Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey

Formal First Name
10/24/1932 - 7/16/2012

Stephen Covey was one of the world's foremost leadership authorities, organizational experts, and thought leaders. He is best known for his research and model: the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He made teaching principle-centered living and principle-centered leadership his life's work. He provided training services to various leading international organizations for more than 30 years. His combination of intellect and empathy made him a truly unique and visionary individual.

Professional Experience

Academic History


  1. Be proactive.
  2. Begin with the end in mind.
  3. Put first things first.
  4. Think win-win.
  5. Seek first to understand.
  6. Synergize.
  7. Sharpen the saw.


  • Covey was born in Salt Lake City and grew up on an egg farm outside the city.
  • His promising athletic career was cut short by degeneration in his legs, causing him to use crutches for three years as a teenager.
  • He sometimes preached the Mormon doctrine on Boston Common.


  • Covey entered the University of Utah at 16 and earned a degree in business administration.
  • He spent two years in Britain as a Mormon missionary before returning to the United States to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • After another missionary stint, in Ireland, he earned a doctorate in religious education from Brigham Young University. His thesis was on “success literature” in American history.
  • At Brigham Young, he became an assistant to the university’s president and began teaching his self-help ideas on campus, drawing as many as 1,000 students in a single class.


  • Covey was a Mormon. Some saw large elements of Mormon theology in his work, though his language was ecumenical.
  • He denied any Mormon bias in his books, saying he drew inspiration from the Scriptures and from history’s great thinkers.
  • His book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, sold more than 25 million copies worldwide and also became the first audiobook to sell more than a million copies.

  • In 1996, Time magazine named Covey one of the 25 most influential Americans.
  • Forbes called “Seven Habits” one of the top 10 business management books ever.
  • He received 10 honorary doctorate degrees.


  • In 1983, he gambled everything he owned on starting the Covey Leadership Center, a training and consulting concern in Provo, Utah.
  • In 1997, the Covey Leadership Center merged with Franklin Quest to become the Franklin Covey Company, which now operates in more than 50 countries.