Book Review – StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Tom Rath)

If there’s one thing that Western civilization has lauded, it’s improving on our weaknesses. It might be seen in a performance review at work under the clever heading of “Areas in Need of Improvement” or “Growing Areas.” A student’s report card containing four A’s and one B- might result in much of the focus going towards the one B- rather than the four A’s.

Whatever it’s called, the Western world’s obsession with removing weaknesses has caused many people to stray away from focusing on their strengths. In the noble effort to become a well-rounded individual, it’s easy to lose the point of what drives you the most.

Enter StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, the result of forty years of systematic research to help people find their strengths. Rath has teamed with the Gallup International Research Institute to assess and analyze the response, level of fulfillment, and overall well-being of countless people when asked about the pursuit of their strengths versus the improvement of their weaknesses. Overwhelmingly the research has proven that people feel far more fulfilled where they can hone their strengths rather than make up for their weaknesses.

Through their research Rath and the Gallup team have identified and worked to define 34 separate and unique themes and ideas for action that are personified as people’s strengths. From achieving to influencing to communicating to analyzing, these strengths are clearly defined and explored as positive aspects of personality, rather than negative influences to be overcome.

From a research standpoint this work is exceptional. Rath does an excellent job of communicating the logic and evidence behind the research and provides real-life examples and testimonies of people who embody each of the 34 themes of strength. The practical element of discovering a strength is brought to light through Rath’s exploration of the pro’s and con’s of each strength.

If you finding yourself wishing you were able to do what you do best, then StrengthsFinder 2.0 is for you. If you would rather pursue where you excel as opposed to staying where you’re supposed to be “well-rounded,” then this book is for you.

Released in 2007, StrengthsFinder 2.0 has topped the Wall Street Journal’s bestselling reading list and includes an online resource for readers to discover and understand their own strengths. It may be purchased at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon.com, and other leading bookstores.

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