on July 23, 2004
How Full is Your Bucket? is a quick, but worthwhile read. The books subtitle really says it all, positive strategies for Work and Life. The basic premise of the book is that each of us has as an invisible bucket. It is emptied or filled by what others say and do to us. Likewise we empty or fill the invisible buckets of others.
The book goes on to give some examples of filling or emptying of buckets. Next the book goes on to list some practical strategies for filling buckets. They are as follows:
1. Prevent bucket dipping - ask yourself whether you are adding to or taking from another bucket.
2. Shine a light on what is right - don't focus on the negative, spend time, energy and attention of what is right.
3. Make best friends - great relationships lead to increased satisfaction
4. Give unexpectedly - the gifts can be material, trust or respect, but given unexpectedly increases their bucket filling power
5. Reverse the Golden rule - "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them".
The book gives some unexpected gifts. In the back cover is a free id to allow you to use the "Clifton" strengthfinder - so you can discover your strengths. Also there is five strategies wallet card and oh wait a minute I don't want to ruin the unexpected gift factor. This is a great book. Buy some for friends and family.
on November 13, 2005
The authors of this book have impressive credentials and are a grandfather and grandson team of Donald O Clifton and Tom Rath. Don is recognised as the "Father of Strengths Psychology" and "Grandfather of Positive Psychology" and has co-authored the best-selling "Now, Discover Your Strengths" with Marcus Buckingham. This is his very last book. Tom is the Global Practice Leader with Gallup.
The book's main concept uses the metaphor of a bucket and a dipper. The bucket stores positive emotions. The ideal situation is where a bucket is full or overflowing bucket and at the other end of the spectrum is the undesired state of an empty bucket. The dipper on the other hand, either fills up or empties others' and our own buckets. We fill buckets by increasing positive emotions and empty buckets by decreasing positive emotions or via negativity. As simplistic and commonsensical as it sounds, this concept is backed by extensive research.
The introduction starts with early psychology and how it looked at "What's wrong with people". However, Don flipped the question and started researching on "What's right with people". Over the course of time, it was uncovered that human lives are shaped by interactions and these are rarely neutral. Most of our interactions are either negative or positive.
Negativity Kills. The authors' cite the example of the Korean War and how the American POWs were made to feel hopeless without using much physical torture. The Korean captors used the weapons of self-criticism and mistrust as well as withheld positive support to mentally break down the POWs. On the other hand, positivity increases productivity, loyalty, engagement in social circles and better customer care. The authors identify praise and recognition as the critical components of positivity.
We live in a negative culture where praise and recognition are rare. However, the authors caution that the praise and recognition given has to be personalized. "Employee of the month" type of praise and recognition hardly work as it is impersonal and almost everybody in the end ends up getting one. In the process, a lot of research is cited including an interesting one done by Elizabeth Hurlock which showed that children who were praised improved much more than those who were ignored or criticised.
Time and again throughout the book, the authors state the advantages of positive emotions and the disadvantages of negative emotions. The authors urge the readers to wisely use the daily countless moments of interactions to fill buckets and state that the magic ratio is 5-to-1 (5 positive interactions to 1 negative interaction). Studies prove link between optimism and lifespan. For example, cigarettes reduce lifespan on average by 5.5 yrs in males and 7 yrs in females but negative emotions have a deadlier effect on lifespan.
In the middle of the book, Tom presents his personal story of how optimism and 'bucket filling' helped him overcome a rare disorder called the Hippel-Lindau disease which causes unexpected tumours in the brain, pancreas and other body parts.
The authors' time and again urge to make bucket filling a daily practice in our personal lives. Furthermore, personalize the praise and recognition. The mantra "Individualise, Individualise, Individualise" is oft-repeated.
The book winds up with "Five Strategies for Increasing Positive Emotions".
* Strategy 1 (Prevent Bucket Dipping): This can be achieved by becoming conscious, by always asking "Am I adding or dipping?", by preventing dipping, by positively influencing people around and by avoiding persistently negative people. They also urge readers to keep score and provide a worksheet on their site [...]
* Strategy 2 (Shine a Light on What is Right): This can be achieved on by focusing on what's right instead of what's wrong. Help others to feel positive and acknowledge others when they fill your bucket. The website also has a "Positive Impact Test" to assess the current level of positive impact as well as to monitor the improvements.
* Strategy 3 (Make Best Friends): This can be achieved by making best friends at work or outside.
* Strategy 4 (Give Unexpectedly): People prefer unexpected gifts as it has an element of surprise. It does not have to be an expensive or tangible gift (like trust and responsibility). Seek chances to give.
* Strategy 5 (Reverse the Golden Rule): Reverse the golden rule of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" into "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them". Read carefully, you'll get it.
Finally, notice the changes after a period of time. The workplace should be more productive and fun. On a personal front, the relationships with family, friends and self should also improve.
Go ahead, fill a bucket today.
The book as a Mindmap at [...]
on January 15, 2006
First the positives:
This book did alter the way I see the world and had an impact on the way I interact with people. My life has improved since I read this book because I am not my usual, negative self.
Second, it has a clear message; be positive -- and your relationships will be stronger and you will be more effective in your interactions with people.
However, the problem is that I finished this book in about two hours, because it's very short (few pages, few words per page, and many pages with little content). Also, the book doesn't have many strategies on how to implement its premise. Overall, I'd recommend it, but not highly.
on September 22, 2004
The 'bucket book' is a good little book. This whole book focuses on being more positive than negative. Sounds easy right? Probably because it is if you try. Gallup, specifically Tom Rath and Don Clifton have put together a workable theory that states you need to try and have 5 positive interactions with people you meet before you have 1 negative thing to say. They cite research that shows most marriages will fail if the ratio of positive to negative is not better than 1 to 1. So, keep it positive, and life will be better. A simple and important concept. Bravo Gallup
Also, you get to take the StrengthsFinder assessment tool, the best tool out there to figure out how you are wired. That is worth buying the book all on its own.
on July 20, 2004
I read this book the day I received it. In a sentence, I can tell you that the biggest statement that the book relayed is that if you fill someone elses bucket with positive energy, words and praise, it fills yours. In a few sentences... I will say that the authors vision and recommended actions, as well as reading examples in the book, really hit home. I was able to realize that by speaking in negative terms about things in life, whether they pertained to me, someone else, or life, really dipped from my own bucket of positivity. Positive actions reinforce one's ability to adjust and heal from within. Good words are contageous. Caring discussion with another spreads not only between you and who you are speaking with, but the energy from positivity spreads from individual to individual, a domino effect.
A must read. Buy this book!
on January 1, 2006
The American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once commented that the most powerful and influential tenets and ideas are the simple ones. This internationally acclaimed little book certainly proves Mr. Emerson was correct. "How Full is your Bucket?" proposes a straightforward theory that has now become world famous, and that is the theory of the dipper and bucket. In other words giving positive reinforcement to someone makes him or her stronger, filling their bucket, as opposed to spreading negativity, taking away from their bucket, creates more negativity. How often do you give someone at home or work an honest compliment or unexpected gift? Alternatively, how often do you point out the bad things about a spouse or work mate? According to many years of psychological analysis, these simple actions can make the difference between a happy marriage or a crumbling one, a productive work environment or a failing one. It is that simple.
Imagine rising out of bed to greet the new day ready to conquer the world. You walk into work and Nadine Negative says, "Gee, Bret, didn't you wear that shirt yesterday?"
You look down at your shirt and think, "Did I?" Then realize that you haven't worn it in at least a week.
"No Nadine, I wore it last week."
"I don't know." Shaking her head. "It must be your favourite shirt because you seem to have it on quite a bit. I'd think about a new wardrobe, Bret."
Nadine slithers away, and for some reason, you do not feel like conquering the world but hiding from it. You collapse on the chair in your cubical and blankly stare at the computer screen.
In chapter three of this text, "Every Moment Counts", proposes that even the seeming insignificant negative comments will empty your bucket, and if the ratio falls to the negative above 13 to 1, life will become untenable. On the other hand, if Nadine decided to comment on how good you looked that day, that she liked your shirt, filling your bucket, you would become energized and ready to tackle the world. Again, it is that simple.
As head of a small team, I know from experience what a negative person or covert cutting comment can do to the group's morale and overall productivity. I'm always vigilant for any type of negativity, and this little book has simply reinforced the impact of emptying someone's bucket - it can be devastating if left unhandled, as it will spread like a cancer.
This book will take perhaps thirty minutes of your time to read but could possibly change your outlook and modus operandi with your dealings at work, home and relationships.
on June 23, 2009
Just not much here. I get the idea, but I certainly don't think this is groundbreaking. Focus on the positives. The bulk of the book of studies and testimonials wasn't necessary. It could have been summed up in a magazine article.
Let me say that I hate to knock a book that does present a great and positive message. But, it is just way too long in getting the point across.
on June 30, 2005
The number one reason people in America leave their jobs is because they don't feel appreciated. In this 109 page book, the authors combine 50 years of research into the effects of positive psychology with a long-told story of the dipper and the bucket. This analogy suggests that each person has an invisible bucket (of emotions) and a dipper which they carry with them throughout their daily lives. Everyone can use their dipper to either add to other peoples buckets or dip from them. (This analogy reminded me of Stephen Covey's example in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People of our emotional bank accounts and how we make deposits or withdrawals.) The authors' research shows that filling someone else's bucket will benefit the person who gave the praise and the person that received it.
This book focuses on, and expands upon five strategies to reduce the amount of negativity our culture seems to cultivate. They include; preventing bucket dipping, shining a light on what is right, making best friends, giving unexpectedly and reversing the golden rule. These can be very important to integrate into our own daily lives or those of our employees because according to the book, negative employees can scare off customers they speak with-for good. On the flip side, increasing positive emotions could lengthen the life span by up to 10 years. (I assume this will only work if you don't smoke or if your SUV doesn't flip over.)
The advice offered in this easy-to-read volume is simple, practical and inspirational, if implemented into our daily lives. It offers great insights to anyone wanting a better quality of life in their relationships, both at home and at work. The book comes with some clever tools (multi-colored hand-outs) to be used when sharing recognition or praise with others and a website test that readers can take to discover ones emotional strengths. I would recommend this book for anyone looking to improve morale in the workplace or in their personal relationships. The advice is clear, crisp and concise, yet very powerful.
on February 7, 2010
Our Principal gave each faculty member a copy of this book. It is a delicious read. It gives real insight into the human workings. I found it inspiring & encouraging. I bought it for many loved ones to be Christmas gifts.
on January 10, 2014
This is not a book. This is a reader's digest article. Be nice to people and surround yourself with people who enhance your life and you'll be happier and healthier. I mean it is exactly that self-evident and vapid. It is also 88 pages long. I paid $18 for 88 pages of nothing and literally 40+ pages of padding.
Parts of the book didn't even ring true. There's a story of a star salesperson getting an award and being FURIOUS about it. Not just indifferent, but furious, and expressing his fury right there and then at the public event, because he already had plenty of awards and it didn't mean anything to him. No one with the people skills to excel in sales would act like that unless they were mentally ill. I'm just so furious that I spent $18 on this. I feel not just disappointed but scammed.