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RIP Stephen Covey: Social media celebrates self-help guru's life

July 16, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • Stephen Covey, author of the best-selling book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," died in an Idaho hospital at age 79, his family said Monday.
Stephen Covey, author of the best-selling book "The 7 Habits of Highly… (Luis Tejido / European Pressphoto…)

"RIP Stephen R. Covey." The self-help guru died Monday at the age of 79, and reaction to his passing went almost exactly as the self-help guru might have scripted it.

Instead of mourning his death, fans and followers inspired by Covey used social media platforms to celebrate his life.

Covey's most famous book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effectively People," was published in 1989 and sold more than 20 million copies. The book started out, on the face of it, as a management tome, but for many it held the key to living a life rich with personal success as well as professional achievement.

For Covey, the two went hand in hand: The same principles that helped a person succeed at work should, and could, be applied to a home life. He preached a work-life balance.

In Covey's view, for example, a man who was a husband and father wasn't actually succeeding if he excelled at work while his personal life lay in shambles due to too many long hours at the office.

On Twitter Monday, "RIP Stephen Covey" was trending, fueled in part by the many tweets that honored Covey by passing along some of his most beloved words of wisdom. Just one example:

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

To a newcomer, such words might seem a bit trite, or unoriginal. That, of course, is because many of these quotes originated with Covey.

Covey helped elevate self-help tomes from a genre that might be tucked away for private reading to something that a business executive would proudly crack open in his or her first-class seat.

A former Brigham Young University business management professor, Covey also went on to write a number of sequels and spinoffs, including "The Third Alternative" (2011) and "The Eighth Habit" (2005).

His death was attributed in part to injuries from a bicycling accident in April.

Sean Covey told the Salt Lake City Tribune that his father was surrounded by family at the end.

"Our family, all nine kids and our spouses and my mom, were able to gather together again to be with him for the last few hours of his life, which is what he always wanted," Sean Covey said in an email, according to the Tribune.

The paper reported that the family issued the following statement: "We extend our heartfelt gratitude for all of the love and prayers that have been showered upon Stephen and our family from all around the globe over the past several months."

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