Follow “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to Win Big in Life and Business

“Every book is your mentor” is one of those quotes that changed my life and inspired me to become an entrepreneur. I heard it from James Altucher, one of my book mentors I’ve never actually met in person, author of self-published Amazon best-seller, Choose Yourself!

james altucher book quote

In fact, I have been mentored by some of the highest paid executives and most successful entrepreneurs in the world…. for free or as little as couple cents an hour (whatever the book was worth divided by the hours it took me to read it).

For example:

  • I learned how to network effectively from Keith Ferrazi when I read his best-selling book, Never Eat Alone;
  • I learned how to build passive income and optimize my life from Tim Ferris when I read his widely influential modern entrepreneurial handbook, The 4-Hour Work Week;
  • I learned about blogging and social media from non-other than Gary Vayrnchuck when I read two of his books, Crush It! and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.

The list goes on.

I haven’t fully appreciated the value of book mentors in my life until when I became a full-time bootstrap entrepreneur. Today, I follow a practice of reading about 1-2 hours a day (books I mean, not scanning headlines on the Internet). I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for the hundreds of book mentors I’ve had in my life.


photo credit: Paxson Woelber via photopin cc

I have shared the book titles that have made the biggest impact on my marketing career, personal growth, and starting a business on my blog, which have quickly became some of the most popular posts. has always been about mentorship, from free tips, e-books, Amazon books, training materials, and book recommendations to Q&As with growth hackers and famous entrepreneurs.

That said, I very excited to introduce you to our new Entrepreneur Book Club project, which is meant to connect entrepreneurs with book mentors who will change their lives. Picking the right titles may be tricky, so I’ve reached to a bunch of successful entrepreneurs in my network, who built or accomplished amazing things, and asked them one simple question:

What is the most influential business book in your life that inspired you like non other?

I am very excited to kick off the book club with Kathy Murray, a successful business executive, angel investor, and entrepreneur.


Kathy has been a true mentor to me. I’ve had a pleasure to work with her on numerous start-up and academic projects. She is currently Chair of Executive Forum Angels, President of Harvard Business School Women’s Association of NY, and Founder of McMorran Strategists, a growth consulting firm. Previously, Kathy held senior management positions at PwC, Aetna and FARO. Kathy writes on Linkedin about entrepreneurship and startups.

Following “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Makes a Difference

by Kathy Murray

You know people who watch cooking shows, but never cook?  Same with people who read business books, but never improve their leadership skills? Reading cookbooks and business books only matter if you integrate what you learn into your style…and if you, execute. Reading most business books for me involves reading the cover flaps and chapter headings…that is about all I need to get the point of the book and decide on whether I will integrate it into my style, or not.

There is one business book from which I have integrated a great deal into my life and business – Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  This may be because I met Dr. Covey before he wrote the book.  In fact, a small group of us at Aetna participated in a series of workshops with him in the mid-1980’s…early in my career.

What I liked about Dr. Covey and his writings are practicality.  The seven habits are based on “truths” from historical beliefs…put into actionable initiatives. At the end of each chapter are various exercises…exercises that can lead to actually making the principles into habits.

7 habits of highly successful people

7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the few books I re-read every few years and have shared the concepts with teams at work.  It is pretty all encompassing about how to work and live in a directed and organized manner – Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Prioritize, Win-Win, Listen with Empathy, Synergize and Sharpen the Saw.  How I see it has impacted and differentiated me includes:

  • Making decisions and always moving forward rather than living in regrets or blaming others.
  • Being in the moment in order to really listen to others…focus.
  • Organizing my days around “what is important but not urgent” so I do not get lost in the trivia of “not important and not urgent” or the crisis events of “important and urgent”.
  • Acting upon my belief that body, mind and spirit are equally important and need tending each day.
  • Asking always what is the desired ending…and working backwards whether it is for work projects, coaching others, strategic plans, or family events, etc.

It is a book about people so I like it…

Kathy Murray, McMorran Strategists, LLC,

Which book isnpired YOU most? Let us know in the comments sections.

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3 replies
  1. Ryan Biddulph
    Ryan Biddulph says:

    Hi Kathy and Matt,

    Think and Grow Rich is a class I revisit once in a while. Like “7 Habits”, it’s so darn practical. Practical tips rock. We need to digest and use success books quickly to believe in the fundamentals. I mean, we buy in of course, but if it’s tough to embrace and use tips we don’t read much more of the book.

    TAGR is just simple. Read it, follow the practical, easy to follow tips and you’re golden. You’ll see the results you desire by gobbling up the lessons and by using them immediately.

    Like you Matt I read 1-2 hours daily, here in Fiji. One thing I realized: reading a self-help book without practicing what it preaches offers you entertainment value only. No way can you grow if you read a book, then ignore the advice to move into action. Kathy, you’re spot on about the cookbook analogy.

    Read, digest, use, to become highly effective. I love taking what I know and putting it into practice immediately; hitting the ground running has helped me blog from paradise, and I’ve also met so many intriguing people by reading, and doing.

    Thanks Matt and Kathy.

    Tweeting soon.


    • Matthew Capala
      Matthew Capala says:

      Thanks for sharing Ryan, I have never read TAGR but it’s now on my ‘to-read’ list (currently reading Radical Honesty and the Power of No – new book by James Altucher).

      I loved how you summarized the value of reading TAGR, if you would like to expand a bit on your comment, shoot me an email and we’ll feature you here on and in our weekly ‘entrepreneur book club’ newsletter.

      Agree on the need for action, books offer great tools and motivational push, but it’s on YOU to act!

  2. Deborah Tutnauer
    Deborah Tutnauer says:

    7 Habits is a classic for me too. I read it many year ago and often pick it up still and read a chapter.

    Two books stand out for me – well probably 20(!) – but for the purpose of this comment I’ll share two.

    1. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. It’s long. It’s lovely. Imagine the feeling of Chicken Soup for the Soul folded into an in depth book covering everything from mindset, to nuts and bolts, to action steps related to becoming successful.

    2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This book will shake you to your core and Inspire you in a way second to none. I can’t say anymore or I’ll give away to much. Read It!

    Looking forward to the next book that is shared Matthew.



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