SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Considered a pioneer in the self-help genre aimed at helping readers become more productive in their lives, author Stephen R. Covey had an enormous impact on both the corporate world and the personal lives of millions.
The well-known motivational speaker and author of the best-selling “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” which sold more than 20 million copies in 38 languages, died Monday at a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho, due to complications from a bicycle accident in April, according to his family.
“In his final hours, he was surrounded by his loving wife and each one of his children and their spouses, just as he always wanted,” the family said in a statement. He was 79.
Covey was hospitalized in April after being knocked unconscious in the bike crash on a steep road in the foothills of Provo, Utah, about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City.
“This was one of the first books in recent times that was really directed at prioritizing the way you worked, so you could be more effective as an individual” said Adrian Zackheim, president and publisher of Portfolio, a business imprint at Penguin Group (USA). “It wasn’t about how to be a manager or how or to run a company. It was about how to conduct yourself.
“Covey’s influence was very pervasive,” added Zackheim, a rival publisher. “It was a book that applied to everybody. You would hear about whole organizations where everybody in the company was expected to read the book.”
Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. called Covey “an influence in both the business and self-help genres as he imparted a system and approach to life that worked in business and personal situations.”
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.
“Remember, to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know,” Covey wrote in the foreword.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Stephen R. Covey. His seminal work, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” will forever be one of the most influential books in the field of self-improvement,” Carolyn K. Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, Inc., which published his book, said in a statement.
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 the co-founder of Utah-based professional services company FranklinCovey. He lived with his wife in Provo, and has nine children and 52 grandchildren.
At the time of his bicycle accident, his publicist, Debra Lund, said doctors had not found any signs of long-term damage to his head.
“He just lost control on his bike and crashed,” Lund said. “He was wearing a helmet, which is good news.”
Catherine Sagers, Covey’s daughter, told The Salt Lake Tribune in April that her father had suffered some bleeding on his brain after the accident.
A telephone message left for Sagers on Monday wasn’t returned.
Sean Covey said his father was at a family gathering in Montana when his health began to deteriorate and he was rushed to the closest hospital.
“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 to The Tribune.
Rindels reported from Las Vegas. Associated Press writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report from New York.
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