Must Read: "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"
Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls "true north" principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.
Covey argues against what he calls "The Personality Ethic," something he sees as prevalent in many modern self-help books. He promotes what he labels "The Character Ethic": aligning one's values with so-called "universal and timeless" principles. Covey adamantly refuses to conflate principles and values; he sees principles as external natural laws, while values remain internal and subjective. Covey proclaims that values govern people's behavior, but principles ultimately determine the consequences. Covey presents his teachings in a series of habits, manifesting as a progression from dependence via independence to interdependence.