Cover image for Living the 7 habits : stories of courage & inspiration
Living the 7 habits : stories of courage & inspiration
Covey, Stephen R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, 1999.
Physical Description:
xix, 310 pages ; illustrations : 24 cm
Format :


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BF637.S8 C668 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF637.S8 C668 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF637.S8 C668 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF637.S8 C668 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF637.S8 C668 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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This text shows how the 7 Habits have touched readers lives. The people, institutions, companies and even governments that have incorporated them into their lives are profiled. The book demonstrates through examples how to put the seven habits to work in the individual, family and business realms.

Author Notes

Stephen R. Covey was born on October 24, 1932, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He received a degree in business administration from the University of Utah, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a D.R.E. from Brigham Young University. He was a teacher and administrator at Brigham Young University. In 1983, he founded the Covey Leadership Center, a training and consulting concern.

He wrote numerous books on leadership, personal and organizational effectiveness, and family and interpersonal relationships. His best known book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic, first published in 1989. His other books include Principle Centered Leadership; First Things First: To Live, to Love, to Learn, and to Leave a Legacy; Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People; Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families; The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness; and The 3rd Alternative. He received the Thomas More College Medallion and the Utah Symphony Fiftieth Anniversary Award in 1990, and the McFeely Award of the International Management Council for contributions and service in 1991. He died from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident on July 16, 2012 at the age of 79.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Covey's wife has told him often, he says, that he doesn't use enough real-life inspirational stories in his motivational speeches and texts. This book strives to rectify that situation. The seven-habits success stories in it are sorted into four big sections labeled "Individual," "Family," "Community and Education," and "Workplace" and, within them, into groups of stories about a particular kind of success--for example, "Seeking Life Balance," "Leading Organizations," and "Building Community." In each story, the particular habits its teller reports using are specified by bracketed insertions, such as "[Habit I: Be Proactive]." Plenty of Family of Mantype photos decorate, and Covey stitches the stories together with commentary. In the 10 years since 7 Habits of Highly Effective People debuted, so ubiquitous has Covey's self-help system become that it is hard to recall whether terms attached to the habits--such as win-win, synergize, and proactiveare his coinages (we did use proactive before 1989, didn't we?). No matter, they are now included in the registered trademarks of his Franklin Covey Co., just as the testimonies in this book are copyrighted by Franklin Covey Co. That is, they are all intellectual property of the 4,500-member company, and presumably even the corporate CEOs who testify in the book's last section better watch what they publicly say about how they stepped up Covey's stairway to success, or they will be fighting infringement suits. Libraries should get Covey's newest, but librarians should, perhaps, police their readers'-advisory verbiage about it. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Covey fans and booksellers alike will be delighted by this collection, perfect for June gift-giving occasions and destined for a long life. For 10 years, the author's famed Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has influenced countless individuals and organizations worldwideÄand sold millions of copies. Conceding that the earlier books may have been long on theory and light on practice, Covey and his team culled thousands of testimonials for examples of the principles in action. The resulting collection of more than 75 true stories will satisfy the full range of Covey constituents. Though the storytelling is always first-person, the focus is consistently on the underlying principle, reinforced by Covey's commentary. Handily arranged by situationÄwithin individual, family, community, workplace and educational settingsÄand varying in depth and power, the stories offer intriguing and provocative lessons. They are mostly brief and often inspiring, but are by no means simplistic; they readily lend themselves to informal teaching and discussion. Some are dramatic and hard to forget: a woman facing a debilitating disease; a convict finding his mission while in prison. Many instructive stories deal with more routine problems, such as how to handle a sullen teenager sensitively or accommodate the needs of an elderly relative. Longer entries from executives of Shell Oil, Olivet College and Alphagraphics, and about the rejuvenation of South Bend, Ind., will appeal to strategic thinkers. This is a Covey classic. Agent, Jan Miller; 20-city TV and radio satellite tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Practical applications for Covey's highly effective people. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Introduction Getting the Most Out of This Book Living the 7 Habits is a book of stories -- stories about people from all walks of life dealing with profound challenges in their businesses, communities, schools, and families, as well as within themselves -- showing how they applied the principles of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to these challenges, and the remarkable things that resulted. What will these stories do for you? If you're already familiar with The 7 Habits, they will likely renew your understanding and commitment to the Habits and, perhaps more important, stir up new insights into other creative ways to apply them to meet your challenges successfully. If you're not a 7 Habits reader, these stories will likely renew your faith in your own native abilities and wisdom. I believe these stories will enthrall and inspire you, as they have me, with a sense of excitement and with recognition of your own freedom, potential, and power. But before I go any further, I should probably make a confession. I've not always been big on the value of stories. My main concern has been that the reader or listener might think I was prescribing the practice in the story rather than seeing the practice as an illustration of a principle. For more than forty years my wife, Sandra, has heard hundreds of my presentations, and almost inevitably, in giving me feedback, she counsels me to use more stories, to give more examples that illustrate the principles and theories I am teaching. She simply says to me, "Don't be so heavy. Use stories people can relate to." She has always had an intuitive sense for these things and, fortunately, has had absolutely no hesitation to express it! Experience has taught me that Sandra was right and I was wrong. I've come to realize not only that a picture is worth a thousand words, as the Far Eastern expression goes, but that the picture created in the heart and mind of a person by a story is worth ten thousand. I cannot fully describe the respect and reverence I have for every person who has contributed a story, for their willingness to share their inward struggles to live by universal and self-evident principles. You can tell that all of them are rich human beings who should be respected for what they represent, for what they are trying to accomplish, and for what they have accomplished. Their stories are splendid illustrations of profound change. I feel humbled by their humanity and profoundly grateful for their sharing. But this is more than a storybook because there is a framework of thinking that permeates all of these stories. That framework is based upon the 7 Habits, which are in turn based upon universal, timeless, and self-evident principles. By universal I mean that the principles apply in any situation, in any culture, that they belong to all six major world religions, that they are found in all societies and institutions that have had truly enduring success. By timeless I mean that they never change. They are permanent, natural laws, like gravity. By self-evident I mean you can't really argue against them any more than a person can argue that you can build trust without trustworthiness. (A diagram of the 7 Habits and a brief definition of each Habit can be found on the inside of the front cover of this book for quick reference.) It may sound presumptuous, but I believe that all highly effective people live the principles underlying the 7 Habits. In fact, I'm convinced that the 7 Habits are increasingly relevant in today's turbulent, troubled, complex world of change. To live with change, to optimize change, you need principles that don't change. Let me reason with you for a moment. First, let's define effectiveness as getting the results you want in a way that enables you to get even greater results in the future. In other words, success that endures -- sustainable and balanced success. Second, the Habits are embodied principles, principles that are lived until they become habitual, almost second nature. Principles are simply natural laws that govern our life, whether or not we know them, like them, or agree with them -- again, like gravity. I didn't invent the principles. I simply organized them and used language to describe them. I've often been asked, particularly by the media, for examples and evidence. I've shared both extensively. But I find that the best examples and evidence come when I propose, and even challenge the questioners with, this task: "Think of any successful person or family or project or organization you've come to admire for his/her/its enduring success and there is your example and evidence." Whether the admired people are aware of the 7 Habits or not is irrelevant. They're living by proven principles. I've never had anyone seriously argue against one of the underlying principles. They legitimately may not like the language or the description of the Habits. That's okay. They may not relate to the stories at all. In fact, in their situation they may think of an opposite example of the same principle. But the principle of responsibility (Habit 1) is self-evident. So also are having purpose and values (Habit 2) and living by them (Habit 3). So are mutual respect and benefit (Habit 4), mutual understanding (Habit 5), creative cooperation (Habit 6), and the need for renewal and continual improvement (Habit 7). Principles are like the vitamins and minerals found in all kinds of foods. They can be concentrated, combined, time-sequenced, and encapsulated into a food supplement. So it is with the 7 Habits. The basic elements called principles are found in nature and can be expressed in many forms. Millions of people all over the world have found the time-sequenced encapsulation of the balanced set of principles in the 7 Habits useful. The "why" and "how" are shown in some of these stories. Give God or nature the credit for the source nutrients. MY TWO ROLES I will try to play two roles throughout this book, guide and teacher. First, guide: If you were a tourist, say, going up the Nile River, you'd probably want a guide to give you an idea of what to look for and of its significance. On the other hand, if you'd been there several times before or had prepared in your own special way for the experience, you might prefer to guide yourself. So it is with these stories. You decide if the guide is helpful or not. if not, ignore the preface. Second, teacher: There's a short postscript to each story emphasizing a particular point or angle or an entirely new way of thinking that may enhance your understanding and/or your motivation to act in some way. Again, you decide. You may choose to come to your own conclusions or learning and to pass by the postscript. Great. I've come to believe that repetition is the mother of learning and that if you really want to help people become consciously competent, you should repeat similar words and ideas again and again in fresh ways and from different angles. That's what this book attempts to do. Since it is a book about people trying to live the 7 Habits, the language of the 7 Habits will be found continually throughout the book. The storyteller has often identified the Habit being lived right in the middle of the story. Where he or she hasn't identified it specifically, where it is an important insight, and particularly if I don't mention it in my comments before or after the story, I have occasionally inserted the name of the Habit being practiced in brackets, such as [Habit I: Be Proactive]. If for some reason this annoys you, just forget it and move on, but I am persuaded that it will help most people, 7 Habits familiar or not, become more consciously aware of what principle is operating. In the postscript I will often mention the Habit again, perhaps with another twist or angle or experience. Remember, the purpose of the book is to help you, the reader, deepen your understanding and commitment to the principles that are embodied in the Habits. Don't allow word symbols to turn you off. The key thing is the principle that exists in nature and governs the consequences of all actions. Remember, also, that these are self-evident principles. I am only using language that identifies some of the truths you already know deep inside. I'm trying to make them explicit so that they affect the way you think and decide and act. Therefore, the very words of the 7 Habits are only symbols of a world of principles. They are like the key that opens a door to meaning. These are all true stories and, in most cases, in the actual words of the storyteller. In some cases there needed to be some editing, but every effort was made to preserve the original meaning and intent, the tone, and the spirit of the storyteller. Most of the names of people in the stories have been changed to preserve their anonymity. The exceptions are those who are identified by name in the title of the story. THE INSIDE-OUT STRUGGLE As you read these stories, notice that, most often, the people take an Inside-Out Approach, usually requiring personal struggle and sacrifice of pride and ego, and often a significant alteration of life and work style. The alteration almost always requires painstaking effort, patience, and persistence. All four unique human gifts or endowments -- self-awareness, imagination, conscience, and independent will -- are usually exercised and magnified. Almost always there's a vision of what's possible and desirable. And almost always, marvelous things result. Trust is restored. Broken relationships are redeemed. Personal moral authority to continue the upward change effort is evident. You'll identify with some stories more than others. Ponder the visuals. They were carefully selected to reflect the uniqueness of the stories. As you pay the price with each story and come to see the underlying universal principles involved, your confidence will grow in your ability to adapt and apply the 7 Habits framework to any difficult situation or challenge you may face now or in the future. You'll also begin to see an opportunity in your problems so that your creative powers are released. When we solve problems, we get rid of something. When we create, we bring something into existence. Ironically, the creative mind-set solves problems better than the problem-solving mind-set. You'll see this again and again in these stories. Enjoy them, learn from them, reflect on them. They will inspire hope and increase faith in yourself and in your own creative powers. Copyright © 1999 Franklin Covey Co.. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Getting the Most Out of This Bookp. xvi
Individualp. 1
Courage to Change
How Could I Waste My Life?p. 4
Moving Out to the Countryp. 7
It's Never Too Late to Changep. 9
Living for Todayp. 11
My Flower Shopp. 16
My Living Nightmarep. 19
You're Successful ... but Are You Happy?p. 22
A Prisoner's Storyp. 24
Seeking Life Balance
Room 602 of the Oncology Critical Care Unitp. 32
Daddy, I Want You to Be Healthyp. 34
Wednesday Evening: My Time with Momp. 37
I Looked in the Mirror and Saw a Control Freakp. 39
The Surprise Visitp. 42
Stephanie's Recovery Planp. 44
Familyp. 48
Raising Young Children
Because ...p. 52
The Head-Buttp. 54
I Can Choose My Lifep. 57
Our Family Posterp. 59
I'm Not Going to School Ever Againp. 61
Daddy, I Gotta Go Pottyp. 64
Off to Bed!p. 66
Grandpa's Lapp. 68
The Journalp. 69
Raising Teens (Or Is It Being Raised by Them?)
My First Broken Heartp. 76
Wrestlemaniap. 77
Silence Is Goldenp. 81
The Worst Game of My Life!p. 83
Soft-Spiked Golf Shoesp. 85
The Destructive Teenp. 86
The Heart-to-Heart Talk I Almost Missedp. 89
You Always Say "No"!p. 93
Ever Tried Communicating with a Sixteen-Year-Old Who Talks in One-Word Sentences?p. 95
Raising Boys on Lawnsp. 99
You'd Really Do That for Me, Dad?p. 102
Marriage: Valuing the Differences
Celebrating the Differencesp. 108
SportsCenterp. 112
Love Is a Verbp. 114
The Greenhousep. 116
My Free-Spirited Husbandp. 118
Merging Missionsp. 120
Miss Superwasherwomanp. 123
Community and Educationp. 125
Building Community
Brenda Krause Eheart, Founder, Hope for the Children Foundationp. 129
Stonep. 134
The Rabbip. 137
Leaving a Legacy of Service and Humilityp. 141
Synergy of a Coachp. 145
Saving a Historical Treasurep. 147
South Bend, Indiana: Reaching Across Generations to Better a Communityp. 151
Back to School
Sharlee Doxey-Stockdale, Sixth-Grade Teacher, Monte Vista Elementary Schoolp. 163
Facing Tragedyp. 168
Just Cut Through the Bullp. 170
Students: The Customer?p. 174
Just Try Dismissing a Tenured Teacherp. 178
This Classroom Belongs to ... Me!p. 181
Workplacep. 190
Increasing Your Influence
Ninety Daysp. 194
If Looks Could Killp. 196
I've Tried for Months to Offend Youp. 198
Do You Just Not Like Working Here?p. 200
Gossip Addictionp. 202
Managing: Think Win-Win
Fifty Years of Loyaltyp. 206
Be Patient ... They're Learningp. 209
The Million-Dollar Questionp. 211
Shape Up or Ship Outp. 213
Closing Down the Plantp. 215
The Troubled Employeep. 218
Bill Phifer, General Manager, Cosmo's Fine Foodsp. 222
The Deal Is Offp. 225
Finding the Third Alternativep. 227
Leading Organizations
Colin Hall, Executive Chairman, Wooltru Limited, South Africap. 236
Doug Conant, President, Nabisco U.S. Foods Groupp. 243
Pete Beaudrault, COO, Hard Rock Cafep. 253
Chris Turner, Learning Person, Xerox Business Servicesp. 257
Jack Little, President and CEO, Shell Oil Companyp. 266
Michael Bassis, President, Olivet Collegep. 272
Wood Dickinson, CEO, Dickinson Theatresp. 279
John Noel, CEO, Noel Groupp. 286
Sharing Your Storyp. 297
Questions I am Often Askedp. 299
Measuring the Impactp. 307
About Franklin Covey Co.p. 309
About the Authorp. 311