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.

DevilzTower:
"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
synergize
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. HIDE BEHIND

    Enough is enough .
    You can beat a dead horse only so long before. you realize it does not make a bit of difference to the horse.
    Or maybe its a dead cow, and you want to milk it dry.
    Either way, the epitaphs have all ben read and said, and now its time to turn to whomever will be. next to be pronounced dead.

    July 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    RIP, Mr. Covey.

    July 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marlee

    Goodness, he only died yesterday...why would you click on a thread just to criticize that you have read enough? Bypass it next time! Sheesh! Rip Stephen Covey!

    July 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lyn Odell

    I thoroughly enjoyed Seven Habits. I have read it more than once and always learn something each time. The concepts of being proactive and seek first to understand and then to be understood changed my life. I thank him for some great and, yes, simple principles to enhance our lives.

    July 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    Your name is apt.
    Speaking only for myself, if I do not feel nothing at all about the person or event, I will say nothing at all.
    I am an empathetic person.
    Not everyone, as you have illustrated, is so inclined.

    July 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Amended to say:
    If I don't feel anything at all about a person...

    July 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Then why in the hell are you taking time out of you busy day to comment?
    If you didn't like/respect/whatever Stephen Covey, why comment at ALL?

    July 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Didn't realize that this was the post-counting blog hog poating, trying to up his "batting average" with the most number of posts again.
    The "bored" is all yours.

    July 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. @Philip

    You jerk, you give yourself away every time. I hope you get banned and soon.

    July 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Philip, you know very well that banasy is part of my given surname, and it has been mu u/n for a long time.
    I don't take it as an accusation, but it is tiring for you to use me as an example in every tangent you go off on.
    I have also asked you respectfully not to use my first name on here repeatedly; if I wanted to post under it I would have done so.

    Further, I think it does a great disservice to the people whose names you have hijacked; the reasoning that THEY aren't using it is faulty.
    They may well write under a different name, and may want to avoid any undue attention from someone who wants to hold THEM up as an example...
    If one doesn't want people to comment on their posts, one shouldn't post them.
    Calling people derogatory names because they DO comment, and setting parameters for said commenting is just absurd.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    And I swear on a stack of the highets stack of whatever you and/or I hold to be true, I have NEVER hijacked the personal sceenname or username (whatever you call yourselves) of ANYONE since I began blogging.
    And I was blogging YEARS before the word 'blog' was ever coined.
    And so i resent what you have to say. And i resent your friend chrissy saying that i am the reason MY friend Joey I-F is gone.
    And, YES. I resent that libary helpers think they are above scrubbing those NASTY womens restrooms when janitors are out sick
    . Let the dog reteurn to it's own vomit.(gee, that was kinda harsha me) zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    July 18, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @Philip, if that was addressed to me then I am confused. I have never accused you of hijacking names. Will you please answer the question I posed to you? I have no idea what you mean about Joey and Chrissy and I would prefer to stay out of that.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Philip.
      You have said a while back that you were going to use those names because they weren't.
      You even posted as Jim Brieske and Whitekong 78.
      The only thing *I* said was I have been using my username for years; I wasn't aware that there was a contest for who has been blogging the longest.
      I don't CARE.

      And whoever said I was above ANY job my place of employment chooses to give me?
      Honest work is honest work, and I am proud of what I do.

      If you have an issue with some other poster, I suggest you take it up with them.

      Joey posted TODAY, so apparently he is NOT gone.
      He had explained previously that he is extremely busy; I guess you missed that.

      Finally, I care not one jot what your personal opinion of me is, or how much you resent me or what I say.
      Constantly casting aspersions, fabrications, and suppositions on me or my character isn't going to stop me from posting.

      I guess you'll just have to learn to live with my posts, as I have had to live with yours.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • R2D2

      Wow, Philip...there's nothing wrong with being a clerk in the library, and nothing wrong with picking up the slack when someone's out.I've never gotten that impression from Banasy, you got your hate on, don't you? I think your elitism is peeking out. Shame on you for looking down your nose at others!

      July 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dazzle ©

    @Philip, I am having difficulty interpreting the syntax of your sentence where you are naming people. Is that an invitation to read more about Matt Dillon? Is it an accusation that we all use different user names to post? I will say it to you again, everything I have to say is always under dazzle unless my name is hijacked. I also think it is in bad form to name someone by first and last name in a blog. All you know, these blogs go into a cluster on an RSS feed and some personal damage can be done. Have a good night and if you are extending an invite to me, I will be there if I am not pulling double shifts at the Medical Centre.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Senthil Anantharaman

    I am truly grateful and indebted to stephen for writing and bringing about a change in all my dimensions of life..............May his soul rest in peace and in heaven............

    July 18, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    :)@dazzle. I was just trying to recall s/ns here when yous popped into my head. No, you have NEVER violated myself or terms in any way.
    Yep. 7th and Camelback, baby. he he. 🙂

    July 18, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. dazzle ©

    @Philip you tricked me. LOL. Was that 7th Avenue? No we are okay with each other.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
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