Strenghts Finder 2.0 – Book Review

Strengths Finder 2.0 bookThe premise of the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath and the strengths movement in general, is that people will be much more productive and much happier if they focus on doing what they naturally do well and developing those strengths, rather than focusing on trying to get better in areas where they’re weak.  The book includes a facinating breakdown of 34 “strength themes” and access to an online assessment tool that will help the reader discover their strengths.

The premise was developed and backed by polls conducted by world renown polling organization Gallop.

They found, “people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.”

While this intuitively makes sense, the reality is that most of us actually focus on improving our weaknesses.  “In every culture we have studied, the overwhelming majority of parents (77% in the U.S) think that a student’s lowest grades deserve the most time and attention.”

Additionally, we have this believe in culture that you can be anything you want to be if we work hard enough.  The truth however is that I am never going to be the next Michael Jordan, no matter how hard I try.  If I invest all my spare time and energy into developing my jumpshot, I’m still not going to become a great basketball player.  But if invest time and energy into the areas where I am naturally gifted I can become great in those areas and make a bigger impact.

This can be summed up in a simple formula:  talent x investment = strength.

That is talent (a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving) times investment (time spent practicing, developing your skills, and building your knowledge) equals strength (the ability to produce near-perfect performance)

A little talent times a lot of investment will still only produce mediocre results.  Likewise, great talent with little investment in development will also only produce mediocre results.  But great talent times great investment will produce great strength and great results.

According to Rath, most people don’t focus and invest in their strengths simply because they don’t know what they are.  To counter that, the Gallop organization develop an online strengths assessment tool.  An access code to the assessment tool comes with each book.

Through years of polling and assessments Gallop has discovered 34 strength themes (listed below).  After completing the online questionnaire, the individual receives a detailed summary that lists their top 5 strengths.  Along with each strength is a description of that strength, quotes from 3 people who have that strength, and ten suggested action steps for developing and capitalizing on that strength.

The book goes on to list all 34 strength themes and provide useful information about each strength.

I found the book to be very interesting.  The assessment and summary have helped me better understand myself and take steps to develop and better utilize my strengths.  I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be better at what they do and live a more fulfilling life.

I also strongly recommend it for work and volunteer teams.  Going through the book and assessment can a great team-building exercise.  Understanding the strengths of others on your team, can lead to a huge increase in understanding and productivity of a team.


  1. Live Intentionally » Blog Archive » StrengthsFinder – What are your strengths? - March 25, 2008

    […] Strenghts Finder 2.0 – Book Review […]

  2. Things You Don’t Have Time NOT to Do: 7) Focus on Your Strengths | Live Intentionally - February 8, 2011

    […] Gallup’s Strengths Finder test is a great tool to help you discover your strengths. Access to do the online assessment is included when you purchase the book Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. […]

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