Book Review #6 – 12 in 12 | The Cicccarellis

April & May found us reading Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, books #8 & #9 in our 12-in-12 book challenge.

(Catch up with our other reviews by clicking the links: 1st2nd3rd4th or 5th)

Scroll down to watch our live review via Vimeo or read our review instead just below the video.

*ALERT: Please ignore my (Marissa) stuffy nose and mispronunciation of the word “empathetic” due to being high off of allergy medication.

Book #8: Strengths Finder 2.0

If you’re like us and find taking tests about your personality (such as Myers-Briggs) interesting than this is a good book for you! The book itself is really short, you could probably read the intro in one day. Then take the test and read about your particular strengths in the 2nd half of the book (again one day to read). The trick is using those strengths and realizing your potential in certain areas. If you have a partner, in life or business, it’s interesting to read together and talk about what jobs or areas in life you should do based on your strengths and vice versa.

Take-Aways we use NOW:

1. Strengths – This book will give you tons of examples related to your particular strengths including what it looks like, what actions to take to utilize your strengths, and how to work with others who have that particular strength. We won’t go into specifics because the book is really specific to your individual strengths, but we now understand why we have certain tendencies to do (and Not do) certain activities and it helped us understand ourselves and each other on a deeper level…especially since we work together!


Book #9: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This is truly an amazing book. We have talked to so many people who have read it and love it and we completely agree! This is really a book about being a better person (you can use it in any aspect of life: family, work, relationships, etc.) Definitely a must read and one we will come back to again!

Take-Aways we use NOW:

1. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – We cannot begin to explain how life changing and important that one statement is. It’s all about listening, but it goes deeper than just listening to others. In many of our other books there has been a great emphasis on empathetic listening and active listening, but none have made it as clear as this book. It seems that many of the problems we face today are communication errors and if we really listen to others before trying to slam our opinion or our side down their throat we could have an amazing society of caring citizens. Even how we respond after listening is important because it can encourage or discourage the other person to keep sharing with us. Our natural responses to others are: evaluative, probing, advising, interpreting. Many people aren’t wanting to be probed or advised when they’re trying to tell you something important, they just want you to listen! Waiting until someone asks for your advice or interpretation of a situation will make your speaker really feel heard rather than interrupted. Our goal is to rephrase or reflect others’ feelings so that they feel heard.

2. Win/Win – This concept blew our minds. You’ve heard it before, it’s super simple, but to really read an entire section on how to achieve win/win situations is enlightening. Covey explains that there are many types of people and situations who are either win/lose, lose/lose, or win/win. It makes so much sense that to make everyone happy in a decision, deal or really any situation it needs to be win/win. The goal is to always get to a win/win through negotiation and open communication or there should be no deal. When we’re making decisions at home about what to do, where to go eat, or the next step for our business we are always trying to find a win/win. Marissa might not want to go play basketball and Erik doesn’t want to go to the farmer’s market, but together we can decide to go for a walk and feel like it’s a win/win because we’re both happy even if it wasn’t what we originally wanted to do. One person sacrificing for the other isn’t a win/win either, it’s a win/lose. After awhile those win/lose situations will add up and someone won’t be happy. Simple, yes…used enough in the world, definitely not. Surround yourself with people who want to work for win/wins!


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People crept to the top portion of our list, an incredible read for some self reflection and finding ways to make changes in yourself! Happy reading.
~Erik & Marissa
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