Author Stephen Covey Dies at 79

Author Stephen Covey, whose "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" sold more than 20 million copies, died Monday at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

In April, Covey lost control of his bike while riding down a hill in Provo, Utah. Covey became a household name when "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" was published in 1989. Covey's clients included three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies and scores of schools and government entities. "We believe that organizational behavior is individual behavior collectivized," Covey told Fortune magazine in 1994. 

Stephen Covey, '7 Habits' author, dies at 79

Covey said the idea for "7 Habits" came partly from Drucker, the management guru who claimed that "effectiveness is a habit." Some critics said Covey's Mormon beliefs were a particularly strong influence.

In "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," Covey writes about the need to be proactive, to "begin with the end in mind," habit No. 2, and "to seek first to understand, then be understood," habit No. 5.

Covey went on Mormon missions in England and Ireland. Part of his work involved training provincial heads of the church across Britain, an experience that altered his parents' plans for him to take over the family hotel business. Covey taught at Brigham Young until 1983, when he left to establish the Covey Leadership Center in Provo. Covey kept calm, which enabled him to continue conducting business while indulging his son. The lesson, Covey said, was Habit No. 4: "Think win-win."

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Stephen R. Covey. Covey also was the author of several other best sellers, including "First Things First," ''Principle-Centered Leadership," ''The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families," and "The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness."

Covey was "one of the world's foremost leadership authorities, organizational experts and thought leaders," according to a biography posted on the website of his 2011 book, "The 3rd Alternative."

Named in 1996 as one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Americans, according to the biography, Covey "made teaching principle-centered living and principle-centered leadership his life's work."

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert released a statement saying he was "saddened" to hear of the death of Covey, a "good friend."

Covey held a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Utah, a master's in business administration from Harvard and a doctorate from Brigham Young University. In 2010, Covey joined Utah State University's Jon M. Huntsman School of Business faculty as a tenured full professor, the biography said.

Covey and his wife, Sandra, lived in Provo, Utah.

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