Book Review: StrengthsFinder 2.0

StrengthsFinder 2.0

By Tom Rath

174 pp. Gallup Press.

$28 CAD (online at Amazon.ca or chapters.indigo.ca) or $13 USD (online at Amazon.com). [I’m pretty sure the exchange rate isn’t THAT bad, but there you have it.]

Do you have a good handle on what your natural talents and passions are or have you been doing the same thing for so long you’ve forgotten what you’re good at? StrengthsFinder 2.0 from Gallup helps you discover and embrace what excites you and how to look for work that fulfills that excitement.

Gallup

Gallup has provided analytics and advice to a wide variety of organizations – from higher education to workplaces to the government – for over 80 years.

If you’ve worked in Corporate North America you’ve likely heard of the company. Maybe you’ve filled out one of their Q12 employee engagement surveys. Maybe you’ve had a manager (or you’ve been the manager to) recommend the CliftonStrengths program to help you along your way in your career development. Gallup intended StrengthsFinder 2.0 to accompany that program.

I stumbled across the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 in 2010 while working through the problem of what I wanted to do for work. I sat on it for more than two years and finally worked through it on my own. I had already bitten the bullet and worked with a career counselor. I had already gone back to school. I was that unsure of where I was headed.

I stumbled across a lot of books while working through the problem of what work meant to me. So this short review of what I liked and didn’t like kicks off a series of reviews of career books. StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a bit different because it’s a website / book combo that you can’t dissociate from one another.

StrengthsFinder 2.0

How it works:

You read a short introduction in the book and fill out an online assessment, answering the questions as honestly as possible. This is tough for some people but it’s the only way to get an honest assessment. It takes roughly an hour to work through 180 questions. The tool pops out your top five strengths out of a possible 34. You then consult the book for what actions you can take to end up in the right work environments and how to work with those who have that strength.

My strengths came up as:

  • Achiever
  • Learner
  • Restorative
  • Deliberative
  • Analytical

What I did with that information is a post for another time. Here are a few quick hits about what I liked and didn’t like.

What I liked about the book and online tool:

  • The descriptions and action items are accurate and thoughtful because they’re based on four decades of research and data.  These aren’t your daily horoscope, written so generally as to catch most things that happen to you during any given day. You’ll find yourself laughing (presuming you have a sense of humor about your foibles) and nodding along as you read.

What I didn’t like about the book and online tool:

  • There isn’t much online provided after you receive your results that I consider value-added. There are a number of PDFs that you’ll have access to that are different cuts of the same information in the book.
  • You have to be self-motivated to follow up on your action items and figure out how to implement them. There aren’t any additional resources or next steps provided per se (unless you want to pay for a meeting with a Gallup consultant). This won’t matter to a good chunk of people, but it warrants a mention.

Overall I’m satisfied with my experience. The more data I have to work with the better.

Do you have career books you rely on to nurture your career? Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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