Stephen Covey, Author Of '7 Habits,' Dead At 79 | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Stephen Covey, Author Of '7 Habits,' Dead At 79

Stephen Covey, whose book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People became a seminal guide to leadership, died this morning.

In a statement, the family said Covey died due the "residual effects" of a biking accident he suffered in April. He was 79.

The Salt Lake Tribune gives us a bit of his biography:

"He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Utah, an MBA from Harvard University and a doctorate from Brigham Young University.

"Covey's management post at BYU led to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which launched a second career as management guru for companies and government agencies, among them Saturn, Ritz Carlton, Proctor & Gamble, Sears Roebuck and Co., NASA, Black & Decker, Public Broadcasting Service, Amway, American Cancer Society and the Internal Revenue Service.

Covey's book is perhaps best summarized by a 1994 profile from Fortune Magazine. Covey, the magazine reports, believed that humans could do their best by achieving a moral transformation.

"What Covey teaches is this: To do well you must do good, and to do good you must first be good," Fortune reported. "'We believe that organizational behavior is individual behavior collectivized,' Covey says. 'We want to take this to the whole world.'"

During one presentation in 1994, Covey got that message across by quoting French Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience," Covey said.

According to the AP, after Seven Habits, Covey went on to write three other books that each sold more than a million copies.

Today, Forbes remembers him as a man whose book "brought a new language to business."

And while the magazine accepts that many of his words — "seek first to understand, then to be understood;" "think win-win" — have become cliche, they "still aren't commonly used in practice."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


Advice For Trevor Noah From The 'Jon Stewart Of South Africa'

The Daily Show isn't the only fake news show around. South Africa has Late Nite News, starring comedian Loyiso Gola. We asked him how he feels about Noah's new job — and what advice he has to offer.

The Revival Of Lamb Ham: A Colonial Tradition Renewed

British colonialists brought lamb ham to America, where a sugar-cured, smoked variety became popular. Easier-to-cure pork ham eventually took its place, but now two Virginians are bringing it back.
WAMU 88.5

Legal Cloud Lifts For Controversial Alexandria Waterfront Plan

Thanks to a recent ruling of the Virginia Supreme Court in Richmond, developers now have a green light to start demolishing a series of old abandoned warehouses and building structures in Alexandria that are much larger than what's there now.

If Drones Make You Nervous, Think Of Them As Flying Donkeys

In Africa, where there aren't always roads from Point A to Point B, drones could take critical medicines to remote spots. But the airborne vehicles make people uneasy for lots of reasons.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.