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Management guru’s 7 Habits book inspired millions

Stephen R. Covey was recognized in 1996 as one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, and was named among the world’s top 50 business thinkers in 2011 by Thinkers50.

RIC FELD/AP

Stephen R. Covey, author of the bestselling motivational book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, died on Monday at an Idaho hospital from injuries he suffered in a bicycle accident in April, family members said in a statement. He was 79.

Mr. Covey, a former professor at Brigham Young University in Utah, founded an executive training centre in Salt Lake City that merged in 1997 with Franklin Quest Co to form FranklinCovey, a leading provider of time-management seminars and publications.

The publicly traded company is perhaps best known for its line of Franklin Planner appointment calendars – which it markets along with books, workshops and other products based on its "Franklin System" of business management – and Mr. Covey's 7 Habits principles.

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Mr. Covey, a Salt Lake City native, earned a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University and a doctorate from Brigham Young.

But it was his seminal self-help guide to success in business, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, published in 1989, that made Mr. Covey a brand name.

He went on to write several more bestsellers about business management, including Principle-Centered Leadership, became a favourite motivational speaker on the Fortune 100 circuit and served as a personal consultant to organizations ranging from Procter & Gamble to NASA.

Mr. Covey was recognized in 1996 as one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Americans, and was named among the world's top 50 business thinkers in 2011 by Thinkers50, a group that compiles that list every other year.

His 7 Habits title has sold more than 20 million books in 38 languages worldwide, and the audio version has sold over two million copies, more than any non-fiction book ever released on tape, according to publisher Simon & Schuster.

The book spent five years on the New York Times bestseller list and begat a number of sequels, including his 2004 title, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, and his final work, The 3rd Alternative, published last year.

"Dr. Covey touched the lives of people around the world in very personal ways," Utah State president Stan Albrecht said in a statement. "He was an inspirational leader who was always a powerful voice for individual integrity, strong character and extreme trustworthiness in every aspect of life."

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