Over the last few months I’ve had my share of doing personality tests and I've been reading quite a few books on how to discover and understand your own strengths. I think that you can definitely overdo it but I came across two materials that I consider valuable readings; one is Sally Hogshead’s How the World Sees You (which I wrote about before) and the other is called Now, Discover your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, which a lot of people might be familiar with.
Both books’ main statement is that you should do more of what you are good at instead of trying to change yourself. While Sally Hogshead focuses more on how you can sell your strong points better after you understand how others view you (which makes sense because she comes from the marketing background) Now, Discover your Strengths manages to describe your strong points in more detail by focusing on five aspects of your skills and talents, while valuing the combination of aspects as well the weight of each aspect.
I like this book because I agree with how insufficiently societies around the world approach the topic “individual skills” in combination with education and occupation.
Buckingham and Clifton explain that most of our lives we are being told what we need to get better at, what we need to improve in. Even our language shows that we have more vocabulary for our deficiencies and what we lack in than for describing on a wider scale what we are good at. When we say, “she has people skills” what exactly does that mean? Is she good at approaching someone, or at holding a conversation, or at understanding the feelings of the other person? She might be able to do all of these points but she might also just be good at only one or two of them.
The test took some time (about 30 minutes) and was not that easy because of the time pressure but overall I believe that this book is worth the time and money, especially because it doesn’t only help you to understand yourself, it can also help you understand and encourage other people to find their strengths, which is especially valuable at work and when you run your own business or manage people.
Here is a description from amazon.com: