Overheard on CNN.com: Stephen Covey inspired 'Highly Effective' lives
Author Stephen Covey, who wrote "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," died Monday at age 79.
July 17th, 2012
08:14 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Stephen Covey inspired 'Highly Effective' lives

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Stephen R. Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," died Monday at the age of 79 from the effects of a bicycle accident in April. He had sold more than 20 million copies of the book, and wrote several spinoffs. Readers thanked Covey and evaluated his ideas. Some told us Covey's words changed their lives.

'7 Habits' author Stephen Covey dead at 79

This reader gave an overview of the seven habits outlined by Covey.

"The seven habits are not all that commonly practiced considering how logical they are:

be proactive
begin with the end in mind
put firsts things first
seek first to understand THEN to be understood
think win/win
sharpen the saw

Most humans can benefit from these ..."

There is an eighth habit from another book, which involves finding one's own "voice" and then inspiring others.

SirMarc Wang: "It's hard to write a fitting tribute to a man who inspired & will continue to inspire million's through leadership, & the practice of 'the 7 + the 8th habits,' both in word & deed. I echo many of the sentiments already expressed. You were a father to many. Heartfelt condolences to your family & friends. We celebrate, & honor your life, & legacy. You will be missed. Kind regards, Marcus (Seeking what you sought : )"

CaliMafiaToo: "Well, he certainly got the 8th habit down well."

Life just might be better when you're effective.

matori: "In line with the late author's writings I consider his death as 'The Last Habit of Highly Effective People' ... may his beautiful soul rest in peace. Death awaits everyone whether effective and ineffective, but better if you lived a highly effective life."

But what is an 'effective' person, anyway?

Sylvius the Mad: "I was assigned 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as a textbook at university. It was a class of Ethics. As a textbook, 7 Habits was terrible. At no point does Covey define 'effectiveness,' so his book becomes literally meaningless. There's no way to know what he's talking about, because he never tells the reader. I hated that book. It lacks philosophical rigour."

Others, like this commenter, found the simplicity of Covey's words appealing.

wereport: "I attended a Franklin Covey program in Bangalore and was amazed at the simplicity with which real life problems and their solutions were explained. He was an icon who helped make the world a better place. RIP Mr. Covey."

Indeed, we heard from fans all over the world.

yokohamacat: "I am a Japanese guy. About 10 years ago, '7 Habits' was a huge hit in Japan. I read it, too. There was a couple of nice things I learned from the book. My colleague had a copy and he said he did not need it so I recently (gave it) to a freshman in the office. She said she was glad she got it. Honestly, the book was thick, but there were only a few lines that are still in my head. But it was fun to read it. Hope he is going to heaven. He was referring to Lord in the book, and that was another thing I liked."

The idea of keeping an end goal in mind resonated with many readers and others we spoke with.

golfman72: "I am so glad I have read and followed a number of books and ideas from Dr. Covey. He was a great man who inspired many with his insights and ideas to improve ones life. If you are of the negative about Covey, then I believe you have missed out on his wisdom. Case in point; always start with a project or idea with the end in mind and work back to its beginning to create a plan, identify obstacles, and a path to its successful completion. It's too bad the govt doesn't follow this advice in many of our national and international situations."

Not everyone is a fan, of course.

JamesKrakorn: "I read a lot and can read almost anything. However, I could not get past the third habit. The guy takes so long to say so little. I have encountered many who have bought the Seven Habits book but never met anyone who finished it. I think he made it unreadable so people would pay more for the course! The only useful takeaway I got was the time management matrix. I also started reading Principle-Centered Leadership and lost interest about a third of the way in."

Do you read self-help or motivational books?

igsource: "Motivational books should be burned/deleted! A business book is only useful if it tells you exactly what steps to succeed, not how to be positive and let the rest magically fall into place!"

This reader says they got to meet Covey a few years back.

Peace_2_All: "I had the opportunity several years ago to be a keynote speaker with Dr. Covey. Also, enjoyed meeting him. He certainly had an impact with his writing's on many people and their lives. RIP Stephen Covey"

Several educators said they use the habits in their teachings.

mrm32: "Dr. Covey - I hope you know - I hope your family knows - that what you taught lives on for generations going forward. I use much of your discovery in classes that I teach for future administrators in health management. Thank you. Thank you not only for your vast contributions to enlightening all of us, but thank you for elucidating principles that have been invaluable to me personally. May God protect and keep your soul forever; my condolences to your family for their loss ... Mike Meacham, Associate Professor, Medical University of South Carolina"

Maria Juanita Maldonado Alcant: "I work with children in an elementary school and learning the 7 Habits was a great gift for myself and to the children as well. He left a very concrete teaching, just wish more people could get the opportunity to learn it. RIP Mr. Covey, my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

This teacher was deeply affected.

numericalguy: "Steven Covey changed my life with his '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' book 20 years ago. I bring his philosophy into my classrooms also (I am a teacher). Many a times, our own upbringing does not teach all you need to know about life, and even if you take one small nugget from someone else to help you, what is wrong with that. His philosophy of being in the right quadrant has made me manage many aspects of my life. My life is far from perfect or jovial, and it may be less or more happier than yours, but it surely is better than my previous self. "

The clarity of Covey's work appeals to this teacher.

Steven Hackbarth: "My wife and I admired his work; clear, doable objectives. As computer specialist teacher, I had my 4th and 5th graders type New Year's resolutions in terms of the various dimensions of life, clear, specific, doable within time frame."

Some also talked about Covey's faith.

Jackie Steen Proulx: "He was a great man. His son and I attended the same Mormon congregation at BYU. Dr. Covey visited a couple times, he was such a nice man and very insightful and spiritual based on his comments during Sunday Scholl, etc. He leaves behing a wonderful family."

For many, the idea of strategies that benefit all involved parties were appealing.

chikad63: "Clearly, some people just don't know who he was and their comments are based in that ingnorance. Covey was a well known, highly respected negotiator who helped corporations handle buyouts and other dangerous situations that would have cost many their jobs. He went on to teach how to create 'Win/Win' solutions in negotiations and transactions of all sorts, business and otherwise."

One reader evaluated the many habits.

Kalanaole: "I never thought much of his writings, they are for beginners, but they made him a good living and with his large Mormon family he needed that money. 'Seek first to understand' seems very obvious, but 'then to be understood' ... if you are the leader of a company, it is not so important you are understood but that your people will follow you ... so knowing how to keep everyone focused on the end goal is more important. 'Begin with the end in mind' ... OK, as far as it goes, but in my business the end goal can easily change midstream, and it is more important to be prepared for that and know the various options that will still lead to a successful conclusion, which may be different from what you thought it would be, in the beginning. As for riding a bike on a steep grade at the age of 78, yeah, stupid to do that, but hey he was a guy and he was having outdoor fun so better to die as a result of that then live to be 90 and never have taken a chance, physical, mental or emotional huh. Anyway he was a Mormon and they are basically like Scientologists. sooo. RIP and hopefully you accepted Jesus Christ as the only Way to heaven, before you breathed your last breath, Covey."

This person has multiple copies of the "Habits" book in their house.

Jan Marie Peeples: "I am so sadden to hear of Stephen Covey's passing ... I loved his reasonings on life ... I read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' ... the first time in 1995. I have 3 copies of this book, one on my night stand, one on my coffee table, and another in my home office. He will be missed by many. His teaching will carry on. #3 Begin with the End in Mind ... #5 Seek first to Understand then to be Understood ... # 1 'Be Proactive.' "

What makes an "effective" person and a good leader? What do you think of the habits that Covey wrote about? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "How to make $1200 profit from a $.50 blank CDR"

    Send $29.95 to Make Me Rich.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    Lmao off @ Jeff the preacher selling "Greater gift of God" notes. (google for one of thousands of examples of holy rollers today) gn zzzzzzzzz and zzzzzzz

    July 18, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Ok, Philip.
    Get some sleep.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lawal Yunusa

    I was diverstated with the news of Coveys demise,he truly lives his vison: to leave,to love and leave a legacy, He truly be missed.......!

    July 18, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Barry G.

    Compare the difference between those who have distinguished themselves in the Christian community and those in the Scientology cult.

    In the Christian community we find Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa and countless others, who have devoted their lives to serving the poor, sick and needy.

    On the other hand, the Scientology cult has Tom Cruise, Christy Ally, and....

    There is no comparison.

    But then again, why would there be?

    The Christians follow Jesus the Christ (or Messiah), who laid down his life and was crucified for the sins of the world. He taught his followers to love others, to be humble and kind, and to serve others.

    Look at what the cult of Scientology teaches and produces!

    July 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Southern mom


    July 19, 2012 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Barney

    Lol @ southern mom, no kiddin! And @ Philip maybe you dont hijack, but ur goofy gf sure does. And maybe Chrissy & Banasy resents the hell outta you callin them old hens, hags, and little dogs nippin at your ankles, did you think about that???

    July 19, 2012 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. moving london

    It's appropriate time to make some plans for the long run and it's time to be happy. I have read this post and if I may I want to recommend you few interesting issues or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things approximately it!

    August 20, 2012 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
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