Primary Greatness Book Summary - Primary Greatness Book explained in key points
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Primary Greatness summary

Stephen Covey

The 12 Levers of Success

4.6 (312 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

Primary Greatness by Stephen Covey is a collection of insightful essays that emphasize on the basic principles of human character. Covey explains how nurturing primary greatness can lead to lasting fulfillment through practical advice and real-life examples.

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    Primary Greatness
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    Inner character is the driver of true success, and it can be developed.

    What does success look like? Is it Armani suits, Rolex watches, cherry-red Ferraris and a daily glass of champagne on the deck of a Long Island beach house? Sure, these might be some of the symbols of wealth – but they’re certainly not signs of success.

    True success can’t be seen. It comes from within and is generated by what the author calls primary greatness, which naturally comes to those who embody admirable qualities such as integrity, honor, persistence, selflessness and a commitment to a purpose that transcends the personal.

    Secondary greatness, in contrast, can be seen. It’s the appearance of success – the money and the fame and all the attendant status symbols, from cars to suits to houses.

    However, whereas primary greatness leads to fulfillment and inner peace, secondary greatness dead-ends at fleeting pleasures and financial security.

    Now, if you haven’t spent your life fostering stalwart inner attributes like honor and selflessness, don’t fret. It’s been scientifically proven that such traits can be developed.

    In Michigan, back in 1965, the Perry Preschool Project began following the lives of 123 inner-city preschoolers. They were divided into two groups – test and control – and the test group learned, at an early age, to delay gratification by engaging in boring and low-reward tasks.

    Fast-forward 50 years, and those in the test group were much more successful. Compared with those in the control group, more of the test-group members had graduated and found employment, and fewer had been arrested. All this because, in preschool, they’d built some primary greatness by developing attributes like integrity and persistence.

    So what can you do to develop your character?

    Well, as you’ll soon learn, there are 12 levers of success, a set of principles that will serve as the foundation for your primary greatness. These levers are integrity, contribution, priority, personal sacrifice, service, reciprocity, diversity, responsibility, loyalty, learning, teaching and renewal.

    These 12 levers are the result of the author’s extensive research. He’s taught and learned from thousands of people worldwide, and distilled his findings into the essentials for primary greatness.

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    What is Primary Greatness about?

    Primary Greatness (2015) explains that anyone can live a fulfilling life. It’s as simple as prioritizing the things that are truly important. Instead of trying to appear successful by accumulating status, fame and money, you should focus on finding true success by developing your inner character – a task that the 12 levers of success make simple.

    Primary Greatness Review

    Primary Greatness (2015) is a book that focuses on uncovering the true greatness within each of us and how to live a life of integrity and character. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Packed with practical wisdom, it provides actionable advice on how to prioritize values and principles in our lives.
    • By sharing compelling stories and examples, the book helps us understand the importance of living a life aligned with our core values.
    • With its profound insights into building strong relationships and achieving personal fulfillment, this book is far from boring; it is inspiring and thought-provoking.

    Best quote from Primary Greatness

    I dont care how much you know until I know how much you care.

    —Stephen Covey
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    Who should read Primary Greatness?

    • People curious about what constitutes success
    • Self-improvers interested in character development
    • Those seeking a meaningful life

    About the Author

    Stephen Covey is the author of the internationally best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has sold over 25 million copies. Because of his work toward developing business and education, he was recognized as one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans.

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    Primary Greatness FAQs 

    What is the main message of Primary Greatness?

    The main message of Primary Greatness is that true success is achieved through character and principles.

    How long does it take to read Primary Greatness?

    The reading time for Primary Greatness varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Primary Greatness a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Primary Greatness is worth reading as it offers valuable insights into personal development and the importance of living a life of integrity.

    Who is the author of Primary Greatness?

    The author of Primary Greatness is Stephen Covey.

    What to read after Primary Greatness?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Primary Greatness, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield
    • The 8th Habit by Stephen R. Covey
    • The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
    • Live Life in Crescendo by Stephen R. Covey and Cynthia Covey Haller
    • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey
    • Trust and Inspire by Stephen M.R. Covey
    • First Things First by Stephen R. Covey
    • As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
    • Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill