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3.8 out of 5 stars
Now, Discover Your Strengths
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Showing 1-10 of 91 reviews(1 star)show all reviews
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2007
I ordered this book new from Amazon. When it arrived I tried to log into the website and was told my access code was invalid. After several more attempts, I contacted Simon and Schuster and Marcus Buckingham. I was told that Marcus Buckingham does not own the rights to the book and to contact Gallup. At Gallup I was told to buy a new book. All my emails to gallup disappeared using a recordless emailing system. Not very helpful from a company that won the Caring Institue's 2006 Caring Award.
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73 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2007
Having read the many positive reviews on this book, as well as the slick high-production-value promotional collateral put out by it's authors and publisher, I hoped for something that would really help me identify and conceptualize how I could best/better apply my inherent talents and personality tendencies in the real world.

I knew I was in trouble right away when the book justified it's thesis not by scientific experiment and data, but rather by vague references to polling (the authors are employees of, or otherwise tied in with the Gallup polling organization) and anecdotal assertions about celebrities like Warren Buffet and Colin Powell.

IF you MUST know what this book actually says, I can save you the time and money required to buy and read the book by conveying it's content in one sentence: It's important to consider and apply your inherent personality traits to maximize your career success. The book is nothing but a book-length repetition of this same message. The proof it vaguely offers to back up this intuitive "truistic" assertion is shallow and fluffy. Most disappointingly, that is all they wrote.

The "personality test" is a great selling gimmick, but the information it returns reminds me of a horoscope or a fortune cookie. It is vague, and general and difficult to relate to any particular practice, nor does the book offer practical means to turn these purported traits into practical beneficial action. If you're trying to decide whether to, say, stay on as a used car salesman, or retreat to some hermitage to write your magnum opus, this book will be of no practical help. It just repeats the same message over and over, page after page after chapter after chapter. Fluffity, fluff, fluff, fluff.

I must admit that I did get ONE practical idea from this fluffball book: Apparently anyone can make a mint by taking some specious bromide, e.g. "Doing whatever you want is good for you", and stretch it into a couple hundred pages of baseless repetitive assertion of that same idea, and have it lapped up by folks willing to pay a good buck to hear what they want to hear.
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80 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2004
DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK USED!!!!

DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK USED!!!!

There is a code in this book that is needed to take a test and understand more than half of this book and how it applies to you personally. This code is used at a website to find out your strengths and is only valid for a one time use. If you purchase this book used your chances of that code already being used are very high. You will then need to get a new copy of the book if you want to take the test. WHAT A WASTE!
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2007
As so many other reviewers have noted, the basic premise of this book is logical - identify and use your strengths, minimize time and effort applied to using and fixing your weak areas. What the title promises is to help you "discover" your strengths through the use of the online testing tool. After taking the test you receive a "report" with a rather simplistic summary description of each of your top five strengths (out of the 34 possible that they identify). As one reviewer noted, this information might be illuminating to a young person starting their career, but most self-aware adults who have been in the world of work for a while will probably find that the results either confirm what they already know about themselves or as others have noted, give every indication of being innacurate. My experience was that 4 of the top 5 essentially confirmed what I already knew and the fifth (Adaptability) was only a partial fit according to the authors' description of it. My real interest was in the whole picture of the full spectrum of my strengths and weaknesses. Do I only have 5 strengths and everything else is a weakness I should avoid? Do I have other strengths that can be used in conjunction with or support of these top 5? The website offers me the "opportunity" to learn about my strengths 6-34 but only if I plunk down $550 for a one-hour (that's $550 for ONE HOUR) long call with a "Strengths Performance Coach" for an "in-depth" consulting session. So by my math, that means approximately 2 minutes per additional item - hardly in-depth. IMHO this is an outrageous amount of money to pay on top of the price of the book simply to see the complete results of the test.

Aside from that issue, the book provides superficial descriptions of the various strengths but no real content regarding what to do with the information regarding your top 5, how to map them to roles or do much of anything else with them. The only section I felt had any real practical value was about managing people with different strengths - useful if simplistic and it slightly fleshed out the profiles of the strengths previously mentioned.

This would have at least some value as a means of gaining self knowledge if one could get the full results of the test (without paying an exorbitant sum for "consulting"). Ideally this would be included in the results by default but if not Gallup should at least offer this option and at a reasonable price. Without any additional information regarding where the other 29 characteristics fall in my profile, knowing the top 5 is like having a recipe with 34 ingredients, but only knowing the proper amounts for 5 of them and no direction on mixing and cooking time. This book feels more like a sales pitch for very expensive consulting services than anything from which the average person seeking self knowledge will benefit. If you are looking for some in-depth insight into your strengths and temperment, you'll get more bang for your buck by taking the Myers-Briggs, the Kiersey Temperament Sorter or working through What Color is Your Parachute.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2005
Based on other reviews I got this book expecting to be informed. What I got was a long poorly disguised sales pitch for their selection test. As a former user of the Gallup test, I should have known better. The basic premise is not new. The things they tout as traits are really just characteristics. I can't believe I paid for a sales pitch.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2002
Beware! The Gallup Organization considers this book an *introduction* to Strengths Based Living. It is a small part of a larger program that their consulting group administers for large organizations. It appears that this book was developed as a primer to get managers interested in using the Gallup consulting program within their own organizations. If you ask for more in-depth information or a full report on your assessment results on an individual level (which they provide for corporate clients) you will be told it is not available.
The book itself reads like an introduction to StrengthsFinder. It offers interesting and insightful background information about managing strengths, but comes up short on follow through. After you take the assessment test there is very little information on how to truly capitalize on the results. Further, you may only take the assessment test once and then you are locked out. So if you want to share the book with your family or friends be ready to shell out another $27 so they can take the test too.
Bottom line, this book is a thinly veiled money-making sham designed to maximize profit and open the door to corporate consulting contracts. Spend your money on something else.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2007
I had checked out the audio book version from the library and although they said on the recording to just visit the web site and contact them for a code to access the tests on the web site if you were borrowing the book from the library, they lied. I contacted them and requested a code. They took like a week to get back to me, just to ask me more questions. Told them I had borrowed the book from the library and answered their other questions (full name (why?), id code (which I had already provided), title of publication). A few days later, they responded with a sales pitch about their other publications and that I must buy one new for a code. Nice marketing. Forget it. One of my strengths is not to waste time or money on companies that lie and are motivated purely by greed. ;)
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2002
While the Gallup organization is well known for it's polling abilities, and their previous book, "First Break all the Rules" is a respected management tool, it appears the authors felt it was time to write another book, whether or not they had enough new material or not.
The basic premise is that we all have strengths and we should find those, capitalize on those and manage around our weaknesses. A reasonable message, and one that is pretty well covered in the first 15-20 pages. The rest of the book is filler to expand the book to 260 pages. After all, who would pay a list price of US$28 for a 20 page booklet?
There are other management books out there that are far superior. Pass on this one.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2006
To do anything with this you need to go online and take the profile. Only one per book. So if someone else in your family wants to, they have to buy a new book with a new access code. They are blatantly just trying to make money off this.

As far as content, pretty weak. I wish I had read through the reviews here before I spent money for this book. Don't bother buying a used copy, if the previous person used the code, your out of luck.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2006
In order to take the online test you have to enter a unique number printed at the back of the book. If someone else has used it, you're stuck, as I found to my cost. The publisher will not provide you with another one.
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