Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham

October 5, 2009 | By | Add a Comment

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs – ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

– Howard Thurman

First off, this book is for women.  Secondly, I am a man.  So, if you’re scoring at home, this is a review by a man of a book written by a man that is intended for women.  Having established these facts, much of the material in this book can easily be applied to either gender.  Still, the author spends the first 50 or so pages building the case that women, in particular, have become less happy as the number of choices presented to them have increased.

This book is easy to read and straightforward.  Find your strengths.  Use your strengths.  Build on your strengths.  The book includes many anecdotes and pointers as to how to go about finding these strengths.  There is also a section devoted to each of the 9 styles represented in The Strong Life Test (included below).  The book is put out by a Christian publishing house, but is not overtly Christian and I don’t know anything about the faith of the author.

I liked the positive, solution-focused bent to this book and it makes sense to me that people should seek to exploit what they’re naturally good at and interested in rather than trying to be something they’re not.1  The end of chapter summaries were very helpful and I also liked the sort of FAQ section at the back of the book where the author gives practical answers to questions such as, “How will I know if I’m on the right track.”  Having said all that, I felt like this book was a bit redundant and disorganized and I didn’t find it to be very substantive.  Still, it is always good to be encouraged and reminded about the importance of finding satisfaction in our work.2 And, for women struggling to balance all of life’s demands (especially working moms), I can see how this book would be a good resource.

I am not the intended audience for this author, so you should take my recommendation with a grain of salt.  Overall, though, the book felt needlessly long and I didn’t find anything terribly fresh or exciting here.  I have not read any of Mr. Buckingham’s other works, but the general consensus seems to be that they are much stronger.  I wouldn’t say that this book is bad, but I have to think that there are better options out there.

Rating: 3/5

If people are in it only for the money, the money is all they gain, and when they finally retire they may well ask themselves if it was worth giving most of their lives for.  If they’re doing it for it’s own sake – if they enjoy doing it and the world needs it done – it may very possibly help to gain them their own souls. – Frederick Buechner

This book was provided for review by the Thomas Nelson Publishing Group.  To purchase this book on Amazon, click here.

  1. Romans 12:6-8 makes a good case for this.
  2. Ecclesiastes 2:24
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