The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a business and self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey. Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.
Covey’s best-known book has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since its first publication in 1989. The audio version became the first non-fiction audio-book in U.S. publishing history to sell more than one million copies. Covey argues against what he calls “The Personality Ethic”, something he sees as prevalent in many modern self-help books. He promotes what he labels “The Character Ethic”: aligning one’s values with so-called “universal and timeless” principles. Covey adamantly refuses to conflate principles and values; he sees principles as external natural laws, while values remain internal and subjective. Covey proclaims that values govern people’s behavior, but principles ultimately determine the consequences. Covey presents his teachings in a series of habits, manifesting as a progression from dependence via independence to interdependence.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has sold more than 25 million copies in 40 languages worldwide, and the audio version has sold 1.5 million copies, and remains one of the best selling nonfiction business books. In August 2011 Time listed 7 Habits as one of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books”.
U.S. President Bill Clinton invited Covey to Camp David to counsel him on how to integrate the book into his presidency.