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Jul 07

Marcus Buckingham: The Truth About You

When best-selling author Marcus Buckingham writes, people listen.  At least they should.  He’s one of the few “motivational speakers” with something to say besides the usual platitudes and clichés offered up by many. 

Buckingham has become something of an authority in the business world in helping people identify their strengths and weaknesses, and encouraging them to spend more time playing to their strengths than improving weaknesses. 

Buckingham’s latest, The Truth About You from Thomas Nelson, offers a condensed tool one can use to identify one’s passions and talents.  Although it’s not a thick book and can be read quickly, the real benefit will come with a slower, introspective read, taking the time to answer the questions and consider the trends.

The book includes a DVD with a short story that helps set the stage for the discovery process the book intends to take the reader down, illustrating the importance of understanding your strengths. 

This is not a book of psycho-babble.  Buckingham goes against the grain at times, throwing out conventional wisdom at times and replacing it with a common sense approach to contemporary times.  It's not an overtly Christian book, but it does help one identify their God-given talents and in so doing helps Christians learn to steward their abilties for kingdom purposes.

This is a book, admittedly, that is applicable only to a free people in a modern day society.  Indeed, in times past the vocational choices of most people were limited.  You did the job that was needed, whether you liked it or not, and whether you were any good at it or not.  But today, the choices before all of us are astounding.  We have a tremendous amount of choice in America today.  Yet many people are unhappy with their vocational choices.

Buckingham makes five points, and expounds in each of them throughout the book.  These five points summarize what Buckingham has learned over the years and is derived from his list of five things he wishes he had known when he was first getting started in his career.

Throughout the book, Buckingham elaborates on five valuable pieces of advice he wishes he had received when just starting out in life.

1) Performance is always the point
2) Your strengths aren’t what you’re good at, and your weaknesses aren’t what you’re bad at
3) When it comes to your job, the “what” always trumps the “why” and the “who”
4) You’ll never find the perfect job
5) You’ll never turn your weaknesses into strengths

Buckingham also offers insight into five statements that “sound right but aren’t:”

1) Always treat people as you would like to be treated
2) There is no “I” in team
3) You should work on your weaknesses
4) Push yourself beyond your comfort zone
5) Your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness

Throughout the discussion of these topics, Buckingham offers insightful questions designed to reveal your true motivations, your true passions, your true talents.   Those that make you happy, not just successful.    Read this book, slowly, and think about the questions provided throughout the commentary.   You’ll be better equipped to evaluate job opportunities and navigate a career path once you understand the strategy and thinking behind the statements made above.

Preview the book here

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