The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons In Personal Change focuses on seven traits that a person must develop in order to be successful and happy. These include not just personality traits but also the persons deeper character traits. Stephen R. Covey was working on his doctoral thesis in the course of which he reviewed self-help literature of the past 200 years. This was in the 1970s. He found that while self-help books from the 1920s onwards began to stress on personality traits, the older books all laid emphasis on character development. Covey says that there has to be a balance between the two. While the twentieth century books began to focus more on achieving success in life and concentrated on personality ethics, Covey says character development is more fundamental.
He says that personality ethics has to be built upon a solid foundation of character ethics. This includes values like integrity, courage, a sense of justice and honesty. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change calls the elements that make up Character Ethic primary traits, while it defines Personality Ethic elements as secondary traits.
The book then discusses seven habits that a person must cultivate in order to live a more fulfilling life. It takes the readers through three stages of character development, dependence, independence and interdependence. The first stage is the state that a person is born in, as a child is necessarily dependent on others to fulfil its needs. Independence comes later as the child grows and learns to take care of itself. The third stage is interdependence, when a person learns to live with others, in a cooperative manner. The first three habits mark the progress from dependence to independence. These include being proactive and have the ability to plan and prioritize their activities to achieve their goals.
The next three traits are about interdependence. Human beings are social animals, so they must learn to live and work effectively with each other. So, these three habits stress the importance of seeking mutually beneficial relationships, to learn empathy and to integrate different ideas and approaches by working as a team. The seventh habit is Sharpen the Saw, that is renewal. It is concerned with rejuvenating ones energy and internal resources through techniques like prayer, yoga, meditation, reading good books and so on. This book was included in Time magazines list of the 25 most Influential Business Management Books.
About the Author
Stephen R. Covey was an American self-help author and speaker. His other books include Spiritual Roots of Human Relations, Principle Centered Leadership, The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child At a Time and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. Stephen R. Covey was born in 1932 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was a Doctor of Religious Education and he also had an MBA from Harvard University. He founded the Stephen R. Covey and Associates which later became Franklin Covey after merging with Franklin Quest. The firm offers productivity tools and training for both organizations and individuals. He received numerous awards including the Golden Gavel Award, The Sikhs 1998 International Man of Peace Award and the International Entrepreneur of the Year Award.