Chances are that if someone approached you and asked for an honest list of your weaknesses and failings, you’d be able to oblige them without too much difficulty. But could you describe your strengths as easily? As Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton point out, we’ve all been so programmed to identify, analyze, and overcome our faults that we’ve done relatively little to nurture our native talents, even though success is typically won by tapping into those talents and turning them into real-world strengths. Attacking the myth that “each person’s greatest room for growth is in his or her areas of greatest weakness,” the authors of this highly useful book maintain that the first priority for individuals as well as corporations must be to identify and then capitalize on the unique, enduring talents latent within each one of us.
Buckingham and Clifton begin with a look at the lives of a few famous people — Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, Warren Buffett — who’ve turned their inner passions and drives into successful careers. But they also share the stories of some more ordinary folks: Sherie, for example, loved the idea of being a doctor but found that she disliked being around seriously ill people. She ultimately became a dermatologist, thereby putting her talent for healing into action without trying to “correct” the feelings that would have made her less effective working as an oncologist or an emergency room physician. These personal stories lead the authors into a larger discussion of strength building, a skill they view as necessary to happiness and achievement at work.
Now, Discover Your Strengths is a thoughtful and persuasive book that will enrich the lives of many people by teaching them to focus on their unique potential rather than forcing themselves into jobs or roles that will probably alienate them from their own true abilities. (Sunil Sharma)