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A book review of "Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham is a best-selling author and a management consultant. He has brought about a revolution in personal and management thinking with his book, ‘Now, Discover Your Strengths.’ “Invest in your natural strengths,” he says, instead of trying to improve your weak traits. He found that people unnecessarily focus on weaknesses. This brought in the new thinking paradigm which concentrates on strengths.

Gallup survey

“First, break all the rules,” was Marcus’ first best-selling book which he wrote with Curt Coffman. He followed this up with “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, in collaboration with Donald O. Clifton. Donald O. Clifton is his mentor and the founder of Selection Research, Incorporated (SRI) of Gallup. They found the core of their book in their researches for Gallup. They discovered that successful people use their strengths rather than worry about their shortcomings.

34 talent themes

Anyone who buys the book has access to an individual code that is given in the book. S/he can then take the strength test (‘StrengthsFinder’) online. S/he can find out his or her personal strengths out of a list of 34 ‘talent themes.’ The reader receives a report which marks the top five strengths. The book is based on the results found by Gallup after interviewing millions of people.

Five leadership strengths

The 34 ‘talent themes’ are worth noting. They are: Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Consistency, Context, Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Empathy, Focus, Futuristic, Harmony, Ideation, Includer, Individualisation, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximiser, Positivity, Relator, Responsibility, Restorative, Self-Assurance, Significance, Significance, Strategic and Woo. The book claims that leadership strengths are dependent on a combination of five of the above named attributes.

Trombone player wanted

The book also offers a solution for unhappiness in the job place. It advises one to seek work which uses personal strengths instead of mere business or management skills. Happiness lies in doing what you love to do. Marcus says that only two out of ten people are lucky enough to be doing what they love to do by using their strengths. Marcus Buckingham also uses short movies to illustrate his ideas. One of them is ‘Trombone player wanted.’ The movie illustrates how to discover your strengths. The trombone player is actually more talented at being a drummer. Finally, he realises this and leaves an advertisement for ‘Trombone Player Wanted’ while he does a happy career change into drum playing. Another best-seller writer of self-help books who works for Gallup is Tom Rath. It is a great book which has also helped educational institutions to rethink about their policies. Marcus is a much appreciated celebrity. He has been on many shows, including the Oprah Winfrey Show.

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