Stephen Covey, Influential Author and Speaker, Dead at 79

Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” died today at age 79. As an author and motivational speaker, Covey influenced millions of businesspeople across a spectrum of industries, including public relations. The book, published in 1989, has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide and touts the power of integrity, dignity, fairness and adaptability—principles all PR experts know well.

The book focuses on fundamental ideals and the concept that the goodness within human beings is also innate to everything human beings create, such as businesses and corporate cultures. Covey used anecdotes and analysis to explain how following virtues and common decency can lead to success on every level in life.

Many professionals incorporated Covey’s conclusions into their business models and management philosophies. Covey’s impact on the business world, however, also created controversy as detractors claim the author simply profited from repackaging common sense (which many argue isn’t so common—especially today).

As a PR professional, did you encounter “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” or any of Covey’s teachings in your career development? If so, what impact—positive, negative, none at all—did it have on your career?