Stephen R. Covey – Author Bio, Career, Complete List of Books, and Inspirational Quotes


Stephen R. Covey

American Educator, Businessman, Motivational Speaker, and Author

Stephen Covey was a renowned American educator, businessman, motivational speaker, and non-fiction author, best known for his highly popular book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Stephen Covey: Early Life, Education, and Family

Early Life and Education

Stephen Richards Covey was born on October 24, 1932, to Irene Louise Richards and Stephen Glenn Covey and grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Louise was the daughter of Stephen L. Richards, a counselor and apostle in the first presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Moreover, Covey was the grandson of Stephen Mack Covey who instituted the original Little America Wyoming near Granger, Wyoming.

As a child, Covey was highly athletic; however, he developed a hip disorder known as slipped capital femoral epiphysis in his adolescence, thus, he had to shift his focus toward academics. He became highly active in his academic pursuits and was a member of his school’s debate team. He graduated from high school early. 

After high school, Covey attended the University of Utah where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He went on to obtain an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Doctor of Religious Education (DRE) from Brigham Young University. Covey also received several honorary doctorates, Honorary Doctor of Arts, Honorary Doctor of Arts and Humane Letters, Honorary Doctor of Business, Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Honorary Doctor of Liberal Arts, Honorary Doctor of Laws, Honorary Doctor of Letters,

Honorary Doctor of Science, and Honorary Doctor of Mathematics

Stephen Covey Family, Personal Life, and Death

Stephen Covey was married to Sandra Merrill with whom he has nine children: Sean Covey, Stephen M. R. Covey, Cynthia Haller, Maria Cole, David Covey, Catherine Sagers, Colleen Covey Brown, Jenny Pitt, and Joshua Covey. Covey lived with his wife and their family in Provo, Utah.

In April 2012, Covey – an avid cyclist – was cycling in Rock Canyon Park when he lost control of his bike and fell. He was wearing a helmet but it unfortunately slipped and his head hit the pavement. Covey also suffered from cracked ribs and a partially collapsed lung. On July 2012, at the age of 79, Covey passed away due to complications resulting from the bike accident. 

Stephen Covey Career: Books and Other Projects

Upon completion of his studies, Covey began teaching at Brigham Young University. Inspired by his ancestors, he also followed their footsteps and became a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ in England. In 1962, he joined the Irish Mission of the Church and became its first president. While serving the English church, Covey wrote several spiritual works, including Spiritual Roots of Human Relations (1970) and The Divine Center (1982).

In the late 1980s, Covey started working on a self-help book and finally, he published The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in 1989. The book was an instant success and since its release, it has sold over 25 million copies in 40 languages around the world. 

In 2004, Covey launched the sequel to The Seven Habits, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

Aside from being a bestselling author, Covey was also an educator and has initiated several projects. Covey was a professor at the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University where he helped establish the Master of Organizational Behavior program. He also served as an assistant to the university president while at BYU. Later on in his life, Covey returned to academia as a professor at the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, where he held the Huntsman Presidential Chair.

In 1985, Covey founded Stephen R. Covey and Associates which became The Covey Leadership Center in 1987. Eventually, it merged with Franklin Quest in 1997 and became FranklinCovey – a global professional service firm and specialty retailer that sells both productivity and training tools to both organizations and individuals. 

Stephen Covey Honors and Awards

Covey has received several honors and awards throughout his career.

  • The Thomas More College Medallion for continuing service to humanity
  • The National Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • The 1994 International Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • One of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential Americans of 1996
  • The Sikh’s 1998 International Man of Peace Award
  • 2003 Fatherhood Award from the National Fatherhood Initiative
  • 2004 Golden Gavel award from Toastmasters International
  • Accepted the inaugural Corporate Core Values Award from the California University of Pennsylvania on behalf of the FranklinCovey Corporation[citation needed] at the “national Franklin Covey Conference” (December 2006).
  • Inducted into the Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum Hall of Fame on November 14, 2009
  • Maharishi Award from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa

Stephen Covey Books

Listed below is Covey’s complete list of books.

  • 2016. Primary Greatness: The 12 Levers of Success. Simon and Schuster.
  • 2014, 1998. The 7 habits of highly effective familiesSt. Martin’s Press.
  • 2014, 2008. The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child At a Time. Simon and Schuster.
  • 2014. The Leader in Me: How Schools Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time. Simon and Schuster.
  • 2013, 2004. The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatnessSimon and Schuster.
  • 2012. The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems. Simon and Schuster.
  • 2009. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Network Marketing Professionals. ISBN 978-1-933057-78-1.
  • 2006. The speed of trust: The one thing that changes everything. Simon and Schuster.
  • 2006. Servant-leadership and community leadership in the 21st century. The International Journal of Servant-Leadership, 2(1), 103-109.
  • 2006. Servant leadership. Leadership Excellence, 23(12), 5-6.
  • 2006. The ultimate question: Driving good profits and true growth. Harvard Business School Press.
  • 2006. Leading in the knowledge worker age. The leader of the future, 2, 215-226.
  • 2004. 6 Events: The Restoration Model for Solving Life’s Problems. ISBN 1-57345-187-8.
  • 2004. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Free Press.
  • 2000. Living the Seven Habits. ISBN 0-684-85716-2.
  • 1999. Living the 7 habits: stories of courage and inspiration. Simon and Schuster.
  • 1998. Servant-leadership from the inside out. Insights on leadership: Service, stewardship, spirit, and servant leadership.
  • 1998. The ideal community. In Community of the Future (pp. 49-58).
  • 1997. The habits of effective organizations. Leader to leader, 1997(3), 22-28.
  • 1996. Three roles of the leader in the new paradigm. The leader of the future, 149-160.
  • 1995. First things firstSimon and Schuster.
  • 1994. First things first. EXECUTIVE EXCELLENCE, 11, 3-3.
  • 1992. The seven habits of highly effective people. Journal of Et Nursing, 19(3), 103.
  • 1991. The taproot of trust. Executive Excellence, 8(12), 3-4.
  • 1990. Principle Centered Leadership. Simon and Schuster.
  • 1989. The seven habits of highly effective leaders. Simon & Schuster, New York. Coviello, Decio, Nicola Persico, and Andrea Ichino, (2014). Time Allocation and Task juggling. The American Economic Review, 104(2), 609-23.
  • 1982. The Divine Center. Bookcraft Pubs.
  • 1973. Spiritual roots of human relations. Deseret Book Co.
  • 1971. How to succeed with people. Shadow Mountain.
  • 1970. Spiritual Roots of Human Relations. ISBN 0-87579-705-9.

Stephen R. Covey Quotes

Here are some quotes from Covey to inspire and motivate you.

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

― Stephen R. Covey

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

― Stephen R. Covey

“Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw”

― Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

― Stephen R. Covey

“Make small commitments and keep them. Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

“Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.”

― Stephen R. Covey

“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”

― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”

― Stephen Covey

“To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.”

― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

“Many people seem to think that success in one area can compensate for failure in other areas. But can it really?…True effectiveness requires balance.”

― Stephen Covey

“The more aware we are of our basic paradigms, maps, or assumptions, and the extent to which we have been influenced by our experience, the more we can take responsibility for those paradigms, examine them, test them against reality, listen to others and be open to their perceptions, thereby getting a larger picture and a far more objective view.”

― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

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