Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Book Review)

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A lot of discussions and research is available on how to find one’s strengths and weaknesses. Most of the authors focusses on improving your weaknesses. From schools to interviews, strengths and weaknesses are a topic. Another school of thought vouch for working on your strengths rather than weaknesses. In this blog post, we review such a book – Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

About Tom Rath

Tom is a consultant in the domain of employee engagement and leadership. I think most of his acclaimed work were done while he was associated with Gallup. Interestingly, most of this thoughts and research are associated/built based on his grandfather psychologist, Donald O. Clifton. Donald is acclaimed for his stress on personal development based on strengths rather than weakness. Tom has written nine books; and is noted for his works like How Full Is Your Bucket and Strengths Finder.

Strengthsfinder 2.0 Assessment and Themes

This book follows a unique method written based on a survey. Second edition is updated based on an upgraded version of the survey. The author claims that based on the results from first edition and further research, he has trimmed the survey, yet giving a more accurate and personalized result

The assessment is a set of questions to be answered in a short span of time. The author suggests not to over think and instead select the answer which comes to mind first. Based on the assessment, you will be given the top five traits or strengths that you should considering developing and banking on. Based on his research and assessment results, author has developed 24 broad strengths/themes. This ranges from the likes of Communication to Learner to Woo.

Throughout the book, one thought that gets re-iterated is that our society celebrates those winners who triumph over they lack of natural abilities more than those who win based on their natural talents. For example, it’s a common practice in our education system to ask children to concentrate more on what they are weak in rather than encouraging to build on those they are strong at.

The author even gives a figurative formula to stress this idea. Strength = Talent X Investment. We can try to increase talent or investment; but ticking the right combination is the key. Later the author gives some thoughts on how to make use of the strength themes. The second part of the book gives ten ideas of action for each of the themes and also certain pointers on how to interact with others having such traits.

Playing Devil’s Advocate

To be honest, I felt it too vague to read both the assessment results and ideas of action. For example, one of my core strength is finding harmony (which I feel is debatable). The ideas of action given are create a forum in which others will feel they are heard. This is more or less like a technique taught in negotiation/moderation which is in-line with his so-called – Harmony strength. Another thing I found is that they are so broad that, it would be difficult to find anything practical out of it. Overall, I agree it gives a sense of what your strengths could be and what you can do to foster it.

The online resources that the book boasts of are a bloater. They have just slice and diced the content of book/theme descriptions into various formats. Strengths Insight and Action-Planning Guide is nothing but the explanation of your five strength themes and so is the Strengths Insight Guide.

Overall a one-time reader; not something which provides as it boasts of.

About Vijay Sankar 42 Articles
A techie turned business professional; presently living in Cochin, India. For bread and butter, exploring the domain of marketing attribution. I hold an Electrical Engineering degree from College of Engineering, Trivandrum and Executive MBA (PGPEM) from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

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