How to sell your soul and still get into Heaven: Steven Covey’s epiphany‐inducing technology of effective selfhood
Cullen, John G. (2009) How to sell your soul and still get into Heaven: Steven Covey’s epiphany‐inducing technology of effective selfhood. Human Relations, 62 (8). pp. 1231-1254. ISSN 0018-7267
Steven Covey’s The 7 habits of highly effective people, one of the most influential and popular contemporary self-help texts, has resulted in the development a large multinational consulting business, several spin-off texts, and much imitation since its publication in 1989. An examination of the text, informed by Critical Discourse Analysis, is conducted with a view to unearthing the textual, discursive and socio-cultural practices that have enabled the work and its message to become so popular. 7 habits is an epiphanogenic (or epiphany-inducing) technology emerging from an ‘effectiveness’ discipline supported by three socio-cultural trends: the postmodern, saturated self; the coming of neo-liberal society and the financialization of the self; and the subjective turn. Covey’s discipline of effectiveness aims to produce a self that is simultaneously de-saturated, financialized and expressivist, but supportive of conservative, universalist and late capitalist modes of being.
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