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Now, Discover Your Strengths: The revolutionary Gallup program that shows you how to develop your unique talents and strengths

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The 20th anniversary edition of Now, Discover Your Strengths comes with an access code to the Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment. This updated assessment includes reports and resources that go far beyond the standardized reports of the older assessment by providing you with personalized insight statements unique to your specific combination of strengths.

Many people have little sense of their talents and strengths, much less the ability to build their lives around them. Instead, they are raised and taught to become experts in their weaknesses — and spend their lives trying to fix them — while their strengths lie dormant.

Led by Don Clifton, the Father of Strengths-Based Psychology, Gallup created a revolutionary program to help people identify their talents; develop them into strengths; and enjoy consistent, near-perfect performance. Twenty years ago, Gallup released  Now, Discover Your Strengths  to bring this program to the world.

At the heart of this book is CliftonStrengths, the assessment that is the product of decades of research and hundreds of thousands of interviews to identify the most prevalent human strengths. CliftonStrengths reveals 34 dominant talent themes that you can translate into personal and career success. To develop this assessment, Gallup conducted psychological profiles with more than 2 million individuals to help people around the world focus and perfect these themes. Since  Now, Discover Your Strengths  was first released two decades ago, more than 20 million people worldwide have taken the CliftonStrengths assessment.

The 20th anniversary edition includes a unique access code to take CliftonStrengths — previously known as StrengthsFinder 2.0 — which is a significantly more robust program than the assessment that appeared in the original edition of the book. This web-based assessment analyzes your instinctive reactions and immediately presents you with your top five themes.

Once you know which of the 34 themes you lead with — such as Achiever, Activator, Empathy, Futuristic and Strategic — the book will show you how to use your top themes for your own development, for your success as a manager and for the success of your organization.

With accessible and profound insights into how to turn talents into strengths, and with immediate online feedback from the CliftonStrengths assessment at its core, Now, Discover Your Strengths is one of the most groundbreaking and powerful business books ever written.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2001

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 687 reviews
Profile Image for Andrea McDowell.
569 reviews314 followers
March 11, 2012

I've to this one with a solid decade of reading neuroscience and positive psychology behind me, so not only am I already familiar with the research he cites, but I am well aware of when it is misused. Let's just get this out of the way before we discuss any strengths (haha) the book may have, as I have yet to see its weaknesses covered in any of the reviews:

a) it is NOT TRUE that you can't significantly strengthen your weaknesses. Read The Brain that Changes Itself for a good introduction. Saying that most of us DON'T change is NOT the same thing. Even his own statistics don't support him: yes, you can draw a 0.7 to 0.9 correlation between people's scores on personality tests over time, but this is an AVERAGE--there will be some people with a 0.99 correlation and other people with a 0.5 correlation. Some people do change significantly over time, and it is worth discussing how and why, and when this is important. Not to mention that a 0.7 correlation is impressive, but it implies a CHANGE of 0.3--and that's not insignificant. (I've read a few of his books at this point and parts of this are drawn from more than one of them.)

It takes a lot of hard work and effort over a serious amount of time to really change an aspect of personality, and it likely is not worth it if you're trying to tackle something benign like "I hate public speaking." But some people's 'weaknesses' are serious character defects that cause harm to their friends, families and colleagues, and these folks should absolutely be expected to put the time and effort required into real change. Moreover, much research has shown that it CAN be done. So wtf, Buckingham?

b) The ipsative nature of the scoring makes the tool of use only on an individual level, though the author argues that organizations can use this in hiring. Nuh uh. No way.

So, the strengthsfinder gives you your top five strengths in business contexts. Handy, if you're trying to figure out what job to take or a continuing ed course or how to tackle some big project at work. But.

But it doesn't give you a SCORE. Just a list of your top five. Just because you and your best friend both have "empathy" as a top strength doesn't mean you're equally empathic; indeed, just because your best friend's top strength is "empathy" and it doesn't even appear on your top five doesn't mean you're not in fact MORE empathic than your friend. Maybe your best friend is mediocre in everything and even their top strengths are not very strong. This is harmless so long as it is used for self-discovery and planning, but used for hiring and promotions, as Buckingham openly advocates?

Stupidest idea ever. Sorry.

(deep breath)

So, the pluses: it was certainly rigorously researched and the central thesis of focusing on developing strengths rather than correcting weaknesses has a lot to recommend it. Much research backs up their claim that this is a better use of resources for corporations, and that I will buy. I was amused by the test results (I am very good at thinking: I like thinking abstractly, thinking about concepts, thinking about strategies, collecting thoughts, and then, when all of this is done, thinking about my values and beliefs. And yes, those are my top five strengths. They do seem somewhat repetitive, no?) and given previous experience with Seligmen et al's research on character strengths, not entirely convinced by them. I mean, yes, I love thinking--but it's not all I do, not even at work, and I got much more balanced results from less commercially-oriented researchers.

Incidentally, the tests developed by the positive psychology researchers, who are also looking at character strengths and how to focus on them, are available for free on the internet--you don't need to buy the book to take the test. Just an fyi. It's a brilliant marketing strategy but that doesn't make it sound science.
Profile Image for Michelle.
2,036 reviews233 followers
January 1, 2010
"If you ever have the opportunity to read this book and take the StrengthsFinder quiz, I HIGHLY recommend that you do so. I read this book as part of a leadership development program that I am in for work. I learned more about myself from this book and the quiz results than I have in the first twelve months of the program. I learned why I have issues with losing my train of thought when speaking, why I feel this incessant need to constantly achieve and learn something, why I value my alone time.[return][return]More importantly, I learned that these are strengths rather than shortcomings. Of even greater importance, I was given helpful hints how to make these strengths work for me on the job and in my personal life. This blog is an excellent example of something that is using my strength of the need to reflect and think about things thoroughly. The fact that I read so many books of almost every genre is due to my passion for learning, which I can channel into my now-complete MBA studies and my CMA studying. I also discovered that my ideal job is ideal because it perfectly suits each one of my top five strengths.[return][return]What was of interest to me was that each one of the other twenty-three members of my leadership group had just as profound experiences as I did. When it happens to all of us, when we all feel empowered by the information learned about ourselves, you know that this is a life-altering book.[return][return]I am so thankful that I took the time to read this book for my program. It was recommended but not required, but I feel I got more out of the quiz results and the list of my top five strengths because I read the book. (Of course, it is a book, and I'm not someone to turn down reading one.) I cannot stress enough how much my perception on who I am has changed as a result of reading this and getting my top five themes. It was worth every minute of reading."
Profile Image for Jeph.
72 reviews4 followers
July 27, 2010
Like many business books, Now, Discover Your Strengths is a book about discovering who you are, what you're naturally best at and how best to apply it in a business or life sense. Interestingly, this book approaches skill and education as secondary to natural gifts, tendencies and talents. The book uses an online personality test called StrengthsFinder (also utilized in other business books) to determine your 5 strongest "themes" of character such as Harmony, Empathy, Activator or Development. The book uses these by way of Dungeons and Dragons-type perks or skills that make each person unique and gifted in combination with other "themes" and skill sets.
Unfortunately, I can't give this book a full score, since these books assume you have purchased the material. Having done this gives you access to the StrengthsFinder online test, but if a reader borrows or rents this book he/she is left merely guessing. Until I find some way to access StrengthsFinder this book is less than half as beneficial as it would like to be.
Profile Image for Graeme Roberts.
505 reviews37 followers
December 30, 2017
This is a cynical bullshit book. The Gallup Organization conducted a survey of over two million people to discover the source of their strengths. They provide a login for an online survey to "discover" your strengths. No book, no survey, so they keep selling books to people who want to find out their talents, and don't we all. Of course, everyone that takes the test further "strengthens the validity of the database." Reading through the list of strengths it was very obvious to me what mine were, without even taking the test. After the test they give your five top "themes," which I found ridiculous, since I strongly identified with two or three times that number.

The themes were of several different types, and there was no logical, unifying consistency to them. They had identified buckets into which people appeared to plop, and these became convenient descriptors,like Harmony, Futuristic, Restorative, Fairness, or Positivity.

The appeal is similar to a How Good Are You in Bed quiz in Cosmopolitan magazine, and about as profound.

The only worthwhile insight is the simple but important idea that companies and organizations should build on the strengths of individuals, not try to correct or treat their weaknesses, which will never become strengths. I heartily agree, but didn't need Buckingham to tell me that.

Buckingham worked for Gallup then, but quickly launched a successful career as a guru on the basis of this crap. The newer Strengths Finder 2.0 apparently builds on it and may be better, but I will not bother to find out.
Profile Image for Farnoosh Brock.
Author 17 books219 followers
April 13, 2013
Yes, the title may be obvious but how many of us focus entirely on our strengths and not mind our weaknesses? The idea of managing a weakness to the point that it does not hinder us but still focusing and growing our strengths - now that is brilliant when put to practice. Thank you Marcus Buckingham!

Even though it took me a few years to leave my corporate job where I was all about overcoming my weaknesses and go into business for myself to let my strengths shine, I am GLAD I took the plunge.

In fact, I am in the midst of preparing a course for those who want to escape a miserable job, be it from Corporate America or any job anywhere - and to create a smart exit strategy, and I am quoting and using this book as a great resource.

The book is a great read and a reference for the future too. What the book lacks in the details around each strength area, it makes up for in articulating the differences between dominant talent, skill set and knowledge. For instance, while it is not easy to identify the exact mix of talent, skill and learning which goes into creating a superlative performance, the absence of talent is to blame in the case of sub par performance for the highly skilled and highly knowledgeable person. Talent we cannot produce; we can simply foster an environment to bring out its best.

ENJOY IT! And let those strengths shine. It does wonders for your happiness too!
Profile Image for Edival Santos.
24 reviews
February 13, 2018
Embora eu acredite muito mais em neuroplasticidade do que o livro apregoa e limita, eu tenho que reconhecer o valor da teoria dos Pontos Fortes e que devemos focar neles. O teste oferecido com o livro é muito bacana e achei que o resultado é muito satisfatório. O Guia Prático no final do livro também tem pontos muito bons para serem implementados em uma organização.
O que mais faz sentido para mim é que temos que nos tornar nota 9 ou 10 onde já somos muito bons e melhorar nos pontos fracos apenas até que eles não sejam limitantes para nós, Exemplo: não sou Analítico mas aprendi a me virar bem nesse campo pois ele é importante para minha função.
Profile Image for Ginger.
54 reviews
January 1, 2009
My strengths, which at first, 1-2 didn't make sense to me, but gradually I saw how they rule my life in every way. My entire family did this b-c my sister gave us all the books and it made for great holiday discussions and greater understanding and appreciation for our unique strengths. I also bought the books for all my co-workers and we had a discussion date to understand what each of us brings to our workplace and how we could better position ourselves to utilize our strengths. Every person in life would benefit from this. NOTE: you have to buy this new to get the one-time code in the book to take your strengths test online after chapter 3, the rest of the book is referencing your results.
116 reviews11 followers
August 5, 2007
My supervisor mentioned this book to me so I started reading it. It also includes a website that you visit to take a strengths finder test which is suppose to help you excel at your job (and for this reason, you should buy the book new so you have the code to use). The idea is rather than focusing on trying to improve your weaknesses, you focus on improving your strengths, resulting in a near perfect performance anytime. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to learn more about their inner workings.
Profile Image for Teresa.
311 reviews9 followers
November 21, 2010
This book should have a disclaimer on it stating you have to buy the book for full price new, or else it's useless. The whole premise of the book is analyzing your results from their "Strengthsfinder" test, but you don't find this out til halfway through the book. It takes even longer for you to find out that you are supposed to use the code from inside the dustjacket. If you get this from the used bookstore, the library, or even brand new and someone else has stolen the code, you've absolutely wasted your time. The author provides no way on his website of even paying for a new activation code, either. Absolutely aggravating and completely makes the book worthless.
Profile Image for Polina.
199 reviews67 followers
May 23, 2010
Incredible information contained within, quite a paradigm shift and an invaluable contribution to my personal self awareness as well as plans and choices about future life path.
Profile Image for Dmitry.
699 reviews68 followers
August 2, 2019
(The English review is placed beneath Russian one)

Сразу скажу, что я расс��атриваю только теоретическую часть книги, т.е. сам тест я оставляю за скобками.
Авторы в центр своей книги (или теории) ставят фокусирование на сильных сторонах человека и именно на те, что человек часто и с успехом использует (авторы подчёркивают это, как важный фактор). Также они пишут, как я это понял, что сильные стороны имеют в качестве основных ингредиентов следующие материалы: знания, навыки и талан. Последнему они посвятят большую часть своей теории. Всё это мы находим в первой части книги. Вторая часть книги - довольно странная, т.к. авторы начинают сначала с описания того, как мозг или точнее нейроны формируют наши навыки: чем чаще мы тренируем определённый навык, тем чётче нейроновый путь и тем виртуозней мы владеем навыком. Далее авторы посветят много времени, фактически, пересказу предыдущей их книги, которая и сделала авторов знаменитыми. Т.е. в середине рассматриваемой книги авторы большую её часть посвятят пересказу своей теории, которая была подробно описана в книге «Сначала нарушьте все правила. Что лучшие в мире менеджеры делают по-другому». Суть теории одной фразой: укрепляйте свои сильные стороны, свои сильные способности, т.е. то, что вы делаете лучше всего и не тратьте время на ваши слабые стороны (если вы никак не можете научиться писать без орфографических ошибок, не мучьте себя зубрёжкой правил, а просто пользуйтесь программой Microsoft Word, а освободившиеся время потратьте на укрепление своих сильных сторон, на их тренировку). Мысль очень верная, так же как и книга, которая полностью этой теме и посвящена.
И третий момент, это соединение темы работы нейронов по обучению навыкам и темы «главное – наши сильные стороны». Т.е. авторы попробовали присоединить к своей теории, тему по нейропсихологии, которую упоминают чуть ли не в каждой третьей книге по психологии. В итоге, авторы как-то не убедительно показали это. И если честно, я не совсем понял, что они хотели сказать этим объединением двух теорий - уж слишком быстро они прошлись, без более чёткого объяснения своей идеи.
После того как мы определили всё это, авторы уходят в неструктурированный текст, с одной сплошной водой и пустословием. Это я говорю уже о последней части книги. Сплошные пустые слова и очевидные вещи, которые можно использовать практически в любой книге по самопомощи (и которые используются).

I will say right away that I consider only the theoretical part of the book, i.e. I do not consider the test itself.
In the center of the book the authors put the strengths of the person, those that the person often and successfully uses (the authors emphasize this as an important factor). They also write, as I understand it, that the main ingredients of the strengths are knowledge, skills and talent. They will devote most of their theory to talent. All this is found in the first part of the book. The second part of the book is quite strange, because the authors start from the beginning with a description of how the brain or neurons shape our skills: the more often we train a certain skill, the clearer the neuronal path and the more virtuoso we have the skill. Then the authors will spend a lot of time, in fact, retelling their previous book, which made the authors famous. That is, in the middle of this book, the authors will devote most of it to retelling their own theory, which was described in detail in the book "First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently". The essence of the theory in one phrase: reinforce your strengths, your strong abilities, i.e., what you do best and do not waste time on your weaknesses (if you cannot learn to write without spelling mistakes, do not torture yourself by bothering to learn the rules, and just use Microsoft Word). The idea is very true, as well as the book, which is completely devoted to this topic.
And the third point is the combination of the theme "neuronal work during learning" and the theme "the main thing is our strengths". That is, the authors have tried to add to their theory the topic of neuropsychology, which is mentioned in almost every third book on psychology. As a result, the authors somehow failed to show it convincingly. And to be honest, I did not quite understand what they wanted to say with this combination of the two theories - they went too quickly, without a clearer explanation of their idea.
After we have defined all this, the authors go into an unstructured text and empty words. I'm talking about the last part of the book. All the empty words and obvious things that can be used in almost any self-help book (and that are used).
Profile Image for Geraldine.
Author 1 book10 followers
March 26, 2012
How many of us, well into our careers, still live with the mistaken idea that the purpose of most of our activities is to work on those weaknesses and somehow turn them into strengths? I would venture to say, the majority of us, certainly those of us who grew up with post war parents who themselves believed that success in working life and achievement can be measured by the extent to which his has been accomplished.

In the meantime, strengths, natural aptitudes, and in most cases the activities that enhance our well being are almost ignored, simply because so much energy goes into working on those weaknesses.

When put this simply, none of us should be surprised at the level of unhappiness sustained by a lot of people in their jobs.

So, in the face of this general discontent, Marcus Buckingham comes along to shake us up and wake us up. With the help of his, dare I say it, easy to understand theory, we can turn our professional and personal lives around.

What you need to do, is rediscover the strengths that are an integral part of your own personality, and by strengths he means, not only the things you excel at but that also give a sense of satisfaction and contentment. Then to increase well being it is essential to take these discoveries seriously and ensure they can be put to use to either help you choose a new career path or to improve your situation in your current job.

Bosses, he says, must be aware of the natural strengths of employees and work on finding ways of utilising these instead of regularly planning training programmes to help them identify weaknesses that subsequently should be worked on to transform them into strengths because that just isn’t about to happen. It takes much more energy and investment to work on weaknesses than it does to enhance strengths.

Simple, yet it took Marcus Buckingham to point it out. A definite eye opener.

Profile Image for Casey.
85 reviews11 followers
September 19, 2010
I read this book and took the test as part of a career-discernment period, and found the concepts it offered to be very helpful.

American corporations and individuals tend to focus on weakness. What am I (or my employees) bad at, and how can I fix it? This book suggests that while we can spend a lot of time trying to fix our weaknesses, we'll never be nearly as successful at that as we will be at improving on our strengths. We're wired to be good at certain things. If we focus on them, we can get very, very good at them.

I really liked this approach because A) it makes more sense than banging your head against a wall repeatedly (aka trying to fix your weaknesses, which you will probably never be great at) and B) it takes into account the fact that I AM NOT SUPERWOMAN! (No offense to Alicia Keys.) I don't have to be the perfect person, because I am part of a community of people, and if we all focus on what we do best, we can work together far more effectively than everyone trying to be independent, "well-rounded," self-contained, perfect little people.

So-- maybe we can't be perfect. But we can do some things well. Really well. And then we can work together, to cover one another's weaknesses and capitalize on each other's strengths. Seems like a pretty good idea to me.
Profile Image for Curtis.
227 reviews7 followers
October 5, 2012
I got through this quickly since it was an abridged audio version. I may go back & read the full version on my Kindle. I have been researching strengths based movement and approach to leadership recently.

There was a lot of good insight here, but the big takeaway for me was the author's comment about incremental improvements. Once you discover your strengths, you can hone them by incremental improvements. It reminds me of Mack Anderson's book, 212 Degrees. 212 The Extra Degree by Samuel L. Parker

The difference between world class excellence and average is often very small.

In the same way, you don't need to kill yourself trying to improve your weaknesses. Just make small incremental changes to improve those areas to defend against failures.

I'm putting this into practice at work now, and am already seeing measurable changes. The best change is in my own positive outlook. After hammering myself on my weaknesses all my life, this is a very liberating and exciting change.
Profile Image for Efram Cortes.
68 reviews7 followers
May 1, 2022
Now, Discover Your Strengths’ rate of determined five stars is a representation of my resolute recommendation for the book. A must read for everyone - reader or non-reader. Each of us aims to live a life filled with content and meaning but how can you achieve that meaning if you have not the slightest idea of your innate talents? Today's generation is always unsatisfied, how about looking inside you? How about knowing your strengths?

The strengths of the book are its captivating writing approach that will make you evaluate yourself every time the attributes of a talent is being deeply explained, the brilliant research from Gallup constructing a magnificent and credible cover for the representation of the thirty-four talents or themes as the book calls them, and lastly but the most special is its superb applications for our careers, relationships, and every aspects of our life. If you play by your strengths, you will harmonize.
Profile Image for Delair Bolis.
15 reviews1 follower
September 29, 2018
Uma vez ao entrevistar um candidato ele perguntou que tipo de líder eu era! Alguém que maximizaria seus pontos fortes ou ficaria minha energia em desenvolver, melhorar seus pontos fracos. O livro reforça a importância e os resultados positivos que obtemos quando conseguimos administrar nossos pontos fracos não deixando os mesmos nos prejudicar, e ficar assim toda a energia em maximizar e extrair ainda mais de nossos pontos fortes. O resultado do exercício - descubra seus 5 pontos mais fortes - pode lhe trazer algumas surpresas mas no geral trará uma representativa exata de suas habilidade mais fortes. Muito bom também para trabalho em equipe
Profile Image for Thang Nguyen.
27 reviews5 followers
March 15, 2021
Fascinating read. On how brain begins with numerous neurons and synapses but loses majority of them as we age. Only those associate the most to the ‘talents’ are retained. On why we rely on our most familiar traits to make most of day-to-day decisions although we are trained to use more suitable methods. That we should capitalize on these remaining neurons and synapses and manage our weaknesses by surrounding ourselves with people whose talents make up for our weaknesses. On how people get ‘over promoted’ which is getting removed from what they do best and be tasked with assignments that don’t play to their strengths. On how employees got promoted based on ‘Responsibility’ and ‘Harmony’ despite these do not help with customer loyalty as much as ‘Activator’, ‘Command’, ‘Empathy’, ‘Learner’. On how people filter the world differently depending on their talents and why good managers should develop ‘Individuality’ to work with different profiles. Favorite lessons: If you want something done give it to the busy people as they are the ‘Achievers’. Assign new tasks after the completion of the previous to keep ‘Achievers’ stimulated. They also bond more when asked "How late did you work last night to get it done?" than any other kinds of question, it shows you recognize their effort and care. Talk about the “new goals”, not changes in the goals to the ‘Focus’. It is how they are tuned in.

In a massive, long-term study of 17,000 British civil servants, an almost unbelievable conclusion emerged: the status of a person’s job was more able to predict their likelihood of a heart attack than obesity, smoking or high blood pressure.. exactly the same result emerged from a similar study of a million employees of the Bell Telephone Company in the 1960’s.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jorė.
190 reviews11 followers
January 9, 2019
The nice part of this book is detailed explanation of what is talent/strength based on how our brain develop. As the brain can't do everything well, based on genes and magic they build certain pathways that are optimised for excellence in certain areas.
What it also gives is a methodology how Gallup many years ago developed a tool to indicate personal strength areas. Which you rarely get and what is generally interesting to learn about. In this case they indicate 34 themes of strengths and give plenty of descriptions of how they look like at the workplace and how they can be encouraged.
The last part is more for managers who work with teams and look for ways to build a system where everyone's strengths are realised. The general idea is the same old good one - productivity or growth means different things for different individuals. As the trends recommend, "personalise"
Profile Image for Meagan.
1,555 reviews56 followers
July 19, 2021
Fantastic follow-up to "First, Break All the Rules." Quicker, too, because I'd already taken the StrengthsFinder test and read about the strengths, which constitute a bulk of the book's content. Definitely a fantastic resource and worth revisiting; I would love to see capitalizing on our strengths (rather than weaknesses) a lot more in society today.
Profile Image for Diego Ferreira.
86 reviews1 follower
March 1, 2019
Muito prático e objetivo. Acredito que é uma boa fonte para evolução e ele foca principalmente nos 5 maiores pontos fortes individuais. Faz-se um teste na internet, através de um código que vem em cada livro em que são analisadas tomadas de decisão rápidas e o que mais encaixa individualmente.
Pro estudo existem 34 habilidades e que quando você fica consciente sobre seus maiores pontos fortes, para de focar nos “gaps” e fraquezas e sim cada vez melhorar estes pontos fortes. Cita muitos exemplos de caso de sucesso e como aplicar dentro da empresa. Livro para se consultar sempre, vale muito como um estudo.
20 reviews1 follower
November 8, 2015
I liked the book ok. I happened to have a copy with a valid test code, so I took it for free. My top five turned out to be: Learner, Realtor, Futuristic, Restorative, Discipline.

I must say, the research seems intriguing, but I ended up feeling confused about managing my strengths in the end.

The authors definitely spent more energy and polishing the "analysis" part of the research. I can see that it's backed by some data and therefore the descriptions of strengths and examples of personalities read very convincing.

The second - "synthesis" part feels weaker in comparison. Some recommendations how to grow your own strengths could be drawn from manager's one-pagers "how to manage a person strong in X", but they seem to be very generic and less impressive. It seems that they were "made up" by qualitative research (if any) and not backed up by data.

Same goes for the recommendations about how to build a strength-focused company. Some good advice, but I could not help but feel that it is too shallow and abrupt. It seemed more like a "coaching" advice and not a clear framework which could be used by HR department to go out and implement it. Although I do see that some of the recommendations are being used in today's corporations - broad role salary bands, clearly defined performance objectives, regular one-on-ones with managers etc.

Also, authors compare their test to "industry placement" career tests and claim that Strength test does not peg a person into any field while standard career tests do. This is kind of BS. Modern personality tests rarely place a person into a field, they provide examples of some fields at most. And then authors proceed with effectively recommendation of pegging "strength profiles" into employment "roles". So they say, "hey, we don't place you into industry, just role" as if it is not correlated with industry in any way. In retail the most common role would be "Sales person", in technology it will be "Engineer" so this whole "we are not like others, we are better" claim is kind of ridiculous.

So here it is. I think this book (and test) is useful to introspect your own strengths, but then it leaves you hanging there. The rest of the story reads as poorly formalized recommendations which authors scrambled out of their personal opinions and conclusions to sell their coaching services to corporations. It still has value, but it will take a lot of effort (and trial and error) for a CEO or HR person to work through it and come up with a real plan. Perhaps once authors collect enough data on the companies they helped, they can produce a better book with the real recommendations to both companies and individuals...
Profile Image for Daphne.
15 reviews
January 25, 2021
Fabulous book that encourages readers to redirect our focus on strengths rather than weaknesses. It encourages this approach, walks managers/companies through how to implement and then clearly defines how this approach can impact business results, internal and external customer service and company culture.
Profile Image for Erin.
617 reviews17 followers
July 10, 2008
This was recommended by trainers in our Human Resources dept. It was really interesting, and a different take on figuring out where you fit in your career--are you in the right role, and the right organization? I've done many personality tests (and know my Myers Briggs score like the back of my hand...ISFJ if you're interested), but personality testing is based on opposite ends of the spectrum--if you're extroverted, you can't be introverted, if you're good with machines, you can't be good with people, etc. Strengths, which are a combination of talent, knowledge, and skills, are based on different 34 "themes", and you take a test (which I haven't taken yet) to determine your top 5 themes. These combined themes are what make you who you are, and they show you where your strengths lie.

One of the most interesting parts of it is the discussion of weakness. Our idea is that a good employee is well-rounded, so we have to improve their weaknesses. The authors disagree--you improve your strengths as much as you can, and just keep your weaknesses out of the way. Don't spend a lot of time trying to improve what will never be a strength for you. I thought that was a really interesting theory. Really interesting, and a great read for those still trying to figure out their right path!
19 reviews
June 26, 2014
First of all I agee with other reviewers that it's very annoying that you have to buy a new book to get a valid access code to the online strenghtsfinder. As the premise of the book (it is more effective to build on people's strenghts than to try to correct perceived weaknesses) appealed to me I did buy a new copy. Of the five talents that came out of the test, three fit reasonably well. But when I read through all of them I realised that my most dominant strenght had not come out of the test. Therefore I would advise to read all the talent descriptions and narrow down the ones you feel apply best to you; you don't actually need to take the online test, in my opinion. Having finally figured out my own top five strenghts I was ready for action but all I found was that I should 'develop them'. The second half of the book contains mainly tips for managers in middle to large companies on how to coach current employees and find new ones . Only the section that specified how managers should deal with people with different dominant talents was mildly interesting. Of course, considering their claim that people have five dominant talents, one wonders about its usefulness. All in all, the talents I finally recognized and the positive approach to personal growth have provided me with food for thought. But no more than that, unfortunately.
Profile Image for Loy Machedo.
233 reviews193 followers
December 6, 2011
Are you in the right job career but at the wrong position?
Are you in the right position but with the wrong job career?

Should you focus on your strengths?
Should you focus on your weakness?

What are your key strengths?
And how many are there?

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham, Donald O. Clifton is a brilliantly crafted book which can answer these questions or at least shed some light into answers you wanted so badly.

On the upside, I loved the test that I could take to get to know my personality and yes, it reinforced my beliefs about who I am.

But on the downside, I detested the all times the sales pitch that was so prevalent throughout the book. It seemed to me that the author was doing his best to sell his concept though I personally felt he didnt have to. And the second bit that I hated was the apologetic tone for which he wanted to justify the differences in personalities and the job careers they choose. He being the authority should have done so in a much more forceful manner.

Overall, given both the good, bad and ugly, I felt this book is a must read as it sheds light into knowing ourselves more distinctly and with more accuracy.

Overall ratings - 7/10
Profile Image for Martyn Lovell.
104 reviews
May 24, 2013
This book is nominally a sequel to 'First Break All The Rules'. That book takes a relatively simple set of ideas, and as is typical in business books, spins it out to 250 pages of repetitive and unnecessary content. But ultimately, it made some good and useful points. I got both books from a manager, so it took me some time to get around to reading them :)

This book has far less concrete content than the first. Its central thesis - easily understood in a few pages - is reasonable, though the authors perhaps take it to unreasonable lengths.

To supplement the thin content, the authors offer a personality test on the web that identifies your 5 (of 34) 'Signature Themes'. The test takes a long time to take, but the payoff from the test is somewhat thin. In my case none of the strengths seemed surprising, and the book contained little practical advice about what to do with them next other than to focus on them.

I do think there is a valuable point here, and it's great for managers to absorb this perspective. But the book is probably not the best way to do so.

17 reviews4 followers
September 19, 2012
Philosophically, I believe in the message this book expounds, namely to focus on strengths - or what you one is good at - versus trying to overly improve weaknesses... however, I found the book a bit dry. It's a short read and well worth it, but keep in mind that it's likely to tell you something you already know but just hadn't thought about a whole lot. It does provide a set of personal strengths, a brief description about them, and how best to manage employees with that particular strength - from this perspective, I did learn about how to deal with certain 'personalities' or 'strength profiles.'

If you're a manager or interested in putting together "high performing teams," you should rent this book from the library or ask to borrow mine. Then, if you are convinced you need to know what your top five strengths are, you will have to take the book's survey - which is only accessible via a code found in new copies.
Profile Image for Kent.
8 reviews7 followers
June 3, 2010
I enjoyed this book. It takes an interesting approach to self-improvement. The main point being that you have certain talents that you develop in your early life. Beyond your teens it is difficult to develop new talents. The general emphasis on self-improvement is traditionally focused on areas where you lack skill or talent. This book asserts that this approach is wrong. The idea that they promote is that you should focus on your strengths (talents) and focus on developing skills around your talents. I found this very thought provoking and interesting.

The book includes a code for an on-line test to identify your talents. I took the test and it sounded about right. One thing that is a little lacking in the book is once you find out your talents, how to exploit them going forward. However, it is interesting to review your top talent and think about how it fits into your career.
92 reviews
April 28, 2013
This is the "Linda Goodman's Handbook for Managers and HR types", which instead of saying "An Aquarius is assertive and charming and hence makes for a good salesman", tweaks it to talk about "Strength Themes" and "Excellence". It basically communicating the truth we all know that "All employees are unique" and hence "please read our totally generic, impossible to implement ways to maximize their potential". Sarcasm aside, the book does touch upon some very good points on why large, archaic orgnaizations make a fool of themselves when it comes to talent management.
Profile Image for Jenny from Ukraine .
134 reviews36 followers
March 7, 2012
Довольно много воды, но тем не менее, очень интересно читать. Основная идея: для того чтобы преуспеть в какой-либо области, нужна комбинация "талант+знания+умения". Задача каждого - выявить свои таланты и не зарывать их в землю:) Для определения ваших личных талантов нужно пройти онлайн тест, код прилагается к книге. У меня была аудиоверсия, поэтому тест пока пройти не удалось, и на амазоне эту книгу для киндла тоже временно не продают. Но все равно интересно узнать, какие же у меня таланты, так что буду держать руку на пульсе.
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