Apr 082009

Book Short: Loving the Strengths Movement More Than the Book

Book Short:  Loving the Strengths Movement More Than the Book

I’m a big believer in the so-called Strengths Movement — that we would all be better served by playing to our strengths than agonizing over fixing our weaknesses. I think it’s true both in professional and personal settings.

The books written by Marcus Buckingham that come out of Gallup’s extensive research into corporate America, First, Break All the Rules (about management) and Now, Discover Your Strengths (self-management) are both quite good.  Another book written by someone else off the same research corpus, 12: The Elements of Great Managing is ok, but not as good, as I wrote about here.

Buckingham’s newest, Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance, is fine and has some good points but is way too long, a little hokey, and has a lot of online companion material that is far more interesting sounding than it is actually useful.

The book does build nicely on Now, Discover Your Strengths by giving you inspiration and a framework for taking those signature themes from the prior book and translating them into action — stuff you actually do every day that plays to your strengths and draws out your weaknesses.  And that’s helpful.  Some of his suggestions for what you do with that information are ok but a bit common sense only and way too drawn out (“here’s how to talk to your boss…”).

To be fair, I am going to do some of the work that Buckingham recommended doing — so I guess that says something about the power of the book, or at least the movement underlying it.  But not the best read in the world.

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