The guy is no fool.

Marcus Buckingham, author and strengths uber-guru, knows what he is doing. He first shot to prominence with a series of books about personal strengths. I think that his book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths” (also sold under the title of “Strengths Finder 2.0” – see Kalahari or Amazon to buy it) is one of the best personal development books ever written, and I regularly state in my seminars that I think everyone in the world should read it.

Now, he has released his latest book, and it is aimed at the lucrative women’s market (and has gone straight to paperback, too). The book is called, “Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently” (buy it at Kalahari or Amazon). I managed to get an advance copy, and really enjoyed it. It’s typical of his style – maybe even more chatty than previous books. It’s simple, down-to-earth, but amazingly insightful. And I think it will fly off the shelves into the many women’s groups that meet around the world every day.

The thesis is simple. Women are not as happy as they should be, or as they want to be. (I am personally not convinced by some of the stats in the early chapters, and the graphs in his book are too simplistic to convince a serious sociologist. But his point is well made, and rings true). One of the reasons for this is that many women are required to be many things to many people, and are stretched – and stressed – because of this. They can begin the journey to living a “strong life”, by tuning in to the roles they are best at.

This is where Buckingham has always been at his best. It’s an approach I think we now all take seriously – work on your strengths, mitigate your worst weaknesses and find your “sweet spot”. When you are operating in areas in which you are both strong and passionate, you will not only enjoy life more and be fulfilled, but you’re also likely to be more successful.

This was the central message of the StrengthsFinder book, and is the core message of this book, too.

But, Buckingham’s focus is on women this time. He has developed a (completely free) online test that uses 23 situational questions to provide you with a profile of your lead and supporting roles – take the test here. There are nine possible roles he sees women fulfilling:

  1. Advisor
  2. Caretaker
  3. Creator
  4. Equalizer
  5. Influencer
  6. Motivator
  7. Pioneer
  8. Teacher
  9. Weaver

My wife did the test, and I think it was spot on. She challenged me to do the test – I did. I wouldn’t argue with the results (for the record, I am an Advisor and Motivator).

Having done the test, you are encouraged to actively say “yes” to opportunities that feed your roles. Given all the demands placed on women, this also means learning to say “no” to some things as well. (As an aside, while writing this review, I was sent a lovely email about a new survivor series for Dads – in the context of this book, it’s worth a read – it’ll make you laugh).

The advance PR on the book says this: “In Find Your Strongest Life, Marcus Buckingham reveals the powerful key to help women draw enough strength from life to feel fulfilled, loved, successful, and in control. Even more, he helps women reconnect with their purpose and gives a starting point for change. A research-based message that applies to work and life, Find Your Strongest Life shows women how they really can have it all . . . the right kind of all.”

I would highly recommend the book. Not because I think it’s Buckingham’s best research (I fear for where he goes from here – he is heading the way most best selling authors who took 20 years to come up with their first idea, and who start running out of steam when working to publisher deadlines thereafter). Not because I think he has found “The Secret” or has had a mind blowing revelation of how to live a brilliant life. In fact, precisely because his advice is so own to earth, easy to understand, and simple to apply, I think it is highly valuable. His strengths based approach changed my life some time ago. I hope this book connects with the many women in my life, and helps them on that path, too.

I also think that any men who have women in their life – wives, mothers, daughters, sisters – should read this book, too. I think we men can do a much better job of supporting and nurturing the women in our lives, and helping them live strong lives.

Check out this video produced for the launch of the book:

Now, go discover your roles!

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