Friday, December 05, 2008

The Truth About You

I recently received a copy of Marcus Buckingham's latest release, The Truth About You. One of the reasons I chose this book is because I have an 18-year-old son who's a senior in high school, and we've had multiple go-rounds about what he's going to "do with his life" after high school. Part of his dilemma (I think) is the fact that he honestly doesn't know what his strengths are (besides video games and computers).

The pluses: Not only is this a short book, but it can be read in short sittings. If you're busy, you can set it down. Marcus's writing style is straightforward and clear. BUT this is also a book to make you think (see below).

It also comes with a short DVD that features Marcus talking about the principles of finding your strengths, what strengths and weaknesses are (as he defines them). The DVD serves as an introduction to the ideas in the book. This is ideal for those who enjoy multimedia--especially visual and auditory learners. The book is also meant to be hands-on. Included is a two-sided ReMemo pad. He clearly explains how to use this as well.

Marcus gives specific guidelines for how to find your strengths and narrow down your three best strengths. In theory, those are the strengths that should guide you into the job--into the career--that will give you the most satisfaction.

My son and I watched the 20-minute DVD and discussed the sections in the book dealing with discovering strengths. He's a video game and computer nut. We actually found a strength for him--He likes problem solving and strategy, finding solutions to win (video gaming). I never thought I'd find that strength for him in video gaming, but that makes sense.

We also talked about a class in school where he feels like he's at his best, as if time flies during class, and he looks forward to working--this is his computer animation class.

I think this book is an excellent starting point for helping someone discover what they're truly good at, their God-given strength. Although I wouldn't call this a "Christian" book, its principles brought to mind the talent/strength of Olympian and missionary Eric Liddell. He said, "When I run, I feel God's pleasure." That to me is the feeling of a real strength.

The cover. While I liked the packaging--the DVD slides nicely into the pocket inside the front cover, and the ReMemo pad fits into its box inside the back cover--I didn't like the colors and font/graphics. I honestly would never have picked this up if I saw it in a store.

Also, I felt like this book was merely a starting point for discovering strengths. I would have liked to know more about what to do if a strength is something you're not "good" at, but you love. Should you abandon this effort? I was left with a few questions after going through this book with my son.

Overall impression: I think this book will help us and help him as he decides what's next after graduation. I'd rather him find his strengths now and learn to build on them, than get into a job he's miserable at, marking time and only looking forward to weekends.

You can check out a preview of the book here.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post. In the longer view, while The Truth About You is aimed at college students, which is why Marcus is touring campuses, we really need to start engaging kids in strengths discovery early on in their education. Why should they go through the majority of their schooling without articulating, building on or reflecting on their strengths? Seems like their school experiences could be more valuable with that knowledge. The definitive book on this topic is Jenifer Fox's Your Child's Strengths (Viking 2008). She lays out both why and how we can get kids strengths oriented. Buckingham wrote the forward. Great book.

More info can be found at If you would like a copy of the book for review, contact me directly.


Lynette Sowell said...

Sounds like something I'd be interested in reading, Nick. I'll try to contact you, but I can't read your profile.