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Force of Habit

Here's one leadership rut you don't want to get out of.

Fifteen years and 15 million copies after The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey reveals the next phase of his program in The 8th Habit (Free Press, $26). The eighth habit is to "Find Your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs." Because this book deals with leadership, it will appeal to entrepreneurs.

Business leaders will find a particularly relevant chapter on aligning organizational goals and systems to produce results. Covey's approach to this and other such leadership challenges is to advise executives to model the desired behavior rather than simply telling others how to behave. This is not a manual for manipulators. It's a guidebook for those who dream of leading by example.

Covey makes many striking claims. He tells readers how much water to drink--six to 10 glasses a day. He asserts that a large bank's performance improved because the married CEO ended an affair with an employee. But nowhere in the book, or in a selection of short films on an included DVD, does he entertain the notion that the eighth habit may not be for everybody. Whether that's an oversight or a true lack of humility, there's little question that following The 8th Habit would make many, or even most, entrepreneurs better leaders.

Culture Club

America has always been a mélange of cultures. Today, some 80 million Asians, blacks and Hispanics, plus millions more recent immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, are affecting everything from mass production to mass media. In The New Mainstream (HarperCollins, $24.95), journalist Guy Garcia describes what that means for business, why diversity is key to boosting businesses' bottom lines, why studying the history and identity of various nationalities is critical to understanding consumers, and more.


Mark Henricks is Entrepreneur's "Smart Moves" columnist.

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This article was originally published in the February 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Force of Habit.

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This Is the Most Important Habit for Business Success

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