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EnlargeGregory Bull/APStephen Covey speaks to students at the National Auditorium in Mexico City in September 2008. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. Covey died Monday. He was 79.
Stephen Covey, the management and self-help guru who wrote The7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has died. He was 79.
family said the writer and motivational speaker died at a hospital in
Idaho Falls, Idaho, early Monday from complications caused by a bicycle
accident in April.
Covey's 7 Habits, which was first published in 1989, was on The New York Times
best-seller list for more than five years. According to his longtime
publicist, Covey had examined the past two centuries of literature
surrounding success and turned those ideas into catchy notions,
ultimately a mega-hit and a publishing and consulting empire.
was a motivational speaker known for boiling down life practices that
lead to action in a way that made it easy for people to understand.
As a young man, Covey had planned to go into the
family business, but as he told a convocation of students at Montana
State University in 2008, his plans changed. The leader of a volunteer
organization he'd been working with asked him to train other leaders.
At first he demurred as he felt it was outside his comfort zone.
he said to me, 'I see you have the ability to do this. I will help you.
You don't have to be a great font of wisdom. You just bring people
together to get them to share best practices, and to learn to
collaborate, and to become creative with each other.'
"He helped me and I found my voice."
Covey's book begins by urging people to move from dependence to independence or self-mastery.
habits: be proactive, take initiative and accept the consequences;
begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think win-win; seek
first to understand, then to be understood; synergize; and sharpen the
saw, or a focus on self-rejuvenation.
impact has been enormous and has spanned not just the business world but
how to live your life," says Jennifer Chatman, a management expert at
the University of California, Berkeley. "His brilliance was in boiling
down some life practices that lead to action in a way that people could
get their arms around and digest."
None of it, Chatman says, was complex or very sophisticated. Many Fortune
100 companies embraced his methods; Covey became a management
consultant to a lot of them. Some still rely on Covey's seven basic
Covey's ideas have also been
embraced by more than 800 schools worldwide. The first was A.B. Combs
Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C. Following the Columbine shootings,
the school was looking for a way to improve its environment and
"Our children are making better
decisions [and] we're seeing a huge decline in discipline [problems],"
says Muriel Summers, the school's principal.
Summers says the school also saw an increase in test scores and more engaged families, since it also taught Covey's 7 Habits to the students' parents.
"It's pretty amazing what is happening," she says.
words would most likely be music to Covey's ears. He loved inspiring
and working with young children and had more than 50 grandchildren of
his own. His publicist said Monday that she thinks Covey would most want
to be remembered for being a good family man.