Friday, 3 February 2012

Book Review: Strengthsfinder 2.0 (Tom Rath)

174 pages/31 pages (see below for explanation)

Back again dear readers! A sluggish return from holidays but now ready to post again. And so, to begin with, a book review of Strengthsfinder 2.0.

A Brief Intro to the Book

It is what it says. Classic marketing. A group of folks at US company Gallup (the author calls the researchers 'scientists'), led by 'the Father of Strengths Psychology' Donald O Clifton (quoting the author again with the capital letters his), researched a list of the 34 most common talents. This book is really about finding your particular top five talents and how to 'action' them in your life.

Initial Reaction: Irritation

Why? Well, the book is 174 pages long, but actually it is only 31 pages long. Let me explain.

The 31 pages gives a context to why the group of 'scientists' developed the test. And I must tell you, I liked reading this a lot. Their big leadership/life idea is this:

You cannot be anything you want to be - but you can be a lot more of who you already are (p9).  

I happen to agree with that statement. Hear me out here. A gift I know I personally have is the ability to research. One gift I know I don't have is accountancy. So to make me work my way up to 'mediocre' from 'rubbish' in the accountancy stakes seems pointless. Better would be to help me develop my natural ability to research so that it is even more effective.

HOWEVER - this book talks about this for only 31 pages. It then describes all of the 34 talents. THAT would be ok except that the whole point of buying the book is that you cannot find out your five talents from Gallup until you have unsealed the special code to access the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test online! The Strengthsfinder website then punches out a report for you about your top five strengths and how to action them further. Your online report's descriptions of your talents basically matches what the book says about them, although the book adds a couple of quotes of people who have each talent. The book then goes on to describe all 34 talents; the report describes only your own.              

So to cut a long story short: why produce a book when really the website does it all anyway? I would have been happy to simply pay - say - $20.00 and do the web test. The information is pretty good and my fellow pastor and I are going to talk about our results together and how to action them in our respective church settings. I don't need an extra book which is basically a 31 page booklet plus excess material I don't really need. I honestly felt hoodwinked into buying the book.    

But - The Positives

As I said above, the web test and resulting reports are pretty good. I'm glad I have them. They outline in some detail the characteristics of my top 5 talents. I showed the report to my wife and she more or less agreed with what it said. My top 5 talents were 'learner', 'harmony', 'adaptability', 'intellection' and 'consistency'. To know more about them read the book!

So Overall - 

The information is very useful. No doubt about it.
I would have paid $20 to do the test without a book.
But the book costs about $30.
You can't do the online test without the access code sealed at the back of the book.    
The book itself really isn't worth the money, but for having the code.

That is my overall take on this book, and now it is your dilemma as to what to do from here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a good review.
    Sounds like a marketing fail has got in the way of what is essentially good content! That is sad. I want the content but not at the price.
    A very helpful review.