A stack of Stephen Covey's bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

So who was Stephen R Covey and what were his seven highly effective habits? Covey earned a living teaching at Brigham Young University in Utah before becoming an author who shaped the personal and business lives of millions.

Along with his wife, Sandra, Covey - a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - had nine children and more than 50 grandchildren. He studied at the University of Utah and Brigham Young before completing an MBA at Harvard.

The habits are:

1. Be proactive - in all parts of your life;

2. Begin with the end in mind - envision what you want to achieve with a clear goal;

3. Put first things first - manage yourself before others;

4. Think win-win - although win-win has become an almost meaningless piece of corporate jargon, Covey simply means develop solutions that are mutually beneficial;

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood, which means start a process by listening to the other person who should then listen to you;

6. Synergize - another word now firmly embedded in corporate jargon, Covey means combine the strengths of many through teamwork;

7. Sharpen the saw - this one veers toward a New Age way of living: he simply means stay healthy through a sustainable lifestyle.

In 2002, Forbes named The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of the top 10 most influential management books ever. Interestingly, the book actually covers very little about business, but has been adopted by business people because the principles are so easily transferrable to the corporate world.

7 Habits has been embraced and recommended by senior figures at Ritz Carlton, Proctor & Gamble, Sears, NASA, Black & Decker, FedEx, Hewlett-Packard, American Cancer Society and America’s Internal Revenue Service. It has been widely translated and is one of the bestselling non-fiction books of all time. A follow-up book, The 8th Habit, went onto become another bestseller.

"Few students of management and organization - and people - have thought as long and hard about first principles as Stephen Covey. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he offers us an opportunity, not a how-to guide. The opportunity is to explore ourselves and our impact on others and to do so by taking advantage of his profound insights. It is a wonderful book that could change your life." - Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

"Fundamentals are the key to success. Stephen Covey is a master of them. Buy his book, but most importantly, use it!" - Anthony Robbins, author of Unlimited Power

With all the responsibilities and demands of time, travel, work, and families placed upon us in today's competitive world, it's a big plus to have Stephen Covey's The Seven Habit of Highly Effective People to refer to." - Marie Osmond

"This book has the gift of being simple without being simplistic." - M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled


Would you say you are highly effective?