So I was wandering through my Twitter feed when I noticed that one of the trending topics was RIP Stephen Covey and I was stunned for a moment.  OK, OK, I know everyone dies but I was rather shocked that this guy had died.  I was even more shocked to realize he was 79 years old!  I thought he was a lot younger.

I cannot claim to know him personally but his book [amazon_link id=”0684858398″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The 7 habits of Highly Effective People[/amazon_link] had really made something of an impact on my life.  In fact, I just obtained another copy of it recently to help me in my current journey.

The Seven Habits

The first time I was exposed to this book was at Church.  My lovely Pastor at the time had read it and was using it to inspire us on to higher and better things.  It probably was one of the first self-help type books I ever read and there were things in it that I had not heard anywhere before.  Things like

  • ‘Win-Win’ – trying to find solutions that work for all parties involved in a transaction.  It did not have to be ‘Dog eat Dog’.  Having come from a fairly aggressive African society, where the person with the loudest argument or the most guns won, it was something of a bit of fresh air.
  • Seek first to understand and then be understood –  Again, this was a novel concept to me.  I tended to talk and talk and talk over people until they had no choice but to back down unless they were a lot more ‘in your face’ than I was.
  • Paradigms – How do you view the world?  That was another new concept for my younger self.  It is quite surprising how different things can seem between two people with different paradigms.  It affects completely the way you view the world.
  • Begin with the end in mind – Another big idea.

This book was a groundbreaking one, as is proven by the numbers sold – 15 million copies according to the copy I have dated 2004 (so how much more has been sold now?)

I say all this to give honour to a man who challenged a lot of people’s thinking and caused a new generation of thinkers to spring from his words.  If you have not read this book, then you really should get to it.  It is possible that it will change the way you do things now and for the rest of your life.

Stephen Covey was a great man who managed to die surrounded by his family – To be successful and still have a family these days is something to be proud of.   He has left behind him a great legacy.

Rest in Peace, Stephen Covey.

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