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Find Your Strongest Life [Paperback]

Marcus Buckingham
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Find Your Strongest Life + Now, Discover Your Strengths: How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage + First, Break All The Rules
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Int edition (29 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400280788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400280780
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 590,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marcus Buckingham is the co-author of the bestselling books First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths. He is a renowned speaker and regular guest on American television. He lives in Los Angeles but was born in England and is a graduate of Cambridge University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do More of What You Feel Energized by 3 Feb 2010
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
"Therefore the strong people will glorify You;" -- Isaiah 25:3

I ordered this book thinking that my wife and daughter would be thrilled to find out how to find their strongest lives. I left it hanging around where they tend to pick up books I want them to find and read. That didn't work. Then, I asked each of them if they would like to read it. My daughter turned up her nose and my wife said she's take a quick look. After six minutes my wife commented, "There's not much there."

Although this is a book-length self-help book, my advice to men would be not to buy it for women. They'll buy it for themselves if they want to read it.

Assuming that all men have stopped reading the review by now, let me address women. If you have read Marcus Buckingham's book, Find Your Strongest Life, you probably won't feel that this book adds very much other than some anecdotes. Take a peek at the library or while browsing at the bookstore before buying.

If you haven't read that book, let me ask you a question to help you decide if this book is for you: How happy are you with your life on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being as happy as you can imagine?

If you answer seven or higher, you are average or above in happiness and much of this advice won't help too much.

If you answer four or lower and loathe either your job or your family life, this is your book. Go for it.

The book is structured around an experience that the author had in counseling 30 women who had achieved so-called success in life, but were dissatisfied.

It begins with 10 myths, which I paraphrase to shorten and for clarity:

1. When women have more opportunities, they are happier.
2. Happiness for women increases with age.
3.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, must read 18 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback
Well, I was a little sceptical when a friend showed me the book and said I HAD to read it. Im not particularly fond of American authors, toothpaste smiles on a cover and so on. But this book pleasantly surprised me!
Women and men are wired differently and it has been a pleasure to see a woman's life and possible troubling thoughts through the eyes of a man. Men do look differently at the world than we, women, do. It has brought me some nice eye-openers that I also use for my clients in coaching as to what makes you happy.

Read and judge for yourself, it is fun to look at things from another perspective!
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  225 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Find Your Strongest Life and Live Life on Purpose 5 Oct 2009
By Wanda Brewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This time around, Marcus Buckingham offers many more tools instead of gadgets comparing Find Your Strongest Life to the Truth About You. I could relate to the check points of knowing you are living a strong life: feeling what you do fulfills you, feeling inspired to start each day, wanting to learn something new, and, your most important needs are being met by your circle of support. If prior to reading this book, I was asked to put into words "why" I felt my life was strong and happy, I would have only been able to say, "because I feel like I am in control of what I do." I am a partner in a small business so while I may feel like I often carry the weight of the world on my shoulders as I also wear my mom and volunteer hats, I thrive on knowing I can make things happen instead of having to wait for permission to take a stab at a new idea. Ownership also keeps me inspired to keep learning about what other small businesses are doing. Thanks to Marcus, I can now intelligently put into words why my life is so rewarding.

However, it was not always like this, by far might I add. This is where I had to stop short of a perfect five stars. If I had read this when my four children were still very young, I would have been completely frustrated because I was in no way married to a man who would ever entertain staying home to raise the kids while I went after what made me feel strong. I also did not have the earning power needed to hire a nanny, or housekeeper, or yard service and an evening job was not possible due to his travel schedule. This was not addressed in Find Your Strongest Life. Maybe this needs to be the next book Marcus--How to Find Happiness with Your Strongest Life on Hold while You Do the Right Thing for Your Family.

Last but not least, while I "get" why you caution being optimistic about everything, this can be a dangerous concept to advocate to the woman whose full time job, not by choice, is raising young kids even though this is not her strong point. What purpose will it serve her to identify the negative aspects of her life when she may not be able to do anything about them at this moment?

I would recommend this book to other women, but only to those women who are in my position, whose kids are older so they are free to create their strongest life.
41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to know why women have more but enjoy it less? 4 Aug 2009
By John Chancellor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Today women are better educated, have better jobs, better pay, more choices about mates, careers ... just about everything. But that has not translated into women being happier. Actually with more choices the opposite is true. Womens overall happiness has been on a steady decline since 1972. This decline in happiness occurs across the board, regardless of whether women have children, how many they have, or how much they earn.

Marcus Buckingham is a well known researcher. He has written five previous books which centered around the concept that each person will be happiest when they are working from their greatest strength. Find Your Strongest Life got its start from a three hour workshop with Oprah. The workshop was conducted with 30 talented but unfulfilled women.

In his mission statement Marcus says, "My mission is to help each person identify her strengths, take them seriously and offer them to the world."

The book starts off by citing 10 myths about women. Here are just a few: As women get older they become more engaged and fulfilled. (False) If women had more free time they would feel less stressed. (False) Having children makes women happier. (children create more stress) At work, women are relegated to the lower level roles. (False) There are ten that Marcus addresses and it is the starting point for the book.

The book is in three parts. The first part deals with the paradox of modern life. Women have more but it is not bringing the happiness they thought/hoped it would.

Part two is a guide to how to live your strongest life. Here the book goes into great detail in how to identify and live your strongest life. Part three is basically a Q & A section.

Most women I know feel over stressed, under-appreciated and unfulfilled. They are trying to juggle too many things. This book is the manual they have been hoping for. It will dispel a lot of false beliefs. There are some very valuable lessons about how to identify your strengths and then start living them.

Marcus cites specific examples of women and how they found their strongest life.

If you are a woman struggling with: "What's life all about? Do I have to settle for or stay in a job I don't like? Do I have to give up my career for my family?" then this is a must read. If you know of a woman going through trying to find her way in life, get a copy and give it to her.

Most people have been taught that to be successful you have to work on your weaknesses. Marcus advocates the totally opposite approach. Identify your strengths and build your life around them. You will only be fulfilled when you work on your strengths. This is your natural state.

This is a well written, easy to read book. It is full of great information that any woman should be able to gain insight into their lives and put the advice to work right away.

Highly recommended.
88 of 112 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More strength-based snake oil 4 Oct 2009
By Bret L. Simmons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I do not recommend this book. The title leads you to believe that Marcus Buckingham applies his "decades of research" to once again tell us how simply finding your strength will make you a happier and more successful woman. Don't fall for it - he doesn't prove anything close.

I volunteered to read and review this book as part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Team. In all fairness, I must reveal that I have read another one of Buckingham's books, First Break All the Rules, and I hated it also. Buckingham is extremely well known for his other books on strengths, and he is a very good writer, so I predict this book will also sell very well.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I is entitled "Something's got to give" and details the unique challenges and stressors that women face. This part is actually pretty good. He makes some very important points in this section, the most important being that "over the last few decades, women have become less happy with their lives, and as women get older, they get sadder" (p. 21). That conclusion appears to be supported by independent research.

Buckingham's explanation for this is that women are not focusing their attention "the challenge of all the different roles you play is not that you don't have enough hours in the day. The challenge of all these roles is that during the hours you choose to work you have too many different things going on at any one time to focus properly no each of them. Your time isn't stretched; your attention is." (pp. 41-42). He supports this conclusion based on the work of Barry Schwartz The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less (2005).

Chapters one through three are pretty well supported with notes with references that can be found in the back of the book. The next five chapters, where he presents his strength based solution to the problem he identified in Part I, have no notes - none. We don't get another note until chapter nine and the last six chapters have very few notes to support his claims and advice. So much for a book "packed with research."

Buckingham tells women that they need to be strong, and he defines this as 1) successful, 2) instinctively looking forward to tomorrow, 3) growing and learning, 4) needs fulfilled. He never tells us how he developed and verified this construct definition. He also measures this with only five questions:
* How often do you feel an emotional high in your life?
* How often do you find yourself positively anticipating your day?
* How often do you become so involved in what you are doing that you lose track of time?
* How often do you feel invigorated at the end of each day?
* How often do you get to do things you really like to do?

I won't bore you with psychometric theory, but I seriously doubt these five items hang together in a measure that is both reliable and valid. And we will never know how reliable and valid this measure is because Buckingham does not point us to the citation that shows where this measure has been subject to a peer-reviewed evaluation. That is a HUGE problem, and makes everything else he says from this point forward (p. 55) unsupportable.

If only women knew how to find their strengths and focus their attention on them, they would be happier. Sorry, I don't buy it - it is way too simplistic. Let me give you an example:

"To solve the problems in your life - whether a hostile work environment, a sister-in-law who passively-aggressively criticizes your mothering technique, or a husband who doesn't help our at home - you must do the same: focus your attention on what "working" would look like, organize your life to create a few more of these "working" moments, and then celebrate them." (p. 178)

Buckingham tell us to try to see any behavior, whether good or bad, as a thread of strength. Benevolent distortion and positive illusion are other terms he uses to label this technique.

So if you work for a bully boss, the pathway to the positive is to find the strength in what they are doing, focus on that, and celebrate it? Give me a break. If you have a bully boss at work, your misery is NOT YOU. It is a dysfunctional corporate culture that is allowing people to behave badly. The way out is not to change your perspective on the abuse, but to change your situation - work with your company and its leaders to help change the culture or get the hell out of there!

The final sixty-three pages of the book are suggestions for tactics to lead a strong life. There is some appealing advice in this final section, but you should take it for exactly what it is - anecdotal advice.

I strongly recommend you do not waste your time with this book.

If you want a good book on happiness written by a real scientist, read The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyobomirsky
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I feel very strongly about my "OK" rating 17 Sep 2009
By L. Jacobs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I feel as if Marcus Buckingham has good intentions to lead women toward success, it's just not my vision of success. And his image of a happy woman is nothing like my vision of a happy woman, perhaps because one of us IS a woman.

I like to live and let live because I believe each one of us has a unique path--and that once you find that path, you're on the road to your best life. Find Your Strongest Life seemed to promote one lifestyle: high-end exec who flies the red-eye to be sure to catch her son's school play (that also happens to be Buckingham's description of his own wife).

Which leads me to the comparisons in the book of the successful example of a woman, Anna and the unsuccessful example of a woman, Charlie. Charlie gave up her life to suit her husband's career, but she does have a pretty stable relationship inside the family. Anna went after what she wanted, even when what she wanted caused her to overlook her instinct that something wasn't quite right with the childcare she had chosen (her nanny fell asleep on the floor and the baby cried at the window for his parents all day--this went on for 3 weeks before Anna investigated).

I use those two examples as my example of the one-dimensional book this is. If you want to get on the road to success--you want that partnership at the firm and you're struggling to balance the guilt you may feel leaving everything else in life behind, then this is the book for you. Good luck on your journey. However, if you are looking for more than that, I suggest you keep searching. Try "Harmonic Wealth" by James Arthur Ray or "Finding Your Own North Star" by Martha Beck. And good luck to you too!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful advice for everyday life 6 Oct 2009
By J. Womble - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Find Your Strongest Life had simple, yet powerful tips for living a better life. They were tips that seemed basic, yet they were ideas I had never considered. I am a young, single woman. I'm not married and don't have kids and this book most certainly had advice just for me. In reading some of these other reviews, I'm confused by people who say this book is just for career women or just for moms - I completely disagree. I think this book has great advice for women of all ages and stages of life. Don't look to this book to answer all your life questions or to be your moral compass, that doesn't seem to be its intent. Look to it for good, practical life advice - for tips on how to live life in a way that strengthens you instead of draining you. Who doesn't need that kind of advice?
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