on July 1, 2004
Excellent read, Clifton gives clarity and tools for success. I enjoyed the online inner strength tests very much and found it fascinating. While Clifton gives us the the key to unlocking our abilities and the confidence to pursue the path, it is up to us to take the journey.
I have taken this book and its philosophies into my personal life as well, filling everyday.
Everyone has different things that can free them further.
I started singing because I had always secretly found that to be exhilerating. I bought singing lessons on CD off of Amazon,
"Voice lessons To Go" by Vaccarino- fantastic!
I also purchased and carefully followed the "New Sex Now" video by Arte with my husband- it was mind blowing for us.
Just those two examples show how much I have removed my own personal fear in life. The kind that held me back and locked my strengths in. You know the strength is there in any crisis, why not manifest them into your eveyday? How powerful is that?
on October 15, 2003
I've read quite a few of these kinds of books starting way back when with "What Color is Your Parachute," through "The Acorn Principle" and "Please Understand Me." This has been a long-term process of discovering my interests, talents, abilities, skills, knowledge, preferences, and potential - always with the intention of finding my true calling in life.
But this book is not just another addition to that list; this is a superior method for focusing in on very specific talents and strengths and clarifying your own thinking about your life choices. The assessment and categories of strengths are more straightforward than taking the Meyers-Briggs or other similar tests. The book confirms some of what I already knew, but completely clarified the concept of natural talent combined with skills and knowledge creating the strengths that one can use throughout their life.
People have complained in other reviews that some of the book is "fluff" or that it doesn't tell you what job to go get. This is only true for people who want one 250-page book to answer some of the greatest of life's questions. I greatly appreciate that the authors give simple, straightforward examples and their own theories quickly and pointedly. They leave it up to ME to make decisions based on that information.
If you are prepared to do the work over the course of time and use this book as a mentor (not a nanny who tells you what to do) you will gain great insight into yourself and your path.
on September 23, 2003
In our culture, there is a strong emphasis on identifying our perceived weaknesses and shortcomings and trying to fix what we believe to be wrong with us in relationships, in the workplace and in all aspects of our lives. In Now, Discover Your Strengths, authors Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton offer a refreshing and exciting approach to living with excellence and success. Rather than focusing on our weaknesses, discovering our strengths and becoming aware of our natural talents allows for growth and consistent excellence. I especially appreciated the authors' discussion of people's habitual reluctance to examine, discover or even acknowledge their strengths and our tendency to credit successes to luck or circumstances. This reveals how there is so much more available to people in the way of success and satisfaction by including and taking credit for our strengths in our identity. Noticing and identifying our natural behaviors and innate talents - our strengths - that set us apart and support us allows these strengths to expand and develop with consistency. Another excellent book that explores all that is possible when you discover that you are not your weaknesses is Working On Yourself Doesn't Work: A Book About Instantaneous Transformation by Ariel and Shya Kane. Like Now, Discover Your Strengths, this book identifies the traditional and habitual ways that people relate to their lives and environment and offers a different approach that is revolutionary. The Kanes suggest that simply with awareness, which they define as a "non-judgemental way of seeing," you can act appropriately and naturally in your life. This book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in having it all.
on July 17, 2003
I have been in business for 25 years mostly as a top executive for Xeorx and then Intel. I consider it my obligation to continue to improve myself at every level in order to maintain my career and stay ahead of the internal competition. To me it is not just a credo it is a way of life and one that has served me well over the years and put three girls through college. Nothing has ever helped more than improving my leadership skills. My top five books this quarter are mostly bestsellers such as Emotionally Charged Learning by Eric Schiffer, "Good to Great" by Jim Collins, Execution by Larry Bossidy and now this one which is shared with one other. Emotionally Charged Learning taught me how to be a better "knowledge" oriented leader which gives me more power to have my employees better excel. Good to Great taught me to take another look at what really works and Execution taught me to focus even more on reality. This book taught me to discover what was already inside and use it to the maximum potential. These books have been essential to me and my ongoing success.
on June 7, 2003
I read the book in 3 days! Fascinating new approach into human interaction. A whole new way for people to relate to others and mostly to understand their own strengths. The concept of themes is fascinating and the StrengthsFinder test has helped me understand why I am drawn to certain tasks - not for the task itself, but for the underlying talent I am able to use, develop and master.
As I read through all the 34 themes, I started to see those around me in a whole new way - all a sudden their behavior and quirks started making sense! Talents and strengths started emerging and with the help of the section on how to manage people by theme, I can now improve my interaction with others - even in a non-business setting.
This book will not tell you which job or field to choose, however, by knowing your major themes, it is easier to choose something that is in-line with your true self. With this strength-based concept, interpersonal relations as a whole are tremendously enhanced, not to mention the potential for more effective human management within corporations.
Overall, an excellent and fascinating read, and a wonderful self-knowledge tool.
on May 3, 2003
NOW, DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS is a fitting sequel to FIRST, BREAK ALL THE RULES also by the Gallup Organization. Marcus Buckingham was one of the co-authors of the earlier book.
This book provides practical information on how to Individualize management based on each person's Strengths which are related to their talents. Gallup has styled a StrengthsFinder Profiler which can used by organizations and is available for individual evaluation to purchasers of the book.
There are 34 Themes identified which suggest broad talent areas. The authors assert that "...you will be most successful when you craft your role to play to your signature talents most of the time." It's also true with managers directing their staff. There are numerous examples of real-life success stories as well as ample information on each of the 34 Themes - both from the individual's standpoint and for the manager.
As pointed out in the earlier book also, it's counter-productive to evaluate everyone based on the same criteria and focus on weaknesses. It's far better to recognize what each position's talents are and hire people with those talents; with existing staff, move people around as practical to optimize each person's talents.
Another key point repeated in the newer book is not to promote people above where their talent and value is; they are more likely to fail and/or be unhappy. Find a way to reward and challenge them while they're doing what they excel in.
NOW, DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS is a valuable resource for everyone.
on April 15, 2003
Now Discover Your Strengths describes a revolutionary way to approach managing people by placing them in positions that capitalize on their strengths rather than positions in which they would work tirelessly in attempts to correct weaknesses. The implications of the concepts and strategies found in this book encompass all organizations from business to education. An important concept that is discussed in the book is that leaders should focus on the strengths of individuals and place them in positions in which their strengths will produce the best results for the organization. This concept does two things. The first is that the individuals placed in positions that capitalize on their strengths will tend to enjoy their job more. The second is that the organization will benefit from the strengths of the individual.
Educational organizations can use the information in this book to help guide administrators when making personnel decisions. Teachers can use the concepts in this book to help students realize their strengths and reduce the anxiety about their weaknesses. As an educator I have used the book to identify my own strengths. I also read a small section of the book to my Anatomy and Physiology class to support materials I had presented regarding the brain and how people learn.
The thirty-four themes provide a description of the different strengths followed by short examples of what the strength sounds like. The book then discusses common questions asked, how to manage your strengths, and how to build an organization based on strengths. This book is enlightening and challenges people to view themselves and others in a different light by asking themselves, "what does he/she bring to the table and how can we best utilize it".
on February 9, 2003
On its own, "Now, Discover Your Strengths" is a very interesting read for anyone in a leadership position, but paired with its prequel, "First, Break All the Rules," one can be armed with a self-awareness and understanding of others to create paradigm shifts in nearly any organization. As an educator, I recognized immediately the implications of exploring the thirty-four talents outlined in this text for all levels of an educational organization. Teachers would do well to read this book to help bridge students' natural talents with curricular knowledge and skills (multiple intelligences), building-level administrators would do well to tap into various staff members' talents in order to develop and manage a school culture where each staff member is valued and, therefore, serves with a common goal of helping students reach their full potential. Central office administrators would do equally well to understand the talents outlined in this text as they go through their recruiting and hiring routines. Working from the text's premise that it is best to develop people's talents into strengths instead of trying to 'fix' weaknesses, evaluation and professional development practices in schools have the potential to be dramatically improved. Overall, this book, either alone or with its predecessor, would be a valuable read for any aspiring or practicing instructional leader.
on December 1, 2002
The book's strength, to turn the tables a bit, is not in its length (less than average amount of words per page, about 250 pages), not in its style (written at a relatively low level), and not in its technical explanations (very little justification and explanation for the theories it proposes). The strength of the book is how it introduces a new vocabulary for identifying an individual's potential strengths and talents.
The reader must go to a web site and take an assessment test rather early in the book. After the reader takes the test, Buckingham and Clifton work at unraveling old ways of looking at performance and standard practices. For example, they dare to suggest that the paradigm of improving a person's weaknesses as a strategy to implement optimum performance on the job or elsewhere is faulty. You may disagree, and you may find the test useless if you take it. In my instance, the test clearly verfied my areas of talent. So I gave the book five stars, because it's an amazing groundbreaking book - we now have a way to identify and talk about 34 different groups of human talents - and I don't care how Gallup, Buckingham, and Clifton arrived at the results they did if the results are clearly true, as in my case.
Now, Discover Your Strengths doesn't tell you how to find a career based on your top five strengths. It's a very personal decision, and also impractical, given that about 33 million combinations of five exist. Buckingham and Clifton give examples of successful people and what they chose as careers, which utilize some combination of their strengths, and other useful suggestions, such as strategies to mitigate weaknesses.
Highly recommended. I never would have known any of this had someone not suggested I read the book, and now a whole new way of looking at myself and the world is open to me. econ
on October 22, 2002
"Now, Disover Your Strengths", the follow up to "First Break All The Rules," is great for two reasons:
1) You get to take the StrengthsFinder test online and discover what your top five patterns of strength are in your life.
2) The book will help you go deeper with your strengths and find out how the best of the best use their strengths to get better.
Too many reviews on here focus on the fact that you can only take the test once, or the book does not go deep enough. Stop trying to find out what you are not, and start finding out what you are! Most people who want to take the test over and over again do so to validate what they think they are, and not how they were created. This test is meant to be taken once, in order to measure your instinctive responses to the questions, not your thought out answers. Unlike other psychometric tests, the StrengthsFinder tells you how you respond, your initial reactions, how you are.
I work with this tool on a daily basis and have seen over 500 results of this test and done many one on one interviews to follow up and help people go deeper in their strengths. 9 out of 10 people are amazed with the results and how accurate this test is. Most of the 10% who have questions can figure it out and be happy with some counseling and deeper discovery of their strengths.
The [money] is worth the price to take the test, and the book does an adequate job of going deeper with your strengths. The whole theory of focusing on what you are good at works, I have seen it and fully endorse this book and what it brings to the field of Leadership Development and Management.