Summary of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book summary

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In this updated edition of the late Stephen R. Covey's bestseller, Sean Covey draws on 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. This classic – now in a new 30th anniversary edition with a foreword by Jim Collins – is a popular, trusted manual for self-improvement, although you still may find some prescriptions easier to agree with than to act upon.

About the Authors

Sean Covey is Executive Vice President of Global Solutions and Partnerships for FranklinCovey and a New York Times bestselling author. His books include The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever MakeThe 7 Habits of Happy KidsThe 4 Disciplines of Execution and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The late Stephen R. Covey was vice-chairman of FranklinCovey and founder of the Covey Leadership Center. His bestsellers include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.


You are what you habitually do, so adopt productive habits. You have the ability to improve your habits and your life.

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.”

Focus on developing character, not personality. 

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...

Comment on this summary

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    J. M. 3 months ago
    Still just as relevant from my first reading; developing win -win mindset !
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    S. P. 3 months ago
    Excellent guide to develop the skills and productive attitude. We have ability to improve our habits and life. The most important of all is "Developing character and not personality"
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    G. O. 4 months ago
    The 7 Habits of highly effective People is, My favorite manual reference on Personal Development and Character, to drive my personal effectiveness.

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