The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Book Cover
AuthorStephen R. Covey
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SubjectSelf-help
Genrenon-fiction
PublisherFree Press
Publication date
1989
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages380
ISBN0-7432-6951-9
OCLC56413718
158 22
LC ClassBF637.S8 C68 2004
Followed byThe 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
 
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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Book Cover
AuthorStephen R. Covey
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SubjectSelf-help
Genrenon-fiction
PublisherFree Press
Publication date
1989
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages380
ISBN0-7432-6951-9
OCLC56413718
158 22
LC ClassBF637.S8 C68 2004
Followed byThe 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a business and self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey.[1] Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls "true north" principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.


The Seven Habits[edit]

The book first introduces the concept of paradigm shift and helps the reader understand that different perspectives exists, i.e. that two people can see the same thing and yet differ with each other. On this premise, it introduces the seven habits in a proper order.

Each chapter is dedicated to one of the habits, which are represented by the following imperatives:

Independence[edit]

The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e., self-mastery):

1 - Be Proactive
Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life's principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.
2 - Begin with the End in Mind
Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.
3 - Put First Things First
A manager must manage his own person. Personally. And managers should implement activities that aim to reach the second habit. Covey says that rule two is the mental creation; rule three is the physical creation.

Interdependence[edit]

The next three habits talk about Interdependence (e.g. working with others):

4 - Think Win-Win
Genuine feelings for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.
5 - Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.
6 - Synergize
Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals that no one could have done alone.

Continuous Improvements[edit]

The final habit is that of continuous improvement in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence.

7 - Sharpen the Saw
Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.


Covey explains the "Upward Spiral" model in the sharpening the saw section. Through our conscience, along with meaningful and consistent progress, the spiral will result in growth, change, and constant improvement. In essence, one is always attempting to integrate and master the principles outlined in The 7 Habits at progressively higher levels at each iteration. Subsequent development on any habit will render a different experience and you will learn the principles with a deeper understanding. The Upward Spiral model consists of three parts: learn, commit, do. According to Covey, one must be increasingly educating the conscience in order to grow and develop on the upward spiral. The idea of renewal by education will propel one along the path of personal freedom, security, wisdom, and power.[2]

Sean Covey (Stephen's son) has written a version of the book for teens, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. This version simplifies the 7 Habits for younger readers so they can better understand them. In September 2006, Sean Covey also published The 6 Most Important Decisions You Will Ever Make: A Guide for Teens. This guide highlights key times in the life of a teen and gives advice on how to deal with them.

Reception[edit]

It has sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages worldwide, and the audio version has sold 1.5 million copies, and remains one of the best selling nonfiction business books. In August 2011 Time listed Seven Habits as one of "The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books".[3]

U.S. President Bill Clinton invited Covey to Camp David to counsel him on how to integrate the book into his presidency.[4]

Abundance mentality[edit]

Covey coined the idea of abundance mentality or abundance mindset, a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others. He contrasts it with the scarcity mindset (i.e., destructive and unnecessary competition), which is founded on the idea that, if someone else wins or is successful in a situation, that means you lose; not considering the possibility of all parties winning (in some way or another) in a given situation (see zero-sum game). Individuals with an abundance mentality reject the notion of zero-sum games and are able to celebrate the success of others rather than feel threatened by it.[5]

Since this book's publishing, a number of books appearing in the business press have discussed the idea.[6] Covey contends that the abundance mentality arises from having a high self-worth and security (see Habits 1, 2, and 3), and leads to the sharing of profits, recognition and responsibility.[7] Organizations may also apply an abundance mentality when doing business.[8]

Since this book was published in 1989, at the outset of pan-globalization, it has been suggested[by whom?] to review the Habits from an eastern perspective including more focus on context and interdependence[citation needed] .

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" author, Stephen Covey, dies". 
  2. ^ Covey, S. R. (1989). Organizing change:Upward Spiral. Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-6951-9. 
  3. ^ Gandel, Stephen (August 9, 2011). "The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People (1989), by Stephen R. Covey in The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books". Time. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  4. ^ Harper, Lena M. (Summer 2012). "The Highly Effective Person". Marriott Alumni Magazine (Brigham Young University). Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  5. ^ English, L (2004). "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Information Professionals, Part 7" (pdf). DM Review. September/October '04: 60–61. 
  6. ^ See for instance the chapter in Carolyn Simpson's High Performance through Negotiation.
  7. ^ Covey, S (2004). The Power of Character. Unlimited Publishing. p. 103. ISBN 1-58832-106-1. 
  8. ^ Krayer, Karl J.; Lee, William Thomas (2003). Organizing change: an inclusive, systemic approach to maintain productivity and achieve results. San Diego: Pfeiffer. p. 238. ISBN 0-7879-6443-3. 

External links[edit]