Book Review: StrengthsFinder 2.0

Whenever we work on enhancing ourselves, we always look at the deficiencies – I’m not a great public speaker so I’ll make sure to do x presentations this year, or I’m not great with design programs so I’ll sign up for an adobe course. Those are uphill battles that require a strong resolve and a lot of commitment. Why do we put ourselves through that?

Maybe it all started when we were younger. We received praise for what we did well, but more attention was placed on what we failed or were mediocre at. Parents look at a report card and say “Good job on the A- in Science, but you really need to work harder on that D in English … lets get you a tutor and you should stay after school for extra sessions.” Why not send that child to science program after school or in the summer?

A lot of emphasis is put on becoming better in things that we are not good at it and/or not interested in, and very little time is spent on nurturing our strengths. Does that really make a lot of sense? Decathletes may be the best all around athletes in the world, but it is extremely rare for them to be at an elite level in anything. I bet you know Usain Bolt, but do you know Decathlon WR holder?

We should strive at becoming remarkable.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is about understanding what your strengths are, and how to nurture them and use them to your advantage. This is done through an online test that asks 180 comparison questions that will list your 5 unique ‘themes’ or strengths in the order of which you’re strongest at.

The book itself is worthless. Out of the 174 pages, the first 31 give you a background of why you should know your strengths, about the test, and to help get you in the right mindset. The rest of the book is just fluff goes into detail about all 34 themes. This doesn’t matter because:

1) You can download that all off the website as a pdf file

2) We’re only worried about our Top 5 strengths, not everything else.

Unfortunately, you need to buy the book to get the access code listed in the back in order to take the test online. The results are downloadable as a pdf as well, which includes personalized insights based on your answers, some questions to increase your awareness, and then a worksheet for you to create an action plan.

That said – I highly suggest this book. The results I received, in order of preference were:

  • Strategic
  • Ideation
  • Futuristic
  • Activator
  • Command

These results match both my MBTI (ENTP) and Belbin (Plant), which are profiles that are highly innovative and idea generators, thinking of possibilities and the future.

The purpose of knowing your strengths is that you can then feed them more, and also find ways to use them at your job and make your work more enjoyable. The action plan is a nice way to plan how to use and enhance your strengths, and personalized insights lets you reflect on how you use your strength. I’ve taken a lot of psychometric type tests over the past few years so this was nothing new, but I would definitely suggest it to anyone who is unsure of their strengths or is unhappy with their job and looking for ways to become energized.