The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen R. Covey


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762408337
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date: 09/28/2000
Series: Miniature Editions Series
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 14,052
Product dimensions: 2.87(w) x 3.37(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Stephen R. Covey


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

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....

Table of Contents

The Seven Habits -- An Overview


Habit 1 Be Proactive
Principles of Personal Vision
Habit 2 Begin with the End in Mind
Principles of Personal Leadership
Habit 3 Put First Things First
Principles of Personal Management


Paradigms of Interdependence

Habit 4 Think Win/Win
Principles of Interpersonal Leadership
Habit 5 Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Principles of Empathic Communication
Habit 6 Synergize
Principles of Creative Cooperation

Part Four: RENEWAL

Habit 7 Sharpen the Saw
Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal

Inside-Out Again

Appendix A: Possible Perceptions Flowing out of Various Centers

Appendix B: A Quadrant II Day at the Office

Problem/Opportunity Index


What People are Saying About This

Skip LeFauve

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.

John Pepper

I've never known any teacher or mentor on improving personal effectiveness to generate such an overwhelmingly positive reaction....This book captures beautifully Stephen's philosophy of principles. I think anyone reading it will quickly understand the enormous reaction I and others have had to Dr. Covey's teachings.

Warren Bennis

Stephen Covey has written a remarkable book about the human condition, so elegantly written, so understanding of our embedded concerns, so useful for our organizational and personal lives, that it's going to be my gift to everyone I know.

Ken M. Radziwanowski

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.

Customer Reviews

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Irresistible Minature Edition Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
kdash More than 1 year ago
I wanted a audio book that would motivate and encourage me and this did just that! I would recommend it to any person who either needs a kickstart or a boost!
AlexTheHunn on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is a highly effective book for getting your life turned around and on a path toward professional and personal success. This is certainly no a cure-all; no promised panacea here. You have to make a sincere and sustained effort. You have to apply what Covey teaches. But even failed attempts, even imperfect applications should result in improvement.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Intriguing read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read. Forces you to question your position in life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gave me some great insight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All the pages of the Fireside Edition has turned yellow, as it was printed on low quality paper, while the Barnes and Noble receipt, from 9/30/1994 remains pearly white. The book is base upon religion, which is finally mentioned, in the last page of the last chapter, quite deceptive, from someone advocating living a Principle-Centered paradigm. Bought this book, from a Barnes and Noble Book store, eon ago, and left it unread, until a recent de-cluttering initiiative. Better late than never.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
                    GREAT: I enjoyed the book.I believe it is very important think to have read at the some point in my life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book contains a few useful recommendations. The only problem is that if you’re not naturally inclined to behave the way “highly effective people” do, it’s going to be really difficult to use the author’s advice. There’s one book that’s been recently published, Secret Techniques for Controlling Sadness, Anger, Fear, Anxiety, and Other Emotions by Vlad Koros, and it teaches how to adjust any character traits that don’t let you behave the way you want or need. In my opinion, these two book work very well together, if you’re serious about changing your habits for better.
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AggieFencer More than 1 year ago
If you regularly already read these types of self-improvement books and have had leadership experience, this isn't going to profoundly change your life. It will most likely just reaffirm your current habits and serve as a reminder. Still, I enjoyed listening to his CDs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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m_hall-1 More than 1 year ago
Great for growth as an educational administrator
rohm More than 1 year ago
This is a must have for anyone in a leadership position. Easy to listen to in the car on your way to work. I would recommend the CD version for ease of understanding. I would also recommend this for people who are not in leadership positions as it will help you with your family, friends, and everyday life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great companion when reading the book
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a 21 yr old student.When i started reading this book , i thought that this book is only for those people who are married or in their professional life,in other words, for 'Well settled people'.But i was wrong ,this book is for all sorts of people irrespective of thier age ,caste country, religion etc.Thank you sir(Stephen R.Covey), for publishing this book,though i've not seen you or met you, but you'll remain my mentor, always
Guest More than 1 year ago
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by, Stephen R. R. Covey I read the book seven habits of highly effective people and this book has taught me the necessary principles of personality change & how to bring effectiveness in personal life & how to bring efficiency at work. It mainly revolves around transforming personality from Dependence to Independence and from Independence to Interdependence, which is the reality of Life. Stephen Covey very well describes it in this book through personal & real examples, and by practical examples to do for own satisfaction. Its wonderful.. Virtually every aspect of your life is determined by habits and this book clearly shows you how to acquire the habits that have made so many people successful. If you want to change your life, change your habits. I recommend the 7 Principles To Become Your Own Superhero and that I would be able to share this gift with my friends, family. 7 Habits¿ remarkably well however, it isn't the only book you should read if you seek to improve but it is important to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People By Stephen R. Covey In this book Dr. Covey advances a theory for solving personal and professional problems, through a structured process of what he terms ¿Habits¿ or steps. The author formats this ¿handbook¿ of sorts in four parts, developing in often redundant and tedious detail, a roadmap for conscious control over personal change to manage realty. The central premise is rather simple: approach or live life from the inside out. The author gives a great deal of space, through a maze of Blakian charts, to sensitizing oneself to negative responses to public (interdependent) and private (independent) stimuli toward an inward revelation (private victory). Some 340 pages later, he reveals that he discovered, while on vacation in Hawaii, that there is a ¿gap between stimulus and response¿ which we must observe, engage heightened awareness to, in order to rid ourselves of the ¿negative scripting¿ inculcated into our bones by our parents and all those nasty, negative ancestors. This reader found Dr. Covey¿s characterization of this all-important inner process (¿living from the inside out¿) to, in large parts, belie the theory by over rationalizing a process that is premised as natural. For example, Dr. Covey instructs that we must learn not to control our observations of daily stimuli, lest we respect the negative, scripted responses we have inherited, yet he encourages us to analyze the ¿space between the stimulus and response¿ in order to become personally victorious over change, realty, relationships, and, in short, life as we knew it. It¿s all so ¿holistic,¿ ¿integrated,¿ it¿s so beautiful and ultimately habitual. Permit me here, totally in keeping with the Covian spirit of alluding to great authors and thinkers of the 20th century, to capsulate my thoughts about this book with a quote from a leader who was certainly a ¿transition person¿ as phrased by Anwar Sadat. In reviewing the galleys for one volume of his book The History of the English Peoples, Sir Winston Churchill wrote back to the editor¿s instructive corrections of sentences ending with a preposition: ¿This is an errant pedantry up with which I will not put. ¿ Certainly, there must be some truth to the revelation that we control both our bad relationships and our good ones-whether with loved ones, others, or ourselves. So noted, Dr. Covey. I found the book interesting, unoriginal, far too much for such a simple and rather ancient process of the human condition, and overall too mechanical. The Covian ¿correct principles¿ and ¿natural laws¿ offer more philosophical and unnecessarily religious proof than the pudding for such a simple palate as mine. I prefer meat and potatoes, anyway. Simple girl.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a publishing phenomenon in the early 1990s, and it deserved to be. Stephen R. Covey managed to repackage an ethical and moral tradition thousands of years in development and make it meaningful to a late twentieth century, secular audience. Most of what you find in this book you will find in Aristotle, Cicero, Benedict, Tillotson and their heirs. Covey adds a few references to psychology, a twentieth century science, and many to Viktor Frankl, a sage of the Holocaust. Covey wraps the mix in a distinctively American can-do program of easy-looking steps calling, mostly, for self-discipline. The result is a quite worthwhile, useful manual for self-improvement. We believe most readers can learn something useful from this book, though some will find the style too familiar and easy-going, and the prescriptions easier to agree with than to act upon, much less adopt as habits.