Strengths Finder 2.0 Tom Rath

This is a succinct insightful book that helps you to identify the strengths of your personality. It is a quick read. Most people will have the text and the Strengths Finder test completed within 2 hours. Although I wasn’t blown away by the results, it validated what I already knew about myself.

The premise of the book is built upon the concept that we spend too long focusing on our weakness and trying to improve them. Instead we should learn how to cope with our weaknesses as best we can and really try and play to the strengths of our personality. I believe this to be a very plausible mindset and something I have espoused myself for many years. Why spend hours upon hours trying to make an improvement in one of your weaknesses when you will never really excel in that area of your life. Instead concentrate on the talents that you have been given and allow them to flourish to bring about your true potential.

The first step is to identify your strengths. The book contains a unique code to access the Strengths Finder 2.0 test. This is an online test and the code can only be used once. So don’t be tempted to buy this book secondhand or borrow from the library, if the code has been used it will render the book useless. The test itself takes about 25mins to complete. It contains a series of questions in which you are given two preferences and a likert scale in which to rate your preference. There is a time limit of 20 seconds per question. This caught me out on two questions where I was genuinely torn between the choices. You are asked to go with your gut reaction. I do feel a little dubious about likert tests at the best of times but in fairness the results of the test proved to be pretty accurate for me.

You receive your top 5 strengths and you can print out a report on each strength. The strengths are also detailed in the book. There are 34 themes and ideas for action chapters and your 5 strengths fall within these categories. Each strength is described briefly, there are short case studies of people who have this strength, you receive ideas for action with this strength and finally ideas on how to work with someone of this strength.

Overall this is a compact and easy read. For me the results were pretty accurate. It is a good resource for self exploration. It would be useful for someone who is looking to progress in their career or to change career. Knowing where your strengths lie can give you the confidence for action.

One thought on “Strengths Finder 2.0 Tom Rath

  1. Everyone at my job has taken the Clifton Strengths Finder. It is new to me and still quite interesting. I DO like the idea of leading with and developing our strengths. Nice that there are 34 of them. But–I’ve discovered two things, already:

    There mare two types of people that particularly annoy me, especially if they have either of these two strengths as their 1st or 2nd strength. The first one is:
    The “Activators”.
    Good Gawwwd! Have a glass of Wine, please. Have TWO! And drink ’em fast, wait 10 minutes and *then* we’ll talk. Their abruptness, impatience and rapid-fire interrogation with questions is a royal pain.

    Saying that, may surprise you, considering I have Achiever in my Top 5, but there’s more:
    If the Activators are too hyper, you might suspect that I like people strong in Harmony or Includer, but no. Not really. The other ones who annoy me (but not as much) are people who have Harmony as their 1st or 2nd strength. To me, some of these types are sooo into Harmony and wanting “peace at any price” that:
    I have to watch that I dont say anything that might hurt their feelings
    I have to be sure to keep my voice down
    I have to not ask them too many questions too often
    …and its a whole atmosphere of always being on guard, and having to be “careful” around them. It’s just plain draining. The opposite extreme of the Activators.

    One really has to wonder then, how would the Activators and the Harmonizer get along? Seems like the makings of a super-conflict. I have neither of these in my Top 5.

    It would appear that Strengths, if they are too intense, or over-used, could also become liabilities.

    I do like the idea of developing them, within ourselves and leading with them, but that is within ourselves. Just oil & water don’t mix, and some personalities clash, I can see where some strengths would also clash with others. Nonetheless, the whole thing is fascinating and worth finding out more about.


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