Summary of Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Source: Quick MBA Management, Knowledge to power your business “Leaning your ladder against the right building.” In his #1 bestseller, Stephen R. Covey presented a framework for personal effectiveness. The following is a summary of the first part of his book, concluding with a list of the seven habits. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey's best‐known book, has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide since its first publication in 1989. Covey argues against what he calls "The Personality Ethic", something he sees as prevalent in many modern self‐help books. He instead promotes what he labels "The Character Ethic": aligning one’s values with so‐called "universal and timeless" principles. Covey adamantly refuses to confound principles and values; he sees principles as external natural laws, while values remain internal and subjective. Covey proclaims that values govern people’s behavior, but principles ultimately determine the consequences. Covey presents his teachings in a series of habits, manifesting as a progression from dependence via independence to interdependence. Our character is a collection of our habits, and habits have a powerful role in our lives. Habits consist of knowledge, skill, and desire. Knowledge allows us to know what to do, skill gives us the ability to know how to do it, and desire is the motivation to do it. The Seven Habits move us through the following stages: 1. Dependence: the paradigm under which we are born, relying upon others to take care of us. 1. Independence: the paradigm under which we can make our own decisions and take care of ourselves. 2. Interdependence: the paradigm under which we cooperate to achieve something that cannot be achieved independently. Much of the success literature today tends to value independence, encouraging people to become liberated and do their own thing.
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