UPDATE 7/16/12: The bestselling author’s family confirmed today that Stephen Covey died at age 79. He was surrounded at the hospital by his wife, children and their spouses when he passed. In a statement issued by his family, they say his death was the result of effects of a bicycle accident he had this spring.
In 1989, Dr. Stephen Covey published the book he is best known for, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Since then, he has kept up a demanding schedule, to understate greatly, of writing, lecturing, teaching, leading his company FranklinCovey, and staying in touch with his 9 children and 47 grandchildren. Among other awards, Covey was named one of TIME Magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, given an International Man of Peace Award, and received a National Fatherhood Award.
Covey teaches people to live by principles of honesty and integrity to achieve personal and professional success. He uses jargon like “Think win-win,” “Begin with the End in Mind,” “Synergize,” and “Be Proactive,” four of his seven habits, to get his points across. He emphasizes things such as writing personal mission statements and focusing on what one can control in their life instead of what they can’t. He believes that each person can shape their own destiny, to live fully by living a life in balance and continual self-renewal in all areas of life. Covey added an 8th habit in 2004 with the publishing of a book of the same name, and that one deals with leadership and finding your personal voice in today’s globalized world.
Covey’s brand of transcendental management consulting did not originate with him, as he says they are mostly common knowledge. The hard part is putting them into practice. Although he only says things about general spirituality, his foundation is a strong faith in the Mormon church, of which he has been a lifetime member.
Covey has also written books on the habits of effective families, effective problem solving, leadership, and power. He is constantly coming up with new ways to implement his ideas in many arenas, like focusing on fighting crime and terrorism, giving wisdom to attorneys, bringing character education to elementary schools, and a writing a book for students at universities. All of this is on top of meeting with heads-of-state in places like Honduras and South Africa, dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela, and going to training meetings for large corporations such as Ford, Marriott, and the U.S. Military. Based on his schedule, it is clear that the 80-year-old definitely lives out his life motto, “Live life in crescendo.”
Covey lives with his wife in Utah and holds an undergraduate and doctorate degree from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Harvard.
image via StephenCovey.com