Plus, receive recommendations and exclusive offers on all of your favorite books and authors from Simon & Schuster.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Table of Contents
About The Book
Adapted from the New York Times bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens is the ultimate teenage success guide—now updated for the digital age.
Imagine you had a roadmap—a step-by-step guide to help you get from where you are now, to where you want to be in the future. Your goals, your dreams, your plans…they’re all within reach. You just need the tools to help you get there.
That’s what Sean Covey’s landmark book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, has been to millions of teens: a handbook to self-esteem and success. Now updated for the digital age, this classic book applies the timeless principles of 7 Habits to the tough issues and life-changing decisions teens face. Covey provides a simple approach to help teens improve self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals, and appreciate their parents, as well as tackle the new challenges of our time, like cyberbullying and social media. In addition, this book is stuffed with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world.
Endorsed by high-achievers such as former 49ers quarterback Steve Young and 28-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens has become the last word on surviving and thriving as a teen.
THEY MAKE YOU OR BREAK YOU
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
A lot of teens read books, but I wasn’t one of them. (I did read several Cliffs Notes book summaries, however.) So if you’re like me, you may be ready to shelve this book. But before you do that, hear me out. If you promise to read this book, I’ll promise to make it an adventure. In fact, to keep it fun, I’ve stuffed it full of cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world … along with a few other surprises. So will you give it a try?
We first make
then our habits
Now, back to the book. 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 longer a 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. In addition, 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 remember what it was like to be one. I could have 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 first 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 interpreters). Clar completed his mission and returned and reported.
“Hey, Sean, I told Nicole that you liked her.”
“What’d she say!?” I giggled.
“She said, ‘Ooohhh, Sean. He’s fat!’”
Clar laughed. I was devastated. I felt like crawling into a hole and never coming out again. I vowed to hate girls for life. Luckily my hormones prevailed and I began liking girls again.
I suspect that some of the struggles that teens have shared with me are also familiar to you:
“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.’”
“I feel as if my life is out of control.”
“My family is a disaster. 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.”
These problems are real, and you can’t turn off real life. So I won’t try. 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 the world over 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:
Take responsibility for your life.
Begin with the End in Mind
Define your mission and goals in life.
Put First Things First
Prioritize, and do the most important things first.
Have an everyone-can-win attitude.
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Listen to people sincerely.
Work together to achieve more.
Sharpen the Saw
Renew yourself regularly.
As the above diagram shows, the habits build upon each other. 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 rather 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 or professors, your lousy neighborhood, your boy- or girlfriend, the government, or something or somebody else. Be a victim. Take no responsibility for your life. Act like an animal. If you’re hungry, eat. If someone yells at you, yell back. If you feel like doing something you know is wrong, just do 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 we 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 reruns, talking endlessly on the phone, surfing the Net, and lounging around. Always put off your homework until tomorrow. Make sure that things that don’t matter always come before things that do.
Habit 4: Think Win-Lose
See life as a vicious competition. Your classmate is out to get you, so you’d better get him or her 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. Make sure you talk a lot. Always express your side of the story first. Once you’re sure everyone understands your views, then pretend to listen by nodding and saying “uh-huh.” 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 is for the dogs. Since you always have the best ideas, you are 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.
• WHAT EXACTLY ARE HABITS?
Habits are things we do repeatedly. But most of the time we are hardly aware that we have them. They’re on autopilot.
Some habits are good, such as:
• Exercising regularly
• Planning ahead
• Showing respect for others
Some are bad, like:
• Thinking negatively
• Feeling inferior
• Blaming others
And some don’t really matter, including:
• Taking showers at night
• Eating yogurt with a fork
• Reading magazines from back to front
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. Therefore, you can change them. For example, try folding your arms. Now try folding them in the opposite way. How does this feel? Pretty strange, doesn’t it? 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’s not always easy, but it’s always possible.
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 addiction
• 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, and everything else
One final point. It’s your book, so use it. Get out a pencil, pen, or highlighter and mark it up. Don’t be afraid to underline, highlight, or circle your favorite ideas. Take notes in the margins. Scribble. Reread the stories that inspire you. 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 call or visit some of the hotlines and Web sites I have 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 other interesting tidbits, that’s just fine. But at some point you ought to read the book from start to finish, because the 7 Habits are sequential. They all build on each other. 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!
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 27, 2014)
- Length: 288 pages
- ISBN13: 9781476764665
Browse Related Books
Raves and Reviews
“This book is a touchdown.”
– Steve Young, NFL Hall of Famer and Super Bowl MVP
“Teens face many challenging issues and It’s great that 7 Habits is now available to help direct teens towards positive living.”
– Michael Phelps, 28-time Olympic Medalist and Founder of the Michael Phelps Foundation
“If you are a teen, or know someone who will be one, have them read this book. It will help them establish a pattern for dealing with change, disappointment and even success. It is truly a powerful, life changing book.”
– Derek Hough, Emmy Award winning choreographer
“A recipe for teenage success!”
– Dominique Moceanu, 1996 US Olympic Gold Medalist, Women's Gymnastics and New York Times bestselling author, Off Balance
"‘Like father, like son’ maybe a cliché, but Sean has proved it to be true. Sean is as effective as his father in providing directions to teens so that their lives become meaningful. Sean's 7 Habits is a book every teenager should read and emulate."
– Arun Gandhi, president, Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute
“Unlike my book on the 7 Habits, this book, by my son Sean, speaks directly to teens in an entertaining and visually appealing style (and Sean, I never thought you listened to a word I said). As prejudiced as this may sound, this is a remarkable book, a must-read!”
– Stephen R. Covey, Sean's dad, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and cofounder and former vice chairman of Franklin Covey Co.
"Growing up isn’t easy, but with the help of Sean Covey’s book, young adults can learn to navigate through this awkward time and come out on the other side as a highly effective adult."
– Erin Gruwell, Founder of Freedom Writers Foundation and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Freedom Writers Diary
“I wish I'd had this book when I was a teen.”
– Shannon Hale, New York Times bestselling author of Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy and The Goose Girl
“I have long been a fan of Stephen Covey and his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In fact, I liked his principles so much that we teach it to our players in the off-season as leadership principles. When I saw Sean’s book on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, I was excited to have another weapon to take our players and culture to a higher level. Whether you are a teen or not, you should read this book!”
– Anson Dorrance, University of North Carolina Tar Heels women's soccer coach, 22 time national collegiate champion
“I highly recommend the simple, straight forward advice provided in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens book to teenagers, young adults, and their parents. You’ll hear new perspectives on how to improve your relationships and leadership skills that will positively impact your life, resulting in greater happiness…. And more than that—you will be able to do it and be successful at anything you choose to do. I have personally read it and practiced the timeless principles with my daughters.”
– Diana Thomas, U.S. vice president of training, learning & development, McDonalds Corporation
“Fifteen years ago Sean Covey wrote a powerful book that taught teens that they had the ability to choose their behavior but not the consequences. The decisions that teens make could change their lives forever! Every young person should read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. It's a must read for all my students!”
– Salome Thomas-El, award-winning educator and author
“The younger you are when you set your direction and goals and learn the tools that help you get there, the better off you will be. This book defines what it means to succeed and is a must-read for every young adult! I only wish someone had shown it to me during those most formative years of my life! I recommend it to anyone!”
– Chelsie Hightower, professional dancer, Dancing With The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance
“Sean's book helps teenagers to become climbers rather than campers, to live with a goal in mind, and to confront obstacles with a ‘no barriers mindset.’ He urges young people to Make Your Life Extraordinary and provides a pathway which will get them there. In a world with so many distractions and temptations, the guidelines he provides are invaluable to a purposeful and successful life.”
– Erik Weihenmayer, blind adventurer, speaker, author, and filmmaker
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens has made it easier than ever before for teens to navigate through life! If you want to live a life of contribution, set and achieve extraordinary goals, and stay focused and organized, practice every habit in Sean's book. It will help you become who you want to be.”
– Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing From the Inside Out for Teens
“I would highly recommend Sean Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens because it teaches whoever reads it how to set goals, get organized, prioritize, make good decisions, and most of all, to help build good character. Take it from me — they are all the things that will help them achieve success in their lives. Sean does a great job with the book.”
– Jimmer Fredette, Naismith/ Wooden award winner, NBA player
“Had my son had the chance to grow up, I know this book would have been a great guide and given him the tools he needed to navigate his way through life. If you are lucky enough to grow up, make mistakes, and learn from them, having someone like Sean guide you with this book is a truly a gift.”
– Maya Thompson, founder of The Ronan Thompson Foundation
“This is an easy-to-understand book full of interesting stories. I really related to Sean’s personal story about the fear of performing in front of people since I am violinist. I’m sure teenagers around the globe will be able to relate as well.”
– Emily Inouye, age 14
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens gives you new insight into the meaning of being powerfully successful. It teaches the importance of setting goals and sticking to them in order to achieve your dreams.”
– Picabo Street, National Ski Hall of Fame, former member of the US ski team and Olympic gold medalist
“What? Sean Covey wrote a book? You’ve got to be kidding!!”
– Sean’s high school English teacher
“I used one of the stories from your book in a speech I gave at leadership camp and it helped me to be elected governor! Thanks Sean Covey!!!”
– Leisy Oswald, age 16
“The best way to ‘make it happen’ in your life is to make the right choices as a teen. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens lets teens see themselves as the principal force in their lives, regardless of their background or current walk of life.”
– Stedman Graham, founder of Athletes Against Drugs, New York Times bestselling author of You Can Make it Happen and Identity: Your Passport to Success
“The inspiring examples from real-life problems that teenagers like myself deal with every day, and their experiences and situations, have helped me make lifesaving decisions. I highly recommend this book to any teenager. “
– Jeremy Sommer, age 19
“For a professional athlete, winning basketball games is important—but winning at the game of life is even more important. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens provides a game plan for teens to become team players with their teammates in life, their families and friends. It presents strategies for becoming a better all-around person and elevating individual skills.”
– Sheryl Swoopes, four-time WNBA champion, three-time MVP, NCAA champion, and three-time Olympic gold medalist
“Today’s teens are the future leaders of our families, communities, and nation. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens teaches them the value of hard work, setting and achieving goals, and taking responsibility and initiative, all of which are characteristics of effective leaders.”
– Michael O. Leavitt, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
“I have been juggling family, school activities, friends, and after-school responsibilities. When I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens it helped me become a more organized person. I used a lot of the cartoons to help me remember stories and examples.”
– Joy Denewellis, age 18
“Stephen Covey must be rightfully proud of his son Sean, who absorbed his father’s lessons well. Those who wish to avoid the temptations and devastation of drugs, including alcohol, would be wise to implement The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Written for teenagers, this book is an indispensable tool, helping young people make the right choices, while growing up in the chaos of today. I wish there had been a book like this for those of us who grew up in the sixties.”
– Candace Lightner, president of We Save Lives and founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving
“Motivation is only a part of the game of life. Self-discipline and self-control are key in making your dreams a reality. This book offers all the tools you need as a teen to be a champion in life.”
– Mia Hamm, FIFA's Women's World Player of the Year, former member of the U.S. women's national soccer team
“Sean’s ‘can do’ examples remind me of how important it is to make the most of what I have. I play a lot of sports, though I’m not a big kid. This book helped me realize that I have to rely on my speed and my smarts if I want to reach my goals.”
– Brent Kuik, age 15
“Powerful but not parental— an important message delivering much more than good advice, it offers true direction to teens living in a challenging, complex world. Covey offers sound, time-tested direction without sounding preachy or parental . . . packaging unquestionable wisdom into a friendly, approachable book that will inspire trust and encourage teens to follow their hearts, rather than simply follow the group.”
– Patrick S. O’Brien, author of Making College Count
“If The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens doesn’t help you, then you must have a perfect life already.”
– Jordan McLaughlin, age 17
“We all have dreams in life we want to achieve and we can reach these dreams if we’re willing to always give 100 percent. This book is an intensive training program for youth to grow and develop so they can become winners in the competition of life.”
– Kristi Yamaguchi, U.S. Olympic figure skating gold medalist
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens is a winner! In my years of coaching young people, we learned together that working hard, setting goals, and having a clear vision of your dream enables you to be successful, even when you lose.”
– Lou Holtz, former head football coach, Notre Dame University and University of South Carolina, sports analyst for ESPN
Resources and Downloads
High Resolution Images
- Book Cover Image (jpg): The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens Trade Paperback 9781476764665
- Author Photo (jpg): Sean Covey (0.1 MB)
Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit
More to Explore
Our Summer Reading Recommendations
Red-hot romances, poolside fiction, and blockbuster picks, oh my! Start reading the hottest books of the summer.
This Month's New Releases
From heart-pounding thrillers to poignant memoirs and everything in between, check out what's new this month.