining your goals
He then uses selected Reader's Digest stories to expound Everyday Greatness into seven categories with three principles each.
As an avid Reader's Digest reader back then, this book felt like coming back to a pleasant place I've not been to for quite some time. What Stephen did with these chosen stories, was to give examples of these principles in action - proving to us that 'Everyday Greatness' is not a lofty, near-impossible goal. Others (some famous; some not so) were able to achieve these. So can we.
I recommend this book - read it, reflect on its principles. then be a person of transition.
Posted September 25, 2009
This book is awesome. What I love most about the book is that it itself is timeless. It is one of those books you will need to hold on to forever because the wisdom and principals shared throughout the book seems unending. The other thing that I love most about this book is that you don't need to read it all at once. Really, you don't need to read the whole thing at all, but you will want to!
There are 7 different life areas and within those each has 3 principals included. Each principal has stories to share from real people, both known and unknown. The simplicity of the layout and the depth of the stories make each of them a lesson in itself. Then after the stories each section also has a long list of relevant quotes. I love short simple words to live by and this book nourishes me with many!
I would suggest this book to anyone who wants to be inspired and to truly learn how to make your everyday great. It lives up to it's title.
Posted September 9, 2009
As a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ I had the opportunity to review Stephen R. Covey's compendium of moral inspirational stories, Everyday Greatness.
Covey's book is like a textbook in morals. Moral values are categorized and explicitly described via real life stories which serve as examples or case studies. Morals are grouped together in sections. Each section begins with a brief introduction- the style is reminiscent to the learning goals which can be found in an elementary text book prior to each new unit. For each moral topic, there is a short summary in an easy to digest format called the "Wrap Up" and "Reflections" at the end of each chapter. Also included are relevant quotations from a colorful assortment of literary, political and religious figures.
While not explicitly biblical, the humanistic moral values within the pages are not offensive and are compatible with Christianity nonetheless. The book draws upon the worldly wisdom of philosophers and other assorted well known figures ranging from Nietzsche, Tom Hanks, Ghandi and Mother Theresa to John McCain and George Bush.
Perhaps this book is most useful as a starting point to introduce non religious readers and non Christians to basic moral values.
This book is not to be used explicitly as a Christian resource but rather as a generic, secular resource for anyone wishing to strive for a moral life. This book is a good instruction manual on general moral values and good citizenship. It is clear that this ambitious piece of work represents a lot of research and hard work on the part of Stephen R. Covey. The books weakness in promoting the Christian faith and biblical values serves as a great strength as well as it is an effective resource to draw the interest of a secular audience. Nevertheless as a Christian, I would have liked to see more biblical quotes and biblical wisdom along side the secular quotes and secular wisdom.
Posted August 27, 2009
This is the kind of book you might not want to read from start to finish. It's great for picking up when you have a little time here or there since you can jump in at any point and get something out of the book. The book itself claims that it could be a good resource for speakers, teachers, preachers, who need inspiring stories. That is true.
I admit, I teared up quite a few times while reading the different stories presented in this book. The book is divided into clear and well-organized categories about all the aspects of life that are important if you want to live an extraordinary life. That doesn't mean being a hero or well-known by thousands. The book emphasizes living your best life while being a good influence on the people around you who you come into contact with. Each section contains about 3 stories related to the topic, and several pages of quotes. The sections are introduced and "Wrapped up" by Stephen Covey. His comments are fine, and sometimes caused deeper reflection in me, but they weren't my favorite part of the book. I liked the collection of stories.
This book would make a nice gift for high school or college graduates, or public speakers. Anyone who enjoy motivational stories would enjoy looking through it as well.
I recently had the opportunity to become a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson. I mean free books to read, come on, I was all for it. Anyone who knows me knows that I read like a bajillion books a year. So for my first book I chose Everyday Greatness which is a collection of inspirational stories by some famous people you know and some people you do not know but are heroes just the same. The book is compiled by David K. Hatch and has Insights and Commentary by Stephen R. Covey. The stories in the book are from many issues of Reader's Digest throughout the years.
This book gives us what they call a Go Forward Plan which challenges us to make three important choices every day.
1)The Choice to Act
2)The Choice of Purpose
3)The Choice for Principles
Some of the stories are very emotional and I found myself wiping away tears and some were not so inspiring. I really enjoyed reading Everyday Greatness. It showed me a lot of areas in my life where I can improve my choices and learn to make better and more proactive ones. I realized that nobody is hopeless despite what one sees on the outside and that everyone has a story and we should all try to see a person's story instead of judging them unfairly. I did feel that the book was a little scattered and would have appreciated a little more or better structure but on the whole I feel it is definitely worth reading.
Posted August 26, 2009
In order to have everyday greatness there are things that you need to have and adapt into your life. Stephen Covey writes about: "Searching for meaning, taking charge, starting within, creating the dream, teaming with others, overcoming adversity, and blending the pieces". In each section there are stories that talk about the topic with quotes at the end of each chapter.
The book is about having good character and a generous life which is not common in today's society. It's about living your life with purpose and meaning everyday of your life, by making "the choice to Act, the choice of Purpose, and the choice for Principle".
This book can be read in one chunk or digested over a long period of time. It will inspire and lift you up while helping you adjust different areas in your life. But no matter what it will encourage you to have everyday greatness.
At the end of the book the author gives six suggestions to put the book into practice, which I love. I love practical implications with a book full of stories and quotes. It really brought it home for me and showed me a way to apply what I have read. I would recommend this book to anyone but especially someone that is looking for a book to read a little over an extended amount of time.
Posted August 25, 2009
Everyday Greatness has them. Easy to read book about everyday people achieving greatness. This book is great for teens to see how important good character is as shown in the lives of those in the stories. There are not only stories that go back two centuries but also more contemporary stories to give hope that our world is not lost the the selfish greed we see daily. I def. recommend this book especially if there are kids in your home.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2009
This is a wonderfully compiled book of stories with inspiration and everyday development, which borders on, if not compels us, to think about our paths in life. "Everyday Greatness" is that collection of awe-inspiring stories, some from some famous people, but for the most part, they are the stories of the common person like me. Stephen Covey, has done a wonderful job of bring the best together and putting it out there for everyone to have the opportunity to read.
This is not the type of book that you will want to pick up and read all the way through, without stopping. It is a collection of stories, some heart rendering, but always inspiring. A reflection section and some simple questions the reader should ask themselves follow each section. These reflections give the reader the opportunity to look within himself or herself, to evaluate and correct ways in which he or she thinks and acts.
While reading these wonderfully inspiring stories, I found myself stopping and thinking about the ways I look at things and life. It made me think about how I look at life and the little things that I can do, to help or give a person a boost in their and my everyday life's hurdles.
I highly recommend this collection to any and everyone. You will not be sorry and possibly, you too can make a difference in someone's life and most certainly your life as well.
Posted August 11, 2009
Everyday Greatness is an inspiring volume of short stories from both recognizable celebrities and leaders and ordinary, everyday people. Honestly, I was expecting something different with Stephen Covey's name on it, but if understood as it is, a compilation, it is indeed an enjoyable read.
I appreciated the organization of the book into virtues that, if truly lived out, lead to everyday greatness. It makes it easy when wrestling with a particular subject to go back and receive inspiration. The wrap-up and reflections at the end of each chapter make for a nice way to re-articulate the principles in the story. These lend themselves to further contemplation and practical application in one's own life. However, I personally didn't find Covey's intermittent commentary particularly edifying to the book or the points made by the stories.
While I wouldn't choose to read the entire book cover-to-cover again, it would be a great night-stand or coffee table book to read on occasion. Filled with quotes and palatable examples of putting the illustrated principles into practice, it would also serve well as a sermon or teaching supplement. If read as a whole, it can get a little fluffy and superficial. I believe a book of this kind would be best digested in small bites, where you can savor the message.
*I am a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program. http://brb.thomasnelson.com/*
Posted August 9, 2009
Stephen R. Covey presents a great treatise of what it means to be a person of Everyday Greatness in his book by that title. In this book he, along with Readers Digest, collected a plethora of stories from people throughout recent history regarding the three choices Covey states are essential to be people of Everyday Greatness: The Choice to Act, The Choice of Purpose, and The Choice for Principles. I found most of the stories insightful and beneficial.
I did take exception to the idea Covey discusses in his overview that all people have the ability to do good, if they just follow the principles in his book. This is simply not true from a believer's point of view. The Bible suggests to us that no one is able to do good on his own, certainly not consistently, and that it is the Holy Spirit who works good through us as believers. Yet Covey seems to suggest that all persons have this capacity.
If you desire inspiration, you will find it in the stories in this book from the likes of Alex Haley and Maya Angelo, and commentary by Covey. I'm not saying that you shouldn't read the book, only that you must understand that the context is not necessarily spiritual.
Posted August 9, 2009
I have always liked short stories that make you feel good after you read them and this is what Stephen Covey and David Hatch have done with this book with the help of one of the best magazine to date the Readers Digest. I got this book for the Thomas Nelson Book Review program. (brb.thomasnelson.com).
There are three Choice each day that we need to make:
1. The Choice to act
2. The Choice of Purpose
3. The Choice of Principles.
The great thing about this book is that you can read it from cover to cover or you can find a subject that you feel you need in your life and you can start there. I really like this book and it is fill with great stories, quotes and ideas that really hit at the heart strings.
Posted August 8, 2009
Everyday Greatness is a compilation of inspiring stories of extraordinary people. The stories, which were originally published by Readers Digest, demonstrate how anyone at anytime can make the conscious decision to experience greatness each day. Stephen Covey did an excellent job of narrating and expounding on the examples of greatness that was exhibited throughout the book.
Examples of how to experience Everyday Greatness were divided into 7 chapters:
Searching for Meaning (Contribution, Charity, Attention)
Taking Charge (Responsibility, Courage, Discipline)
Creating the Dream (Vision, Innovation, Quality)
Teaming with Others (Respect, Empathy, Unity)
Overcoming Adversity ( Adaptability, Magnanimity, Perseverance)
Blending the Pieces (Balance, Simplicity, Renewal)
All throughout these chapters were examples of how various people implemented these traits into their daily lives. In story after story, it was evident that actively practicing these positive characteristics transformed their lives positively. Some people who were mentioned in this book were famous. Others I had never heard about. Nonetheless they all experienced Everyday Greatness through a shift in their mindset.
Each chapter also contained quotes that were related to its content. I found these to be extremely inspirational and motivating. The book was an excellent read and I will refer to it often. In my opinion, this book could be read from cover to cover, or it can be read out of sequence. In either case, I found Everyday Greatness to be moving and a great self improvement reference.
Posted August 7, 2009
"I must strip my vines of all useless foliage and concentrate on what is truth, justice, and charity." -Pope John XXIII
Reader's Digest Everyday Greatness is full of timeless truths that can relate and apply to all areas and aspects of life of life. The stories and quotes found within the pages of this book are filled with wisdom and encouragement for any and all who are seeking to live a better life. Whether you are wealthy and seeking to become a better businessman or you are an average, everyday Joe Everyday Greatness can help you on your journey. This book is for you.
Found within the pages and chapters of Everyday Greatness are stories of triumph, glory, joy, peace, struggle, temptation, trials, and perseverance. The authors of these stories are people that we see everyday in the world around us. This book contains truths to help you with many areas of life including areas like searching for meaning, starting within, respect, unity, integrity, charity, and overcoming adversity. If you are searching to achieve everyday greatness this book could help you. I give this book a four star rating!
"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy" -The Cockle Bur
Posted August 7, 2009
I was pleased to get a copy of Everyday Greatness, which is a collection of stories from Reader's Digest about people who display character and make contributions, with insights and commentary from Stephen R. Covey. The book has 7 categories containing 3 principles which can guide our choices in life. The stories under each one show times when someone was faced with a time of choice, what decision they made, and what the outcome was for the person and for others.
Stephen Covey's introduction and postscript to each story, plus the quotes between each chapter are well done. They aren't too long or preachy, but just simple and direct, raising questions if you want to think about how the principle applies to your own life. This book can be used for self-study or just read for the inspiring stories of regular people who did good things.
Posted August 6, 2009
Are you looking for a book to inspire and challenge you to go above and beyond what you are doing now? Then this book is for you!! The book, Everyday Greatness by Stephen R Covey, sets out to apply "character-driven living" principles to our own lives using adversity and challenge. The inside cover says "Everyday Greatness will help you discover inspiring, mind-expanding insight and solutions to your personal challenges." I love this book because the stories in it are very inspiring. Each one speaks to you in a different way. Some of the stories are from famous people like Chuck Norris, Betty Ford, and Henry David Thoreau. Other stories are from people you would never hear about. The quotes that are used after each section mean just as much as the stories themselves.
The stories are very personal and each one has you feeling like you can do more than you are doing now. Every story has you thinking, "How can I be a better person, how can I help someone?" Betty Ford talks about her alcohol and drug addictions and how she overcame them. Chuck Norris talks about creating your own breaks. "If you want to accomplish anything in life, you can't just sit back and hope it will happen. You've got to make it happen." There are also stories where one person changed one life. If we can only help one person, it is worth it. The story of "The Boy Who Couldn't Read" was very inspiring. Tyler Currie finds out a student in his classroom can't read. The boy has been passed along each year from one grade to the next. This teacher decides to do something. He teaches the boy to read. It took one person to feel compassion and to find what would trigger the child's learning.
This book is for anyone who wants to be nudged to do more. If you feel there is more you should be getting out of life, this book will help you find it. You cannot fully appreciate this book "Everyday Greatness" until you read it from cover to cover. Parts will make you cry, some will make you laugh, and others will make you think. But through it all, you are being motivated to do your best in all that you do. And what more could anyone ask?
When I first received the book, "Everyday Greatness" Insights and Commentary by Dr. Steven R. Covey (compiled by David K. Hatch, Thomas Nelson publisher, ISBN978-1--4016-0241-3) I skimmed through it and my first thought was "Oh great. Another book full of platitudes!" I didn't need any more of that.
But I was pleasantly surprised. This is a subject and theme close to my own heart. Dr. Covey/David Hatch have created a book full of stories and quotations that relate to literally, everyday greatness. Covey talks about the people I personally consider great although the world may never know their names or struggles or heroic actions: those people who struggle every day, the majority who make up the "Everyman" who while they do not make headline grabbing news for their particular type of heroism, are just as heroic as those who rush into burning buildings (and those who do too) to save seniors, babies, and pets. These are the 'quiet heroes', those who come to the rescue in less dramatic but just as heroic actions.
It's a character of our society that I fear is dying out too quickly and too completely, everyday heroism.
In "Everday Greatness", there are stories, articles, and yes those platitude quotes that while I may decry them, I secretly still love them. I'm a sucker for a deep quote! Covey and Hatch have created a book that, in my humble opinion, is long overdue! It's the kind of book that I put on my night table and read it on those long nights when I need encouragement to make it through to morning. "Everyday Greatness" is a book to share with anyone you know, trust, and depend upon, those who manage to help and strengthen and encourage without any fanfare at all.
Posted August 6, 2009
I just got done reading Everday Greatness by Stephen Covey, and overall I enjoyed it!
This is a book that demands to be read over multiple sittings. Compiled of stories from Reader's Digest, you will discover the inspirational lessons from celebrities, writers, politicians, actors and more.
Each chapter gives you three stories from three different people followed by quotes that fit within the theme.
The themes range from finding meaning in your life, taking charge, following your dreams, overcoming hardship and much much more.
The first story had me dreading reading the rest. Not because I didn't enjoy it, but because it was almost a tear jerker. I wasn't ready to read sad story after sad story. Luckily most of the stories are positive and not ending with a death.
One thing that I really enjoyed about the book is that between each chapter there are a list of quotes by famouse people that relate to the theme of the chapter. And if you've every looked around this blog, you know I love quotes!
I like to learn the backgrounds of famous people and in this you can discover things about people like Chuck Norris as a grocery bagger and Mrs. Ford as a drug addict are just a few of the tid-bits you'll uncover as you learn a little bit about yourself on the way.
Posted August 4, 2009
"Everyday Greatness" is packed with wonderful stories and quotes about ways to lead a full life by giving of ourselves to others with honesty, courage, humility and empathy and other Fruits of the Spirit. Each story is easy to read. There is no need for a dictionary or other Bible helps. I flowed with each story. Anxiously waiting to examine my inner life to see what I never had tried to change, what I had failed to change or what flaws I had denied ever having at all. A notebook comes in handy to write down quotes from Julie Andrews, Christopher Reeves or Colin Powell and other people.
"Everyday Greatness" is inexhaustible. There are a number of ways to read it. I began at the beginning of the book. Then, I thought about skipping over to personal qualities needed for that very week or month. Whatever way you choose to read it you will feel blessed with purpose. For example, there are three everyday choices: the choice to act, the choice of purpose and the choice of principles. This is truly a book I will keep for the times when I feel hopeless, unchallenged or puposeless. It is a tremendous book.