The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Free Press, 2004
First Edition: 1989




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Stephen R. Covey repackages ancient wisdom, modern psychology and 20th century science and wraps the mix in a distinctively American can-do program of easy-looking steps calling mostly for self-discipline. The result is a worthwhile manual for self-improvement – although some readers may find the prescriptions easier to agree with than to act upon.


Seven Habits

The seven habits of highly effective people are:

  1. They take initiative. “Be proactive.”
  2. They focus on goals. “Begin with the end in mind.”
  3. They set priorities. “Put first things first.”
  4. They only win when others win. “Think win/win.”
  5. They communicate. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
  6. They cooperate. “Synergize.”
  7. They reflect on and repair their deficiencies. “Sharpen the saw.”

Much of the business success literature of recent decades focused on developing a good personality. This emphasis is misplaced. Developing a sound character is more important and more productive. Your personality can emerge naturally when your character is rooted in and formed by positive principles. Forcing yourself to display a personality that is inconsistent with your character is like wearing a mask. It is deceptive, manipulative and ultimately destructive.

To develop a sound character, you need a sound paradigm, a solid new way of seeing things. Before the theory of germs established a new paradigm, for example, surgeons didn’t wash their hands. When patients died of infections, no ...

About the Author

The late Stephen R. Covey was vice-chairman of Franklin Covey Co., and taught Principle-Centered Living and Principle-Centered Leadership. Covey founded the Covey Leadership Center. He wrote several bestsellers, including  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which has become a business classic.  

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    S. W. 1 year ago
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    C. M. 3 years ago
    Focus can be obtained by writing a personal mission statement to clarify your principles and set your goals
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    N. K. 6 years ago
    Simple habits to learn and put in practise.