Book Review: Living Your Strengths
I find it hardest to review books I love. There’s just too much to say…
Many who know me, especially locally, know my support of this book. It’s a phenomenal way to categorize people with a highly accurate assessment into 34 different themes. Each person’s results are his or her top 5 strength themes (until, in further training, you discover all 34 in order).
I know what you’re thinking: “Not another personality test!!” (I’ve heard it dozens of times.)
And trust me, I’ve taken my fair share of personality tests over the years. This is completely different.
It really dives into the core of who we are. Our most internal, raw personalities not covered by a veil of how we want the world to view us. The assessment explains to both ourselves and others how God purposefully made us.
Fairly recently, I discovered the power of knowing others’ strength themes. For example, one part of my job is preparing new volunteer missionaries for the field. We require this assessment for all our new applicants and when their packet comes to my desk, I am able to peek into the type of person I’m about to work with. I can alter ways I explain things or understand what would make them more comfortable in this huge new step in their lives. It helps me understand why they ask certain questions, gives me patience with certain types that may not mesh well with my strength themes and just overall gives us a better working relationship.
One of the chapters delves into the matter of how we’re always trying to fix our weaknesses.
“If only I could be more disciplined…”
“If only I practice more…”
“If only…if only…”
Can you imagine how much more effective you could be in life if you focused on your strengths instead? Author Tom Rath puts it well:
“Some of this is just common sense; it seems intuitive that your performance will be better if you’re doing what you naturally do well. But some of it seems counter-intuitive and runs directly against conventional wisdom: No amount of training will help you excel in your areas of weakness. You can’t do anything you want to do — or be anything you want to be — because you’re just not going to be good at everything. But if you work with your talents, you can be extraordinary.”
From what I understand, the original book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, was replaced with StrengthsFinder 2.0. This is the secular version and has some great points and sections specifically for workplaces and co-workers. However, Living Your Strengths is the “church version,” as I call it. It includes all the same descriptions of the strengths but has a bunch more info on the church life – how to utilize your talents for the Kingdom. God calls us each to serve within our own gifts and this book guides and even gives great examples of how better to plug yourself into your local church.
A few thoughts:
- Be careful of the copy you purchase as new books come with a code to take the assessment. Used books can sometimes have invalid codes as they’re only usable once.
- If you and your spouse are both interested, I recommend purchasing one of each: Living Your Strengths and StrengthsFinder 2.0. This will give you a broader collection of information – a way to build on your talents in both the church and the workplace, both being important.
- You can also buy the code online but, last I saw, it cost more than a whole new book + code combo.
I originally published the above review a few years ago on an old blog I no longer write on. I am re-sharing today as I still feel strongly about it! Here are further thoughts:
Since I originally posted this review, I have attended further course training, begun training to be a coach, coached several people and also discovered all 34 of my themes in order.
In a big transition in my life, I decided to give up completing my coach training. It’s not important to this review, but if you’re wondering, I did not finish it on purpose.
I also read Strengths Based Leadership which, as you might guess, covers the same topic but with focus in the leadership realm. I gave it and the above-mentioned books all 5 stars on Goodreads!
Have you taken this assessment? What are your Top 5? I’m dying to know!