Books

Marcus' mission to spread the strengths message to the world finds its fullest expression in his writing. Beginning with the best-sellers First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths, he has described in specific detail why strengths are the key to unlocking each person's potential. His books explain how people in many different situations — managers, leaders, individual contributors, and specialty groups such as Gen Y workers and women in management — can put the power of knowing their strengths to work.

BUSINESS BOOKS: LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT

Book image: StandOut
StandOut Assessment
By Marcus Buckingham
Soft Cover, 240 Pages
Published by Thomas Nelson, 2011
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In Short: StandOut is the strength movement's next revolutionary book and online assessment. It offers you targeted, prescriptive advice on how to find your edge and win at work. Show more...

Read this book if...
You want the key to unlocking your best performance. StandOut guides you in discovering and activating your top two strength Roles, your instinctive way of making a difference in the world. Based on decades of research and analysis of the world's top performers, StandOut provides you with sharp, practical, customized ideas that you can use to maximize these Roles at work every day.

Food for thought:
"What your organization wants are not the few innovations that can be imposed on the many. Instead, what your organization wants is the discipline to capture many practical innovations, and then a way to deliver these innovations to those few people who share the strengths of the person who dreamed up each one of them. And this is what you want too. Instead of top-down initiatives that feel awkward and inauthentic, you want to be introduced to practical innovations that you might well have thought of--but haven't yet. You want techniques that, when you try them out, feel as though you've done them before. You want to accelerate your creativity and yet still retain your authenticity. You want all training content to be first filtered through the 'algorithm of you.'"

Book image: Go Put Your Strengths to Work
Go Put Your Strengths to Work
By Marcus Buckingham
Hardcover, 270 Pages
Published by Free Press, 2007
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In Short: Go Put Your Strengths to Work is the handbook for learning how to identify your personal strengths and make the most of them in your work and life. Show more...

Read this book if...
You want to learn, step by step, how to join the small percentage of people who say that they get to play to their strengths most of the time each day. Go Put Your Strengths to Work thoroughly explains the reasons why focusing on strengths is the only sensible course of action, takes you through a highly focused process of identifying personal strengths, and becomes your most powerful ally in taking a stand for doing what makes you strong.

Food for thought:
"Holding out for that 'perfect job we love' is a fool's game. Instead, we simply need to learn how to take our existing job and each week, reshape it around our strengths — even in the face of interference from the world around us. To do this, we need to master a new discipline. Put this discipline into practice each week, and we will gradually, degree by degree, tilt the playing field so that the best of our job becomes most of our job."

Book image: The One Thing You Need to Know
The One Thing You Need to Know
By Marcus Buckingham
Hardcover, 304 Pages
Published by Free Press, 2005
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In Short: Excellence in leadership, in management, and in individual contribution can be distilled into one controlling insight, one "thing" you need to know. This controlling insight is the key to sustained success in any field. Show more...

Read this book if...
You've always suspected that great leadership isn't just a higher form of great management, and you want to put your finger on the profound difference between the two. The One Thing You Need to Know may be a misleading title, because the book actually tells you a lot of things you need to know, including the keys to success in leadership, management, and individual accomplishment.

Food for thought:
"Properly defined, the opposite of a leader isn't a follower. The opposite of a leader is a pessimist. This doesn't mean that the best leaders are wide-eyed dreamers, delusional about or dismissive of present realities. On the contrary, the best leaders are markedly clear-eyed when it comes to assessing the challenges of the present."

Book image: Now, Discover Your Strengths
Now, Discover Your Strengths
By Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton
Hardcover, 260 Pages
Published by Free Press, 2001
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In Short: Based on 25 years of research, Now, Discover Your Strengths identifies 34 dominant talent themes and helps people understand the nature of their own particular combinations of talents. The book provides a blueprint for understanding personal strengths and managing particular talent themes in the workplace. Show more...

Read this book if...
You want to develop a positive language to describe your personal, instinctual way of relating to the world. Now, Discover Your Strengths was the first effort to provide a comprehensive strengths assessment, and it remains powerful to this day.

Food for thought:
"Most organizations are a puzzle put together in a darkened room. Each piece is clumsily squeezed into place and then the edges are ground down so that they feel well positioned. But pull up the shades, let a little light in the room, and we can see the truth. Eight out of ten pieces are in the wrong place. Eight out of ten employees feel they are miscast. Eight out of ten employees never have the chance to reveal the best of themselves. They suffer for it, their organization suffers, and their customers suffer."

Book image: First, Break All the Rules
First, Break All the Rules
By Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
Hardcover, 272 Pages
Published by Simon & Schuster, 1999
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In Short: Exhibiting a rare combination of detail-oriented data and a keen appreciation for human individuality, First, Break All the Rules is routinely hailed as one of the most important and influential books ever written about the art of management.
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Read this book if...
You want to get in on the strengths revolution on the ground floor. Based on a painstaking analysis of literally millions of research questions and responses, First, Break All the Rules identifies 12 key survey responses that correlate most strongly to positive business outcomes such as productivity and profitability. More importantly, the book argues persuasively that the greatest managers embrace the uniqueness of those who work for them.

Food for thought:
"The best managers break the Golden Rule every day. They would say don't treat people as you would like to be treated. This presupposes that everyone breathes the same psychological oxygen as you. Instead, they say, treat each person as he would like to be treated, bearing in mind who he is."

SPECIALTY BOOKS: WOMEN & GEN Y

Book image: Find Your Strongest Life
Find Your Strongest Life
By Marcus Buckingham
Hardcover, 263 Pages
Published by Thomas Nelson, 2009
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In Short: Women's happiness has shown a measurable decline in the last 40 years. Find Your Strongest Life discusses the reasons for the disturbing trend, gives readers a tool to analyze their own specific strength patterns, and provides strategies and plans allowing anyone to ensure that her life is filled with more strong moments. Show more...

Read this book if...
You saw the headlines about how women's happiness has declined measurably (across all generations, races, and economic status) since the advent of the feminist revolution, and want some clear-headed, fact-based analysis not only about why the decline happened, but what can be done about it.

Food for thought:
"The human brain is simply not designed to multitask. You can get by doing multiple things at once, but you can't do them well. According to the research, 'we are using our mental energy to concentrate on concentrating at the expense of whatever it is that we're supposed to be concentrating on.' More simply: when we multitask we're dumber. The average worker's functioning IQ drops ten points when multitasking. It's an obvious irony. You're trying to get more done in less time but, in reality, multitasking actually slows you down. It also increases your stress."

Book image: The Truth About You
The Truth About You
By Marcus Buckingham
Hardcover, 112 Pages
Published by Thomas Nelson, 2008
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In Short: Aimed at young people making key decisions about their futures, but suitable for anyone looking to take the first steps on his or her strengths path, The Truth About You is an easily digestible, highly interactive introduction to personal strengths. Show more...

Read this book if...
You want to make sure you take the right path from the beginning of your career, or you need to get yourself back on the right path. The Truth About You is an interactive experience, including not only a book, but a DVD and exercises that help you figure out who you are and what you need to do with your gifts.

Food for thought:
"The world is full of 'shoulds.' Your parents and your teachers look at what you're good at, and they weigh in on what you 'should' do with your life. Your manager sees you perform well in some part of your job and he says you 'should' do more of it. Quickly he comes to rely on you for it, and since you're a responsible person, you now feel you 'should' do it. And then he dangles a promotion in front of you, which you feel you 'should' take. But what happens when all these 'shoulds' contradict that small, wise voice inside you calling you to do something else?"