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Now, Discover Your Strengths
The Revolutionary program that shows you how to develop your unique talents and strengths--and those of the people you manage
by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.
Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton is a good book to help people discover their natural talents and, hopefully, find a career that uses these natural proclivities.
Buckingham and Clifton argue that successful living and career success must follow from building upon your natural strengths and not trying to shore-up your weaknesses. The authors argue that society, career advisors, and people try to fix weaknesses and ignore building upon their strengths.
To actually discover your strengths, or more correctly your "dominant talents," you must go online and take a Strength Builder test. You can only take the test once, so if you want to try the test again, or have members of your family take the test also, you'll need to buy another copy of Now, Discover Your Strengths. That sort of diminishes the fun of the book, but one test per book is probably fair.
After taking your test, you'll wind up with a list of five dominant talents. Some of the possible talents are:* Achiever
Once you have a list of your talents, Now, Discover Your Strengths seems to leave you on your own. For example, what's an adaptable, strategic, empathetic relator and learner to do? Who knows?
Until you find a way to utilize your dominant talents and turn them into personal strengths to help you live a more successful life, I'm not sure if knowing your dominant traits will help. Possibly, when you approach a new job or a new role, you could ask yourself if you think that the role would cater to your inherent talents.
For example, you could ask, "Would this cater to my strategic or learner trait?"
Maybe, I'm too focused upon patching up weaknesses, but from a career standpoint, it seems just as useful to know your worst five natural talents. For example, if a person is low in achiever or adaptability, knowing that might help the person avoid career roles which demand that he constantly rely upon talents he does not possess. (Maybe, that'll be another book--Discover What You Suck At)
One of my favorite chapters is "Traces of Talent" which gives some guidelines for finding your talents, even if you can't get online to take the Strength Finder test.
Buckingham and Clifton write: "First, if you want to reveal your talents, monitor your spontaneous, top-of-the-mind reactions to the situations you encounter. These top-of-the-mind reactions provide the best trace of your talents... ."
The authors also suggest that rapid learning of a particular area or finding a sense of satisfaction in what you're doing probably indicates you're using a natural talent.
Overall, Now, Discover Your Strengths is a fun read, and there is some good insight.