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7 habits of highly effective people

  • Sharpen the saw. Don’t work yourself to death. …
  • Be proactive. …
  • Begin with an end in mind. …
  • Put first things first. …
  • Think win-win. …
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood. …
  • Synergize.

7 habits of highly effective people pdf download

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Stephen Covey has written a remarkable book about the human condition, so elegantly
written, so understanding of our embedded concerns, so useful for our organization and
personal lives, that it’s going to be my gift to everyone I know.
— Warren Bennis, author of On Becoming a Leader
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.
— John Pepper, President, Procter and Gamble
Stephen Covey is an American Socrates, opening your mind to the ‘permanent things’ —
values, family, relationships, communicating.
— Brian Tracy, author of Psychology of Achievement
Stephen R. Covey’s book teaches with power, conviction, and feeling. Both the content
and the methodology of these principles form a solid foundation for effective
communication. As an educator, I think this book to be a significant addition to my
library.
— William Rolfe Kerr, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education
Few students of management and organization — and people — have thought as long and
hard about first principles as Stephen Covey. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective
People, he offers us an opportunity, not a how-to guide. The opportunity is to explore our
impact and ourselves on others, and to do so by taking advantage of his profound
insights. It is a wonderful book that could change your life.
— Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence
The ethical basis for human relations in this book defines a way of life, not just a
methodology for succeeding at business. That it works is apparent.
— Bruce L. Christensen, President, Public Broadcasting Service
At a time when American organizations desperately need to energize people and
produce leaders at all levels, Covey provides an empowering philosophy for life that is
also the best guarantee of success in business…a perfect blend of wisdom, compassion,
and practical experience.
— Rosabeth Moss Kanter, editor of the Harvard Business Review and author of When
Giants Learn to Dance
I have learned so much from Stephen Covey over the years that every time I sit down to
write, I’m worried about subconscious plagiarism! Seven Habits is not pop psychology or
trendy self-help. It is solid wisdom and sound principles.
— Richard M. Eyre, author of Life Balance and Teaching Children Values
We could do well to make the reading and use of this book a requirement for anyone at
any level of public service. It would be far more effective than any legislation regarding
ethical conduct.
— Senator Jake Garn, first senator in space
When Stephen Covey talks, executives listen. — Dun’s Business Month
Stephen Covey’s inspirational book will undoubtedly be the psychology handbook of the
’90s. The principles discussed are universal and can be applied to every aspect of life.
1
These principles, however, are like an opera. They cannot simply be performed, they
must be rehearsed!
— Ariel Bybee, mezzo-soprano, Metropolitan Opera
I found this book stimulating and thought-provoking. In fact, I keep referring to it.
— Richard M. DeVos, President, Amway
Winning is a habit. So is losing. Twenty-five years of experience, thought, and research
have convinced Covey that seven habits distinguish the happy, healthy, successful from
those who fail or who must sacrifice meaning and happiness for success in the narrow
sense.
— Ron Zemke, coauthor of The Service Edge and Service America
Stephen R. Covey is a marvelous human being. He writes insightfully and he cares about
people.The equivalent of an entire library of success literature is found in this one
volume. The principles he teaches in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People have
made a real difference in my life.
— Ken Blanchard, Ph.D., author of The One-Minute Manager
The Seven Habits are keys to success for people in all walks of life. It is very thoughtprovoking.
— Edward A. Brennan, Chairman, President and CEO, Sears, Roebuck and Company
Covey validates the durable truths as they apply to family, business, and society in
general, sparing us the psycho-babble that pollutes so much of current literature on
human relations. His book is not a photograph, but a process, and should be treated as
such. He is neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but a possibilist, who believes that we and
we alone can open the door to change within ourselves. There are many more than seven
good reasons to read this book.
— Steve Labunski, Executive Director, International Radio and Television Society
Knowledge is the quickest and safest path to success in any area of life. Stephen Covey
has encapsulated the strategies used by all those who are highly effective. Success can be
learned and this book is a highly effective way to learn it.
— Charles Givens, President, Charles J. Givens Organization, Inc., author of Wealth
Without Risk
I know of no one who has contributed more to helping leaders in our society than
Stephen R. Covey…. There is no literate person in our society who would not benefit by
reading this book and applying its principles
— Senator Orrin G. Hatch
One of the greatest habits you can develop is to learn and internalize the wisdom of
Stephen Covey. He lives what he says and this book can help you live, permanently, in
the “Winner’s Circle.”
— Dr. Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning
It’s powerful reading. His principles of vision, leadership, and human relations make it a
practical teaching tool for business leaders today. I highly recommend it.
— Nolan Archibald, President and CEO, Black and Decker
2
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People suggests a discipline for our personal
dealings withpeople which would be undoubtedly valuable if people stopped to think
about it.
— James C. Fletcher, Director, NASA
A wonderful contribution. Dr. Covey has synthesized the habits of our highest achievers
and presented them in a powerful, easy-to-use program. We now have a blueprint for
opening the American mind.
— Charles Garfield, author of Peak Performer
Seven Habits is an exceptional book. It does a better job of inspiring a person to integrate
the different responsibilities in one’s life — personal, family, and professional – than any
other book I have read.
— Paul H. Thompson, Dean, Marriott School of Management, BYU and author of
Novation
Goodbye, Dale Carnegie. Stephen Covey has had a profound influence on my life. His
principles are powerful. They work. Buy this book. Read, it, and as you live the principles
your life will be enriched.
— Robert G. Allen, author of Creating Wealth and Nothing Down
In the ’90s America needs to unlock the door to increased productivity both on a business
and personal basis. The best way to accomplish this goal is through enhancing the human
resource. Dr. Covey’s Seven Habits provides the guidelines for this to happen. These
principles make great sense and are right on target for the time.
— F.G. “Buck” Rodgers, author of The IBM Way
This book is filled with practical wisdom for people who want to take control of their
lives, their business and their careers. Each time I read a section again I get new insights,
which suggests the messages are fundamental and deep.
— Gifford Pinchot III, author of Intrapreneuring
Most of my learning has come from modeling after other people and what they do.
Steve’s book helps energize this modeling process through highly effective research and
examples.
— Fran Tarkenton, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback
Not only does the “character ethic” win hands down every time over the “personality
ethic” in the battle of effectiveness, it also will bring greater fulfillment and joy to
individuals seek ing meaning in their personal and professional lives.
— Larry Wilson, author of Changing the Game: The New Way to Sell
Fundamentals are the key to success. Stephen Covey is a master of them. Buy this book,
but most importantly, use it!
— Anthony Robbins, author of Unlimited Power
This book contains the kind of penetrating truth about human nature that is usually
found only in fiction. At the end, you will feel not only that you know Covey, but also
that he knows you
–Orson Scott Card, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards
3
Stephen Covey adds great value to any individual or organization, not just through his
words. His vision and integrity — his personal example — move people beyond mere
success.
— Tom F. Crum, cofounder, The Windstar Foundation, and author of The Magic of
Conflict
With all the responsibilities and demands of time, travel, work, and families placed upon
us in today’s competitive world, it’s a big plus to have Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits
of Highly Effective People to refer to.
— Marie Osmond
In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey serves up a seven-course
meal on how to take control of one’s life and become the complete, fulfilling person one
envisions. It is a satisfying, energetic, step-by-step book that is applicable for personal
and business progress.
— Roger Staubach, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback
The conclusions he draws in this book underscore the need to restore the character ethic
in our society. This work is a valuable addition to the literature of self-help.
— W. Clement Stone, founder, Success Magazine
Stephen Covey’s deliberate integration of life and principles leads to squaring inner
thought and outward behavior, resulting in personal as well as public integrity.
— Gregory J. Newell, U.S. Ambassador to Sweden

7 habits of highly effective people summary

INSIDE OUT
There is no real excellence in all this world which can be separated from right living
— David Starr Jordan


In more than 25 years of working with people in business, university, and marriage and
family settings, I have come in contact with many individuals who have achieved an
incredible degree of outward success, but have found themselves struggling with an
inner hunger, a deep need for personal congruency and effectiveness and for healthy,
growing relationships with other people.
I suspect some of the problems they have shared with me may be familiar to you.
I’ve set and met my career goals and I’m having tremendous professional success. But it’s
cost me my personal and family life. I don’t know my wife and children anymore. I’m not
even sure I know myself and what’s really important to me. I’ve had to ask myself — is it
worth it?
I’ve started a new diet — for the fifth time this year. I know I’m overweight, and I really
want to change. I read all the new information, I set goals, I get myself all psyched up
with a positive mental attitude and tell myself I can do it. But I don’t. After a few weeks, I
fizzle. I just can’t seem to keep a promise I make to myself.
I’ve taken course after course on effective management training. I expect a lot out of my
employees and I work hard to be friendly toward them and to treat them right. But I
don’t feel any loyalty from them. I think if I were home sick for a day, they’d spend most
of their time gabbing at the water fountain. Why can’t I train them to be independent and
responsible — or find employees who can be?
My teenage son is rebellious and on drugs. No matter what I try, he won’t listen to me.
What can I do?
There’s so much to do. And there’s never enough time. I feel pressured and hassled
all day, every day, seven days a week. I’ve attended time management seminars and I’ve
tried half a dozen different planning systems. They’ve helped some, but I still don’t feel
I’m living the happy, productive, peaceful life I want to live.
I want to teach my children the value of work. But to get them to do anything, I have to
supervise every move; and put up with complaining every step of the way. It’s so much
easier to do it myself. Why can’t children do their work cheerfully and without being
reminded?
I’m busy — really busy. But sometimes I wonder if what I’m doing will make a difference
in the long run. I’d really like to think there was meaning in my life, that somehow things
were different because I was here. I see my friends or relatives achieve some degree of
success or receive some recognition, and I smile and congratulate them enthusiastically.
But inside, I’m eating my heart out. Why do I feel this way?
5
I have a forceful personality. I know, in almost any interaction, I can control the outcome.
Most of the time, I can even do it by influencing others to come up with the solution I
want. I think through each situation and I really feel the ideas I come up with are usually
the best for everyone. But I feel uneasy. I always wonder what other people really think
of me and my ideas.
My marriage has gone flat. We don’t fight or anything; we just don’t love each other
anymore. We’ve gone to counseling; we’ve tried a number of things, but we just can’t
seem to rekindle the feeling we used to have.
These are deep problems, painful problems — problems that quick fix approaches can’t
solve. A few years ago, my wife Sandra and I were struggling with this kind of concern.
One of our sons was having a very difficult time in school. He was doing poorly
academically; he didn’t even know how to follow the instructions on the tests, let alone
do well in them. Socially he was immature, often embarrassing those closest to him.
Athletically, he was small, skinny, and uncoordinated — swinging his baseball bat, for
example, almost before the ball was even pitched. Others would laugh at him.
Sandra and I were consumed with a desire to help him. We felt that if “success” were
important in any area of life, it was supremely important in our role as parents. So we
worked on our attitudes and behavior toward him and we tried to work on his. We
attempted to psyche him up using positive mental attitude techniques. “Come on, son!
You can do it! We know you can. Put your hands a little higher on the bat and keep your
eye on the ball. Don’t swing till it gets close to you.” And if he did a little better, we would
go to great lengths to reinforce him. “That’s good, son, keep it up.”
When others laughed, we reprimanded them. “Leave him alone. Get off his back. He’s
just learning.” And our son would cry and insist that he’d never be any good and that he
didn’t like baseball anyway.
Nothing we did seemed to help, and we were really worried. We could see the effect this
was having on his self-esteem. We tried to be encouraging and helpful and positive, but
after repeated failure, we finally drew back and tried to look at the situation on a
different level.
At this time in my professional role I was involved in leadership development work with
various clients throughout the country. In that capacity I was preparing bimonthly
programs on the subject of communication and perception for IBM’s Executive
Development Program participants.
As I researched and prepared these presentations, I became particularly interested in how
perceptions are formed, how they behave. This led me to a study of expectancy theory
and self-fulfilling prophecies or the “Pygmalion effect,” and to a realization of how deeply
imbedded our perceptions are. It taught me that we must look at the lens through which
we see the world, as well as at the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we
interpret the world.
As Sandra and I talked about the concepts I was teaching at IBM and about our own
situation, we began to realize that what we were doing to help our son was not in
harmony with the way we really saw him. When we honestly examined our deepest
feelings, we realized that our perception was that he was basically inadequate, somehow
“behind.” No matter how much we worked on our attitude and behavior, our efforts were
6
ineffective because, despite our actions and our words, what we really communicated to
him was, “You aren’t capable. You have to be protected.”
We began to realize that if we wanted to change the situation, we first had to change
ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.
The Personality and Character Ethics
At the same time, in addition to my research on perception, I was also deeply immersed
in an in-depth study of the success literature published in the United States since 1776. I
was reading or scanning literally hundreds of books, articles, and essays in fields such as
self-improvement, popular psychology, and self-help. At my fingertips was the sum and
substance of what a free and democratic people considered to be the keys to successful
living.
As my study took me back through 200 years of writing about success, I noticed a
startling pattern emerging in the content of the literature. Because of our own pain, and
because of similar pain I had seen in the lives and relationships of many people I had
worked with through the years, I began to feel more and more that much of the success
literature of the past 50 years was superficial. It was filled with social image
consciousness, techniques and quick fixes — with social band-aids and aspirin that
addressed acute problems and sometimes even appeared to solve them temporarily — but
left the underlying chronic problems untouched to fester and resurface time and again.
In stark contrast, almost all the literature in the first 150 years or so focused on what
could be called the character ethic as the foundation of success — things like integrity,
humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty,
and the Golden Rule. Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography is representative of that
literature. It is, basically, the story of one man’s effort to integrate certain principles and
habits deep within his nature.
The character ethic taught that there are basic principles of effective living, and that
people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and
integrate these principles into their basic character.
But shortly after World War I the basic view of success shifted from the character ethic to
what we might call the personality ethic. Success became more a function of personality,
of public image, of attitudes and behaviors, skills and techniques, that lubricate the
processes of human interaction. This personality ethic essentially took two paths: one was
human and public relations techniques, and the other was positive mental attitude
(PMA). Some of this philosophy was expressed in inspiring and sometimes valid maxims
such as “Your attitude determines your altitude,” “Smiling wins more friends than
frowning,” and “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.
Other parts of the personality approach were clearly manipulative, even deceptive,
encouraging people to use techniques to get other people to like them, or to fake interest
in the hobbies of others to get out of them what they wanted, or to use the “power look,”
or to intimidate their way through life.
Some of this literature acknowledged character as an ingredient of success, but tended to
compartmentalize it rather than recognize it as foundational and catalytic. Reference to
the character ethic became mostly lip service; the basic thrust was quick-fix influence
techniques, power strategies, communication skills, and positive attitudes.
7
This personality ethic, I began to realize, was the subconscious source of the solutions
Sandra and I were attempting to use with our son. As I thought more deeply about the
difference between the personality and character ethics, I realized that Sandra and I had
been getting social mileage out of our children’s good behavior, and, in our eyes, this son
simply didn’t measure up. Our image of ourselves, and our role as good, caring parents
was even deeper than our image of our son and perhaps influenced it. There was a lot
more wrapped up in the way we were seeing and handling the problem than our concern
for our son’s welfare.
As Sandra and I talked, we became painfully aware of the powerful influence of our
character and motives and of our perception of him. We knew that social comparison
motives were out of harmony with our deeper values and could lead to conditional love
and eventually to our son’s lessened sense of self-worth. So we determined to focus our
efforts on us — not on our techniques, but on our deepest motives and our perception of
him. Instead of trying to change him, we tried to stand apart — to separate us from him —
and to sense his identity, individuality, separateness, and worth.
Through deep thought and the exercise of faith and prayer, we began to see our son in
terms of his own uniqueness. We saw within him layers and layers of potential that
would be realized at his own pace and speed. We decided to relax and get out of his way
and let his own personality emerge. We saw our natural role as being to affirm, enjoy,
and value him. We also conscientiously worked on our motives and cultivated internal
sources of security so that our own feelings of worth were not dependent on our
children’s “acceptable” behavior.
As we loosened up our old perception of our son and developed value-based motives,
new feelings began to emerge. We found ourselves enjoying him instead of comparing or
judging him. We stopped trying to clone him in our own image or measure him against
social expectations. We stopped trying to kindly, positively manipulate him into an
acceptable social mold. Because we saw him as fundamentally adequate and able to cope
with life, we stopped protecting him against the ridicule of others.
He had been nurtured on this protection, so he went through some withdrawal pains,
which he expressed and which we accepted, but did not necessarily respond to. “We
don’t need to protect you,” was the unspoken message. “You’re fundamentally okay.”
As the weeks and months passed, he began to feel a quiet confidence and affirmed
himself. He began to blossom, at his own pace and speed. He became outstanding as
measured by standard social criteria — academically, socially and athletically — at a rapid
clip, far beyond the so-called natural developmental process. As the years passed, he was
elected to several student body leadership positions, developed into an all-state athlete
and started bringing home straight A report cards. He developed an engaging and
guileless personality that has enabled him to relate in nonthreatening ways to all kinds of
people.
Sandra and I believe that our son’s “socially impressive” accomplishments were more a
serendipitous expression of the feelings he had about himself than merely a response to
social reward. This was an amazing experience for Sandra and me, and a very
instructional one in dealing with our other children and in other roles as well. It brought
to our awareness on a very personal level the vital difference between the personality
ethic and the character ethic of success. The Psalmist expressed our conviction well:
“Search your own heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life.”
8
Primary and Secondary Greatness
My experience with my son, my study of perception and my reading of the success
literature coalesced to create one of those “Aha!” experiences in life when suddenly things
click into place. I was suddenly able to see the powerful impact of the personality ethic
and to clearly understand those subtle, often consciously unidentified discrepancies
between what I knew to be true — some things I had been taught many years ago as a
child and things that were deep in my own inner sense of value — and the quick fix
philosophies that surrounded me every day. I understood at a deeper level why, as I had
worked through the years with people from all walks of life, I had found that the things I
was teaching and knew to be effective were often at variance with these popular voices.
I am not suggesting that elements of the personality ethic — personality growth,
communication skill training, and education in the field of influence strategies and
positive thinking — are not beneficial, in fact sometimes essential for success. I believe
they are. But these are secondary, not primary traits. Perhaps, in utilizing our human
capacity to build on the foundation of generations before us, we have inadvertently
become so focused on our own building that we have forgotten the foundation that holds
it up; or in reaping for so long where we have not sown, perhaps we have forgotten the
need to sow.
If I try to use human influence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what
I want, to work better, to be more motivated, to like me and each other — while my
character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity and insincerity — then, in the
long run, I cannot be successful. My duplicity will breed distrust, and everything I do —
even using so-called good human relations techniques — will be perceived as
manipulative. It simply makes no difference how good the rhetoric is or even how good
the intentions are; if there is little or no trust, there is no foundation for permanent
success. Only basic goodness gives life to technique.
To focus on technique is like cramming your way through school. You sometimes get by,
perhaps even get good grades, but if you don’t pay the price day in and day out, you
never achieve true mastery of the subjects you study or develop an educated mind.
Did you ever consider how ridiculous it would be to try to cram on a farm — to forget to
plant in the spring, play all summer and then cram in the f all to bring in the harvest? The
farm is a natural system. The price must be paid and the process followed. You always
reap what you sow; there is no shortcut.
This principle is also true, ultimately, in human behavior, in human relationships. They,
too, are natural systems based on the The Law of the Harvest. In the short run, in an
artificial social system such as school, you may be able to get by if you learn how to
manipulate the man-made rules, to “play the game.” In most one-shot or short-lived
human interactions, you can use the personality ethic to get by and to make favorable
impressions through charm and skill and pretending to be interested in other people’s
hobbies. You can pick up quick, easy techniques that may work in short-term situations.
But secondary traits alone have no permanent worth in long-term relationships.
Eventually, if there isn’t deep integrity and fundamental character strength, the
challenges of life will cause true motives to surface and human relationship failure will
replace short-term success.
Many people with secondary greatness — that is, social recognition for their talents — lack
primary greatness or goodness in their character. Sooner or later, you’ll see this in every
9
long-term relationship they have, whether it is with a business associate, a spouse, a
friend, or a teenage child going through an identity crisis. It is character that
communicates most eloquently. As Emerson once put it, “What you are shouts so loudly
in my ears that I cannot hear what you say.”
There are, of course, situations where people have character strength but they lack
communication skills, and that undoubtedly affects the quality of relationships as well.
But the effects are still secondary.
In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say
or do. We all know it. There are people we trust absolutely because we know their
character. Whether they’re eloquent or not, whether they have the human relations
techniques or not, we trust them, and we work successfully with them. In the words of
William George Jordan, “Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power
for good or evil — the silent unconscious, unseen influence of his life. This is simply the
constant radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be.”

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