Monday, October 5, 2009

Review: Find Your Strongest Life

When I cracked open the book Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham, I expected to learn about using my strengths to become an all-around more successful woman. In some ways, I was wrong.

Buckingham used the first 40 or so pages to provide all the reasons why women in this day and age are so overwhelmed and stressed; while women receive equal pay, hold more executive roles, and have more opportunities, all of these choices are why women are less happier now than they were 30 or so years ago, according to Buckingham. This section felt as if Buckingham was trying to establish a reason for why this book was important. In doing so, he tried telling women, 'this is why you should feel stressed out.' In other words, I'm not unhappy, but this section of the book tried to tell me that I should be.

Despite not being hooked early on, I continued to read, hoping that the depressing 40 pages would lead to what all women can do to utilize their strengths in both their professional and personal lives.

The book hit its stride with the online Strong Life Test, which determines what your 'lead role' and 'secondary role' is. Not surprising (but at the same time affirming) for me, my results named "creator" as my lead role, and "advisor" as a secondary role. With this knowledge about your roles, Buckingham explains, you can focus on doing things that play into your lead and secondary roles. Focus on why situations feel successful, not on weaknesses or problems. Focus on the moments that feel rewarding, the times that the day flies by and you barely even notice it. These moments, he says, are the best guide in determining where your life should go. It sounds like common sense, but Buckingham applies his advice in a thorough question and answer section at the end of the book.

While I didn't agree with everything Buckingham wrote and while the book is targeted to working mothers and wives (of which, I'm neither), Buckingham gave some good advice on how to build a strong life. I found most of his real-examples to be inspiring - despite always being about working moms. And I also liked how he re-defined what strengths and weaknesses are. Strengths are what makes you feel best, not necessarily the things you're best at. Weaknesses are the things that make you feel weak. So, while this book didn't provide too much of what I didn't already know, it does provide a lot of interesting things to think about when trying to make changes in your life based on the the things that strengthen you.

I am reviewing this book as a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program.

No comments: