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on 18 January 2010
Thoroughly impressed. It makes a nice change to see personality tests coming from an organisation with access to really significant data. I found the summary of my strengths really useful with a number of good ideas of new things I could get involved in.

The book itself is really a glorified set of log in details for the website which hosts the test itself. Once you have logged on and done the test, you have access to all the information online and the book becomes somewhat redundant.

*Do not buy a second hand copy* as the chances are that the log in details won't work (having been used already).
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on 31 October 2010
You buy the book and get a code to access a website. On the website you can enter your code to do a 177 question 'quiz'. You are only able to do this the once and then it's fixed. This even though the book itself says 'if you take the same version of StrengthsFinder again a few months later, it is not unusual for a couple of your top five themes to change.' So, you cannot then look at how strong each of your 'themes' is and cannot see how you might change over time after trying to apply some of the suggestions offered.

The book itself does give a description of the 34 themes, but the website doesn't really offer much extra. You can look at your results (but never retake the test) and look at the 10 ideas of action (which are in the book anyway). I was hoping for a lot more to be available on the website. More ideas, more questions to ask yourself, more ways to actually *use* the ideas and suggestions given.

Strikes me that this is little more a promotional tool to then pay huge amounts of money for further consultation.

Overall, not a complete waste of time, but I'm not sure it's entirely worth the money.
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on 23 July 2009
This has been a useful little book. It takes a positive approach on one's capacity rather than focusing on what your're lacking. That is refreshing. The online test was good although the time limit became a little irritating as I was not alone in the room and missed several questions because I was interrupted. Lock yourself away before starting the test!
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on 25 October 2011
I have just completed the online test, and initially was surprised at my top 5 strengths. However, on reading the book, I can honestly say it was incredibly accurate! A really great business tool.
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on 28 August 2013
This product consists of a book with some background information and descriptions of all the various strengths, as well as a unique link to a website where you take a 'test' of about 100 paired statements. You then get a personalised report of the results and how you might look to use them. The test involves strongly agreeing or disagreeing with two statements on each end of a scale where you rate whether you lean more towards one statement than the other. I found it very difficult to answer some of the questions as occasionally I agreed completely (or disagreed completely) with both statements though had to 'sit on the fence' in order to feel equally about each which I think must have affected the results.

Like all these things (Myers Briggs, Insights etc) there are always limitations due to the way you take the test, interpret the results and so on. The test tells you your top 5 strengths but it's easy to interpret this wrongly by assuming that you don't have certain other strengths which some people could find misleading. What's also missing is some guidance on what actually to do with the results particularly if you want to use it for working in teams or in collaboration with others in the work place. I spent some considerable time trying to work out what conclusions I could draw from this and designing a follow up session to try and make something out of my team's combined results, but still am not convinced I've really achieved that. All that said, the test is quite enjoyable (even if I didn't understand some of the 'Americanisms' used in some of the wording) and I suppose is a good tool for companies to reassure staff that they actually are interested in developing them. Very importantly, you must buy the book new otherwise you will not get your unique code to get onto the website and take the test.
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on 28 November 2009
the book's value is in it's password that lets you give the personality test that the Galup's institute has developed. It tells you which are your top 5 strength areas among 37 themes. I did the test, and was more than impressed. The test was so accurate that I was puzzled. Everything was true about me, especially the first 2 areas.

I bought this book 1 year ago. This book gave me guidelines for making choices regarding my career. so if you are not sure of your best area, and what you can excel at definitely buy this book and try the test.

I am buying 2 more for 2 friends :)
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on 18 November 2015
The website for this book is terrible. It's simply horrible trying to register and then I experienced lots of issues during taking the test and submitting the test. At the end, you're given five words which describe your strengths, with a number of suggestions to help you maximise those strengths. So for instance, one of my strengths is "Input" and the task was "Devise a system to store and easily locate information. This can be as simple as a file for all the articles you have clipped or as sophisticated as a computer database." Also, if you purchase the Kindle book (which is what I did) there is a significant delay before you get your code. And really, the code is all that matters. The book without the code is like finding some cryptic text and wondering how to translate it.

I've found that the strengths are insightful to some degree. The test takes about 30 minutes and is made up of 177 questions, with 20 seconds to answer each question).

Given the price, it's hard to be too harsh on this. I can actually see myself buying it as a gift for a couple of friends to top up birthday presents - but getting the physical version. The output is interesting and the quality is superior to free online profiling tests.
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You will probably find no head-snapping revelations in this book if you have already read Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman's First, Break All the Rules and/or Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton's Now, Discover Your Strengths (especially the latter). Nor does Tom Rath claim to offer any. Rather, this is a new and upgraded edition of the Gallup organization's previous online test (StrengthsFinder 1.0) that enables those who take it to identify and measure their talents relative to "more than 5,000 new personalized Strengths Insights that we have discovered in recent years."

In Rath's two previously published books, How Full Is Your Bucket? co-authored with Donald O. Clifton and Vital Friends, he shares his own reactions to an abundance of research data which reveals the importance of two separate but related forces which have profound impact on the workplace: getting strengths in alignment with work to be done and then developing them even more with strategic delegation and close supervision.

What we have in this book, Strengths Finder 2.0, is a wealth of new research material that Rath examines with exceptional precision and uncommon eloquence. I strongly encourage each reader to take full advantage of the self-diagnostic opportunities that both Rath and the Gallup organization generously offer. Of course, once various exercises are completed, a significant challenge remains: to take effective and productive action to apply what has been learned. It is helpful to be aware of what Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton so aptly characterize as the "knowing-doing" and "doing-knowing" gaps. It is also helpful to recall Peter Drucker's observation more than 40 years ago: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."

Presumably Rath agrees that, more often than not, the Yoda is right: "Do or do not. There is no try."
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VINE VOICEon 17 October 2015
Ok, let's be clear. What you're really buying access to is the fantastic online psychometric test. I bought the kindle version of this as it's slightly cheaper. The book itself is fairly short: it contains an intro (about a fifth of the book) which explains the Gallup point of view. This is basically that if we all understood and focussed on our strengths rather than our weaknesses, we would be happier and far, far more productive (after decades of work on this, they have the research to back this up). It's articulated really well, and is really convincing.

The rest of the book is a summary of each of the different strengths, including how people with that strength might want to make the most of that strength, and how to work with people like that. But the truth is you don't need to read that for yourself, because when you take the test (relatively short) you get a personalised report on each of your strengths (ok, it's not totally personalised, but it adapted for exactly *how much* you have each strength, and the mixtures you have). And here's where the transformative bit comes in.

This personalised report really affected me. When I read some of it, I welled up. I hadn't felt that *got* for ages. And it opened up all sorts of things: I understood why I had left a particular job, which had mostly been a great job, I understood why I was so attracted to the career path I am developing into. And I just know that I will be able to use this going forward.

I work as a coach now, and I often recommend this to clients. Mostly they don't do it, because it costs £10 or so, and you can get free psychometric tests about strengths online. But the ones who take it find it transformative, too. It's WAY better than the free ones, and for me the £10 is one of the best £10s I've ever spent. Go on, get it!
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on 13 September 2009
Having read some of the only a code reviews I have to disagree. I definitely feel that you need to read the book "first, break all the rules" to fully appreciate the ideas behind the test. The test itself is extremely accurate and there is a section which gives ideas on how you can become a more productive manager and to fully work on your strengths or "talents" as they like to call them. For those who feel that they haven't given enough of what to do with the information, Gallup have recently published "12: The Elements of Great Managing", this book is full of working examples of how the 12 question survey of gallups can be implemented.

In all I'd say that the book is worth it's cost (JUST ABOUT FOR THE TEST) but if you are looking for a deep insight stick with first break all the rules. If you are a person who needs step by step instruction on how to implement everything then couple it with the book 12. If you are already a capable manager... my advice: Simply do the test, read the results and then take the advice.
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