While Dale Carnegie may have been the God Father of the motivational book, Steven Covey was certainly this generation’s leading prophet, and one of the most influential writers in the genre. I can’t count the number of times that I have listened to “motivational” speakers and realize that they are simply regurgitating Covey’s concepts.
The great thing about Covey was his ability to take ideas and apply stories and thought pictures to help his audience understand how the idea is implemented into daily life. His seminal book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, detailed a process with which to improve one’s business, attitude, and life in general. It was named the #1 most influential business book of the twentieth century.
Covey’s 7 habits of Highly Effective People are:
1. Be Proactive
2. Start with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think Win-Win
5. Seek first the understand, then to be understood
7. Sharpen the saw
These habits have been often mistakenly referred to as “Success Habits”. Covey was very careful to establish that these habits are meant for living a life that has an effective impact, not necessarily one that is traditionally measured as successful. Roles models that Covey felt reflected an effective life were people like Mother Theresa and Gandhi. Canadian heroes that embody his principles would include the likes of Terry Fox or Rick Hansen.
The principles that Covey outlined in his books were not original, but the way that he compiled examples and process was. He introduced scores of readers to people whose writings helped to shape his principles of life. People like Viktor Frankl were Covey favorites because they provided key insights based on overcoming dramatic trials in real life.
Steven Covey’s website outlined his bio this way…
Recognized as one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Americans, Stephen R. Covey has dedicated his life to demonstrating how every person can truly control their destiny with profound, yet straightforward guidance. As an internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organizational consultant, and author, his advice has given insight to millions.
Some of Stephen R. Covey's milestones:
- Over 20 million books sold (in 38 languages)
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century
- Authored four titles with sales exceeding one million copies each: First Things First , Principle-Centered Leadership, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Latest book, The 8th Habit , has sold nearly 400,000 copies
- International Man of Peace Award
- National Fatherhood Award (father of 9, grandfather of 44)
- Author of the best-selling nonfiction audio in history (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
- No. 1 best-selling hardcover book on family (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families)
- MBA from Harvard, doctorate degree from Brigham Young University
- Board of directors for the Points of Light Foundations
- Co-founder and vice chairman of FranklinCovey, the leading global professional services firm with offices in 123 countries
- International Entrepreneur of the Year Award
- Awarded eight honorary doctorate degrees
In my career as a Broker, Steven Covey has been a compass to help steer decisions in the right direction, and navigate through difficult interactions. I haven’t always been diligent enough to follow his advice or to prioritize my life in the way that he advised in his time management books, but at least knowing what needs to be done takes one part of the way there.
Steven Covey may now be gone in the sense of the material world, but his writings and insights will remain. His works will continue to be my recommendation to anyone looking to better their life.