Strengths Finder 2.0

by Tom Rath

The premise of this book is that people are happiest and most productive when their work is well suited to their strengths. Conversely, many people pursue the “path of most resistance.” The book includes a code to access an online assessment which will identify your top five strengths.

“Gallup has surveyed more than 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement… People who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.”

The researchers also explored the effect of management style. When managers focus on weaknesses, employees are 22% likely to be disengaged, but when managers focus on strengths, disengagement drops to 1%. “It appears that the epidemic of active disengagement we see in workplaces every day could be a curable disease… if we can help the people around us develop their strengths.” Interestingly, when employees are ignored, the likelihood of disengagement surges to 40%.

The online assessment actually identifies your top five innate talents out of 34 categories. Talents can be developed into strengths by learning skills, gaining knowledge, and practice. The author summarizes this with the formula Strength = Talent x Investment.

My top five themes are:

  1. Deliberative – “People who are especially talented in the Deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles.”
  2. Relator – “People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.”
  3. Responsibility – “People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.”
  4. Analytical – “People who are especially talented in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation.”
  5. Strategic – “People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.”

The assessment report also includes Personalized Strengths Insights for each of your top five themes. Note: Do not buy a used copy of this book because the code is only valid for one use.

The first 35 pages explain the premise and the research. Part II includes a chapter about each of the 34 themes.

Tom Rath is also the author of How Full is Your Bucket.

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham is an older book based on Strengths Finder research, with an orientation toward managing employees by focusing on their strengths.

Rath, Tom. Strengths Finder 2.0. New York: Gallup, 2007. Buy from

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