The One Thing You Need To Know: ...About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success
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The One Thing You Need To Know: ...About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  711 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Following the success of the landmark bestsellers First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham offers a dramatically new way to understand the art of success.
With over 1.6 million copies of First, Break All the Rules (co-authored with Curt Coffman) and Now, Discover Your Strengths (co-authored with Donald O. Clifton) in print, Cambridge-...more
Audio CD, Abridged, 3 pages
Published March 7th 2005 by Simon & Schuster Audio
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Anthony Deluca
The One Thing You Need To Know
By: Markus Buckijngham
Copyright 2005
Reviewed March 2008
Listened to Unabridged Audiobook

There is not really one thing you need to know that is the same for everyone. The book explores many ideas of what the one thing could be, and then in the end admits it would be impossible to think that there could be one thing that is right for everything and every situation. There certainly can be one thing that a particular person should focus on, but that would be different fo...more
Matt Burgess
The One Thing You Need to Know: …About Great Managing, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success (2005), Marcus Buckingham

I think the title of Marcus Buckingham's bestseller should be changed. It would more appropriately be called the "90 Some Odd Things You Need to Know: …About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success" or "The 5 Things About Great Managing, 10 Things About Great Leading and 4.5 Things About Sustained Individual Success You Need to Know". The title of...more
Cathy Allen
Since I truly believe you should read this book, or at least the two-page summary of it I posted to my website at, the only thing I will tell you about the "one thing" is that it is actually three things: one for managing, one for leading, and one for success as an individual.

Buckingham has put the lid on the question of the difference between managing and leading. I suppose the debate will go on, but I am now clear in my own mind. Great managers are not necessarily g...more
I liked it, it was recommended by a patron, so I didn't know what to expect.

Here is what I want to remember about this book:

A great manager transforms each employee's talents into performance. They create a state of mind in each employee such that the employee has a fully realistic assessment of the difficulty of the challenge ahead and at the same time, an unrealistically optimistic belief in their ability to overcome it.

Great leaders rally people to a better future. They discover what is unive...more
Basics for managing: pick good people, set clear expectations, recognize excellence and praise it, and show you care for your people.
The one distinguishing factor for great managers:
Great managers play chess instead of checkers, they recognize the differences in people and play their people to their strengths (in checkers all the pieces have the same moves but chess the pieces have different capabilities).
Great leaders discover what is universal and capitalize on it.
A leader rallies his follower...more
1. Management: Capitalize on Uniqueness
a. What does this mean? Good managers don’t make their employees fit into the model of a job description. Rather, they pay attention to their employees behavior, attributes, etc. and create/customize positions that fit their interests.
b. Action for me: I need to figure out how I can better utilize the “loud/social” ushers, rather than trying to get them to be more focused. How can they be repurposed as programs, etc. to capitalize on their engaging persona...more
Omar Halabieh
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "So, these are our three criteria for identifying the controlling insight, the One Thing: it must apply across a wide range of situations, it must serve as the multiplying factor that elevates situations, it must serve as the the multiplying factor that elevates average to excellent and it must lead to more precise actions."

2- "Success come most readily to those who reject balance, who instead pursue strategies that are...more
The One Thing You Need to Know:... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success
Marcus Buckingham
Free Press

In each of his books, Buckingham heavily depends upon the wealth of research data that the Gallup Organization has accumulated over the years. In this volume, he introduces a self-audit mechanism which creates the StrengthsFinder profile, recently renamed the Clifton StrengthsFinder in memory of Dr. Donald O. Clifton to the chief architect of the items contained with...more
This was one of the textbooks for a class I took on management for ministry, and is part of an interesting trend where Church leaders, especially evangelicals, look outside of the church to professionals and corporate environments for examples of what good leadership and best practices are. Whether it's DISC profiles, or referencing Jack Welch, or various political figures, there's a trend in looking outside the walls of the Church for some of the best practices. As a general rule, I think that'...more
Although I bought this for my then highly successful, business-woman girlfriend, I decided to peruse the pages myself. Buckingham is the master of business books, and I've discovered that many of them grace the syllabi of classes in MBA programs at Harvard. Not that Harvard is the be-all-end-all of what's going to help someone or what a good "business self-help book" is, but I have to give them some credence. This book is part of a series, all of which is good, from the perspective of both a psy...more
Keith Kendall
Even though I knew there couldn't be one thing that was universal, I still felt a bit betrayed initially because the book does not identify one thing that is universally applicable. However, that would not have been realistic, and Buckingham knows that. He does say that there is one thing that is the core concept in a particular situation.

Early in the book he gave the example of marriage that stuck with me. The one thing in marriage is that the person, for example the man, feels that his wife i...more
Uwe Hook
Insightful book about leadership, management and sustainable success. More for the advanced manager and not just beginners. Recommended. A few memorable quotes:

- (Talking about marriage) "Find the most generous explanation for each other's behavior and believe it."

- "The one thing all great managers know about great managing is this: Discover what is unique about each person and capitalize on it."

- "The great leader comes to a conclusion about his core customer, his organization's strength, its...more
Mike Koch
Nov 21, 2009 Mike Koch rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by: Dr. Chris Ruetzal
Excellent material. Very well structured and has all the new ideas and approaches for leadership and management. It defines both concepts with good examples and makes it easy to understand the difference between leadership and management.

Why 3 stars and not 5? The book was a little long winded for my taste. Admittedly, I was reading this book as an assignment in a business strategy class, and therefore, not of my own volition; that being said, perhaps reading this book felt like more of a homew...more
Tuhina Neogi
Marvelously written by Marcus Buckingham, this books gives you an insight on true qualities of a manager and leader. It tells you about the 'One Thing' that can help you achieve what you want to do. But most importantly, it teaches you on how to be a 'twenty percenter' by helping you to find what you love to do to and sustain your success.
Weaved wonderfully with simple words and easy language, this book is meant to help you in the long run of your career. Those who aren't accustomed to non-ficti...more
I opened this book with considerable skepticism. Marcus Buckingham makes it look too easy. His books are bestsellers, his speaking fees are north of $40,000 per hour-long talk, and he's constantly on TV touting his wares. What's not to hate?

And yet, the book delivers. There really is a good argument for finding the one thing about managing, leading, and individual success that is more important than anything else. And by the end of the book you'll be persuaded that Buckingham has found each of...more
Ed Soehnel
This book was OK. I give it a 3 out of 5 stars. It was a quick read and did not really tell me anything new. However, there is value to it because I got to see things from the author’s perspective, how he thinks and how he approaches challenges and problems. There is always value in learning how others approach and solve issues in their lives, whether its personal or professional.

I also don’t subscribe to narrowing down challenges and problems to one thing. In my experience, its usually 3 to 5 t...more
Shaeley Santiago
Focuses in on "the one thing" for managers, leaders, and individuals to attain success. The book ends with an argument for building your strengths by not doing the things that weaken you. Feeds right into Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance. #bookaday
A great follow up to Buckingham's 'First, Break All the Rules' and its primary theme of managing to people's strengths, this book discusses the continuum of great management, great leadership, and sustaining. I love the whole concept of "intentional imbalance" in the working lives of great leaders, how they are always looking back at their past work, identifying what went well, tweaking, repeating, stretching themselves. Going to blog on the topic over on
Edwin B
In the arena of work life, Marcus says don't bother AT ALL on working on your weaknesses, work on your strengths instead. That's got more bang for the buck. The job of the manager is to capitalize on what their subordinate is uniquely talented at, and to put them to work in their area of strength. This is a bit distinct from (but complementary to) the job of the leader, who instead needs to provide a common and clear direction, and focus and mission for everyone.
I'm a big fan of his work with strengths...but this book seemed a little like it was written to make $$$, rather than providing additional insight. It touts 'the one thing' which is really along the lines of 'know thyself'. Still the book is a relatively easy read and does provide plenty of opportunity for thinking and self reflection. It's well worth reading...just isn't the rosetta stone for leadership & managent.
I liked this book by Buckingham better than his first one. He is a good writer, and compared to other management books it's positively literary! Not boring. Check. Filled with practical suggestions. Check. Not new-age dreck. Check. No charts! Check. I like all those qualities and I learned some good tips on the importance of taking each individual's differences and learning what makes them tick and how to motivate them.
There are lots of books, articles, and training courses on great management, leadership, and personal effectiveness. Buckingham narrows down to one thing each that you must do right:

1. Effective Managers - know their people, know their strengths
2. Effective Leaders - Be clear; to define the future in vivid terms
3. Effective People - Learn your strengths. Then discover what you don't like doing and stop doing it.
At the top level, this book offers basic advice for improving your life in terms of something you can do. Buckingham draws on his expertise as a researcher considering alternatives and presenting real life examples to illustrate his points.

The book also offers key ideas for management and leadership, using similar illustrations to compare and contrast the roles against each other.
If you are a manager/supervisor READ this book! Actually if you are a good manager you already have been reading up on leadership and management topics and this book is on your list. (Hint, hint, wink, wink) This book is clearly written, informative, and enjoyable. I think the book aims to motivate readers to act differently. The author provides concrete examples and specific lessons.
Well it turns out there is really more than one thing... sort of. Another great book by Marcus Buckingham and I felt like the content was super unique but the question of what is the one thing that all great leaders or managers etc need to know is a worthy question and this text does a great job of answering that question.
As with most business/self-help books, this could be condensed to at least half of its length. There's some good ideas in here, some fresh, some not so much. It's a little heavy on the anecdotes and a little light on the supporting studies, which is why I really rate it as a 3 star.
I read this book for a work related book club. So glad I did! I never read this kind of stuff but this book was so enjoyable. I can't recommend it enough in regard to understanding leaders, managers and individuals in the work force, the roles we play and who is successful.
The one thing you need to know is all about people and relationships. That is the basics of the book. The author tells you this many different ways and times - a little boring, may be better as a book on tape.
Kate Hannon
Not very well-written, and full of trite quotes from sports legends. A much better and more useful read for those in management/leadership positions, as opposed to individual employees not charged with managing others.
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In a world where efficiency and competency rule the workplace, where do personal strengths fit in?

It's a complex question, one that intrigued Cambridge-educated Marcus Buckingham so greatly, he set out to answer it by challenging years of social theory and utilizing his nearly two decades of research experience as a Sr. Researcher at Gallup Organization to break through the preconceptions about a...more
More about Marcus Buckingham...
First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently Now, Discover Your Strengths Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance StandOut: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently

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