The library finally called; it had been returned, and my name was next on the list.
I found Allen a bit shallower than Covey. I had several pages of notes after reading Covey (then I got wise and bought the book), but I suspect I’ll only have a page or two from Allen. Covey is on my shelf; Allen will stay at the library.
Allen’s system is good “where the rubber meets the road”. His methods help you define your choices at any given moment, but he doesn’t get into the big picture. He says it’s important, but it’s not the focus of the book. He also says that too much emphasis on the big picture, at the expense of the rubber/road level, leads to not actually getting things done (including the big things you’ve said are important). He also claims that the big picture values and goals and roles tend to add things to an already over-full list, whereas if you can get things moving in general, the big things will work their way into projects.
The authors complement each other. Allen even quotes Covey, in one if the final chapters. The quote he chose isn’t one that I feel represents Covey’s system as a whole, but it’s one I can hear him say.
So, if you want a road map for your life, read Covey. If you want to get through the town, read Allen. If you want to get to the right place in the long run, read both.