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Everyday Greatness 15th December, 2009

Posted by Scotty in Books.
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I just finished reading this surprisingly enjoyable book.  I say surprisingly enjoyable because it is not the kind of book I would usually read, and when it arrived in the mail I wasn’t too thrilled to start it.  But once I dove in, I had a hard time putting it down.

Everyday Greatness is a compilation of interesting stories gathered from various issues of Reader’s Digest which are organized around key character traits that Covey feels make up everyday greatness: Contribution, Charity, Attention, Responsibility, Courage, Discipline, Intergrity, Humility, Gratitude, Vision, Innovation, Quality, Respect, Empathy, Unity, Adaptability, Magnanimity, Perseverance, Balance, Simplicity, and Renewal.  This of course is not “greatness” in the way so much of the world pursues it, but the kind of “greatness” that comes through selflessness.  It is a greatness not wrapped up in status, power, and wealth, but in love, selflessness and humility.

The book is well organized.  The traits are gathered in triplets under broader headings.  Each section begins with some words from the author defining the importance of each trait, and then very poignant and inspiring stories from the issues of Reader’s Digest serve as illustrations of these traits in the lives of ordinary everyday people.  At the end of each chapter are some closing remarks, questions to ponder, and a few pages of quotes to reflect on and apply.

The book challenges the reader not to simply go through live, but to be a catalyst of transition, living with purpose and inspiring others to live purposefully too.  It encourages us to be people who take the negative and neutral aspects of life, have a positive attitude towards them, and learn for the future.

The book is sensitive to non-faith oriented people, describing and illustrating these traits with very little mention of God.  That for me is it’s main weakness… for in all these inspirational stories I believe that it is He alone who is worthy of the glory, honor and respect.  And it is only through cooperation with His Spirit that we have the ability to become people of Everyday Greatness.

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