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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

4.2 158
by Stephen R. Covey

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is recognized as one of the most influential audiobooks ever recorded. In this seminal work, Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is recognized as one of the most influential audiobooks ever recorded. In this seminal work, Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty and human dignity—principles that give us the security to adapt to change, and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates. The 7 Habits have become so famous because they work. From Habit 1: Be Proactive and Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind, millions of people have worked their way through the 7 and found in them a key to transforming their lives. Translated into thirty-four languages The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been the key to the success of legions of business leaders and individuals the world over.

Editorial Reviews

Despite having sold many millions of copies, Stephen Covey's groundbreaking book remains as fresh, helpful, and important as when it was first published. Such longevity is a testament to the quality of the insights that Covey offers: Eschewing easy fixes and simple-minded formulas, his writings offers a comprehensive and highly detailed program for invigorating your career as well as other aspects of life. You won't be able to breeze through this book (the writing is sometimes complex and involved), and you won't be able to apply Covey's ideas half-heartedly (the vision outlined requires serious effort to realize), but if you're willing to do the work, you'll reap the enormous benefits that many other readers have discovered and put into action.
From the Publisher
The late Skip LeFauve President, Saturn Corporation/General Motors Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People played a major role in the development of Saturn's operating systems and philosophy. Our commitment to quality and to our customers has its roots in The 7 Habits.

Ken M. Radziwanowski AT&T School of Business Picture someone going through the best experience they've ever had in terms of training -- that's what they say. People credit the 7 Habits with changing their lives, with getting back on track personally and professionally.

Daniel Pink
“Every so often a book comes along that not only alters the lives of readers but leaves an imprint on the culture itself. The 7 Habits is one of those books.”
author of On Becoming a Leader and Still Surprised - Warren Bennis
“Covey’s masterpiece, if it hasn’t changed the world, has influenced millions of readers who can and will make our planet more peaceful and prosperous and prepared and purposeful.”
Maya Angelou
“Happily, this book has advised and encouraged us for 25 years. Now, I encourage us to be loyal and supportive for another 25 years.”
New York times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. - Tony Hsieh
The 7 Habits encompasses timeless principles that can help guide any company toward success.”
Meg Whitman
The 7 Habits has guided many of us on our journey through the world of business. Simple but incredibly effective. A great guide for any aspiring leader!”
Jim Collins
“No person lasts forever, but books and ideas can endure. Stephen R. Covey’s life is done, but his work is not. It continues, right here in this book as alive today as when first written.”
Arianna Huffington
“Twenty-five years after it first appeared, the wisdom of The 7 Habits is more relevant than ever. On an individual level, people are burning out, and on a collective level we are burning up the planet. So Dr. Covey’s emphasis on self-renewal and his understanding that leadership and creativity require us to tap into our own physical, mental, and spiritual resources are exactly what we need now.”
author of Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within - Anthony Robbins
“Fundamentals are the key to success. Stephen Covey is a master of them. Buy his book, but most important, use it!”
Indra Nooyi
“As the seminal work of Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has influenced millions around the world to be their best selves at work and at home. It stands the test of time as one of the most important books of our time.”
author of The Key is Love: My Mother's Wisdom, A Daughter's Gratitude - Marie Osmond
“With all the responsibilities and demands of time, travel, work, and families placed upon us in today’s competitive world, it’s a pig plus to have Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to refer to.”
Library Journal
While Covey's book is perhaps not as explicitly spiritual as some self-help titles, his emphasis on character and values reveals his Church of Latter-day Saints background very powerfully; interested readers may want to go on to his 8th Habit or The Leader in Me.

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Brilliance Audio
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Read an Excerpt

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

...When a boss becomes the first assistant to each of his subordinates, he can greatly increase his span of control. Entire levels of administration and overhead can be eliminated. Instead of supervising six or eight, such a manager can supervise twenty, thirty, fifty, or more.

In Win/Win performance agreements, consequences become the natural or logical result of performance rather than a reward or punishment arbitrarily handed out by the person in charge.

There are basically four kinds of consequences (rewards and penalties) that management or parents can control-financial, psychic, opportunity, and responsibility. Financial consequences include such things as income, stock options, allowances, or penalties. Psychic or psychological consequences include recognition, approval, respect, credibility, or the loss of them. Unless people are in a survival mode, psychic compensation is often more motivating than financial compensation. Opportunity includes training, development, perks, and other benefits. Responsibility has to do with scope and authority, either of which can be enlarged or diminished. Win/Win agreements specify consequences in one or more of those areas and the people involved know it up front. So you don't play games. Everything is clear from the beginning.

In addition to these logical, personal consequences, it is also important to clearly identify what the natural organizational consequences are. For example, what will happen if I'm late to work, if I refuse to cooperate with others, if I don't develop good Win/Win performance agreements with my subordinates, if I don't hold them accountable for desired results, or if I don't promote their professional growth and career development?

When my daughter turned 16, we set up a Win/Win agreement regarding use of the family car. We agreed that she would obey the laws of the land and that she would keep the car clean and properly maintained. We agreed that she would use the car only for responsible purposes and would serve as a cab driver for her mother and me within reason. And we also agreed that she would do all her other jobs cheerfully without being reminded. These were our wins.

We also agreed that I would provide some resources-the car, gas, and insurance. And we agreed that she would meet weekly with me, usually on Sunday afternoon, to evaluate how she was doing based on our agreement. The consequences were clear. As long as she kept her part of the agreement, she could use the car. If she didn't keep it, she would lose the privilege until she decided to.

This Win/Win agreement set up clear expectations from the beginning on both our parts. It was a win for her-she got to use the car-and it was certainly a win for Sandra and me. Now she could handle her own transportation needs and even some of ours' We didn't have to worry about maintaining the car or keeping it clean. And we had a built-in accountability, which meant I didn't have to hover over her or manage her methods. Her integrity, her conscience, her power of discernment and our high Emotional Bank Account managed her infinitely better. We didn't have to get emotionally strung out, trying to supervise her every move and coming up with punishments or rewards on the spot if she didn't do things the way we thought she should. We had a Win/Win agreement, and it liberated us all.

Win/Win agreements are tremendously liberating. But as the product of isolated techniques, they won't hold up. Even if you set them up in the beginning, there is no way to maintain them without personal integrity and a relationship of trust.

A true Win/Win agreement is the product of the paradigm, the character, and the relationships out of which it grows. In that context, it defines and directs the interdependent interaction for which it was created.


Win/Win can only survive in an organization when the systems support it. If you talk Win/Win but reward Win/Lose, you've got a losing program on your hands.

You basically get what you reward. If you want to achieve the goals and reflect the values in your mission statement, then you need to align the reward system with these goals and values. If it isn't aligned systemically, you won't be walking your talk. You'll be in the situation of the manager I mentioned earlier who talked cooperation but practiced competition by creating a "Race to Bermuda" contest.

I worked for several years with a very large real estate organization in the Middle West. My first experience with this organization was at a large sales rally where over 800 sales associates gathered for the annual reward program. It was a psych-up cheerleading session, complete with high school bands and a great deal of frenzied screaming.

Out of the 800 people there, around forty received awards for top performance, such as "Most Sales," "Greatest Volume," "Highest Earned Commissions," and "Most Listings." There was a lot of hoopla-excitement, cheering, applause-around the presentation of these awards. There was no doubt that those forty people had won; but there was also the underlying awareness that 760 people had lost.

We immediately began educational and organizational development work to align the systems and structures of the organization toward the Win/Win paradigm. We involved people at a grass roots level to develop the kinds of systems that would motivate them. We also encouraged them to cooperate and synergize with each other so that as many as possible could achieve the desired results of their individually tailored performance agreements.

At the next rally one year later, there were over 1,000 sales associates present, and about 800 of them received awards. There were a few individual winners based on comparisons, but the program primarily focused on people achieving self-selected performance objectives and on groups achieving team objectives. There was no need to bring in the high school bands to artificially contrive the fanfare, the cheerleading, and the psych up. There was tremendous natural interest and excitement because people could share in each other's happiness, and teams of sales associates could experience rewards together, including a vacation trip for the entire office.

The remarkable thing was that almost all of the 800 who received the awards that year had produced as much per person in terms of volume and profit as the previous year's forty. The spirit of Win/Win had significantly increased the number of golden eggs and had fed the goose as well, releasing enormous human energy and talent. The resulting synergy was astounding to almost everyone involved....

Meet the Author

Dr. Stephen R. Covey is an internationally respected leadership authority, teacher, author, organizational consultant, and co-founder and vice chairman of Franklin Covey Co. He is author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which Chief Executive magazine has called the most influential business book of the last 100 years. The book has sold nearly 20 million copies, and after 20 years, still holds a place on most best-seller lists. Dr. Covey earned an MBA from Harvard and a doctorate from BYU, where he was a professor of organizational behavior. For more than 40 years, he has taught millions of people — including leaders of nations and corporations — the transforming power of the principles that govern individual and organizational effectiveness. He and his wife live in the Rocky Mountains of Utah.

Brief Biography

Provo, Utah
Date of Birth:
October 24, 1932
Date of Death:
July 16, 2012
Place of Birth:
Salt Lake City, Utah
Place of Death:
Idaho Falls, ID
B.S., University of Utah, 1950; M.B.A., Harvard University, 1957; Ph.D., Brigham Young University, 1976

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The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 158 reviews.
Jimz007 More than 1 year ago
I came across this book after seeing an endorsement from Covey on another great book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0. I loved it. Covey taps into some fundamental aspects of human nature and, despite being 20 years old, the ideas are fresh and compelling. Covey offers easy fixes and straightforward formulas backed by an incredibly detailed program for boosting your career and efficacy. It's dense and Covey is long-winded, but the wisdom provided is worth the effort. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the habits, with the first half of the book focused on moving from dependence to independence (i.e. self mastery) and the last half focused on interdependence (working with others): * Habit 1: Be Proactive Take initiative in life by realizing your decisions (and how they align with life's principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Taking responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow. * Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envisioning the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life. * Habit 3: Put First Things First Planning, prioritizing, and executing your week's tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluating if your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you towards goals, and enrich the roles and relationships elaborated in Habit 2. * Habit 4: Think Win-Win Genuinely striving for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Valuing and respecting 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. * Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood Using empathetic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening, take an open mind to being influenced by you, which creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving. * Habit 6: Synergize Combining the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. How to yield the most prolific performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership. * Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw The balancing and renewal of your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable long-term effective lifestyle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For a personal change book, I found it rather a hard read. The book to me is, well, complicated. The seven habits make sense and all, but the whole process seems to involve making layers of change, with each layer being a whole book in itself. Not a very quick read, and I'm not saying its not worthwhile and all, it's more a book that you have to be willing to work with. Readers who like less sophisticated personal change books might enjoy The Sixty-Second Motivator.
Luvbooksthatmakeyoubetter More than 1 year ago
One EVERYONE should read. Preferrably as soon as their old enough to comprehend it--teenager possibly. Helps you evaluate your goals & priorities in life and determine what kind of person you want to be and how to be successful. Excellent!!! I'm now reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Steven Covey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good info to know and learn from.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
  I found The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people to be not only incredible, but inspiring, too.  It focused on how to better yourself, in your own personal views, and in working with others.  The chapters are set up so that there is a chapter for each habit.  The first half of the habits focus on independence, and how to be your own person.  They tell you how to shift your views, and how to focus on goals and ideas.  The second half is centered around working better with others.  It talks about how to synergize with others, and promote cooperation.  The ideas are then nicely tied together at the end of the book.  I suggest this book for all people young adult, and older.  It is a difficult read, and seems to focus more on that age group, making it not the best for younger reader.  I enjoyed the book, but it seems that most people of my age group would not.  However if it is something you enjoy, I think it is very important think to have read at some point in your life.  As I said earlier the book is a bit difficult to read, but nothing above high school level.  It is written very well, and is very true in it's meaning.  The 7 Habits of Highly effective people is an amazing book that everyone should read, so they can better their personal and work lives.           -GWG
headhurts More than 1 year ago
Very good info. Wish I had purchased this book when it was first published.
Brett-Vanderwater More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read to keep on track and effectively work through professional and personal challenges. Brett Vanderwater, MBA, CIA, CMA, CTP
RI_Pete More than 1 year ago
This book offers a way of thinking and acting without taking a political or religious stance. It is well researched and the author gives excellent examples from his own life. A great gift for graduates but read it yourself first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not that I'm an expert on the subject, but I'm guessing that this isn't your typical success book. In many ways it's a general purpose psychology book, dealing with such things as motivation, organizational skills, and how to deal with stress. It's chock full of seemingly unique information, and interesting quotes and tidbits. For example, it states 'Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success. Leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.' The book isn't boring or repetitive, and is written in a pleasing, conversational manner. Everyone should give this a read, not just those interested in business success.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed with the book. The author starts to provide an example of what he is talking about, but never completes the outcome - it leaves you guessing. There are easier reads, which I have listed that can supply you with the same information. For example, Covey states that he wants principles not based on the Bible, but it seems that the principles are restated Biblical principles. Begin with the end in mind. In Biblical language we would say 'Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24.) Or sharpening the blade - Biblically it would be examine thyself or study to show thyself approved. Unfortunately, there is nothing new under the sun and if there was the 7 Habits would not be it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have had trouble trying to agree with many authors that seem to believe that their views will solve all the world's problems. They try to fit everyone into categories and say what should be done within each group. Covey, on the other hand, gave some real virtues that will help anyone to better themselves and their relationships with others. I loved the reading as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JoshW45 More than 1 year ago
This book will change your life. I've read it several times. Every few years I read it again to make sure I continue to adhere to the habits. Everyone needs to read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At hs res 2. Add on. Nicknames- Samanthera. Sam. That' s it.
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At nightclub res 2
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Bios at hs res 2
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At "hs" res two
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please move!
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