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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People  
Book Cover
Author Stephen R. Covey
Subject(s) Self help
Genre(s) non-fiction
Publisher Free Press
Publication date 1989
ISBN 0-7432-6951-9
OCLC Number 56413718
Dewey Decimal 158 22
LC Classification BF637.S8 C68 2004
Followed by The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey. It has sold over 15 million copies in 38 languages since first publication, which was marked by the release of a 15th anniversary edition in 2004. Covey argues that effectiveness is achieved by aligning oneself to what he calls "true north" principles of a character ethic that he believes to be universal and timeless.[1]


The 7 Habits

The chapters are dedicated to each of the habits, which are represented by the following imperatives:

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Choice
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Vision
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First: Principles of Integrity & Execution
Independence to Interdependence
  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win: Principles of Mutual Benefit
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Principles of Mutual Understanding
  • Habit 6: Synergize: Principles of Creative Cooperation
Continual Improvement
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal of body

Abundance mentality

Covey coined the term[citation needed] abundance mentality or abundance mindset, meaning a business concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and success to share with others, when looking at optimistic people. It is commonly contrasted with the scarcity mindset, which is founded on the idea that, given a finite amount of resources, a person must hoard their belongings and protect them from others. Individuals with an abundance mentality are supposed to be able to celebrate the success of others rather than be threatened by it.[2]

A number of books appearing in business press since then have discussed the idea.[3] The abundance mentality is believed to arrive from having a high self worth and security, and leads to the sharing of profits, recognition and responsibility.[4] Organizations may also apply an abundance mentality while doing business.[5]


The book was enormously popular, and catapulted Covey into public-speaking appearances and workshops. He has also written a number of follow-up books:

  • First Things First
  • Principle Centered Leadership
  • The Power Of The 7 Habits: Applications And Insights
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families
  • Beyond the Seven Habits
  • Living the Seven Habits, a collection of stories from people who have applied the seven habits in their lives
  • The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, a sequel to The Seven Habits published in 2004

Sean Covey (Stephen's son) has written a version of the book for teens, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. This version simplifies the 7 Habits for younger readers so they can better understand them. In October 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.

Stephen Covey's eldest son, Stephen M. R. Covey, has written a book titled The Speed of Trust.


  1. ^ Bill Gordon: "A Closer Look At Stephen Covey And His 7 Habits" Apologetics Index, retrieved 23 December 2007
  2. ^ English, L (2004). "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Information Professionals, Part 7" (pdf). DM Review September/October '04: 60–61. 
  3. ^ See for instance the chapter in Carolyn Simpson's High Performance through Negotiation.
  4. ^ Covey, S (2004). The Power of Character. Unlimited Publishing. p. 103. ISBN 1588321061. 
  5. ^ 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 0787964433. 

External links



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