I was recently given a copy of Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. For those of you who might not of heard of this book before, it’s basically a sort of personality questionnaire that focuses on finding your strengths rather than your weaknesses.


So far, I have only got half way through the book but I have completed the questionnaire and was really impressed by the ‘accuracy’ of the results.


I have said accuracy in inverted commas for a simple reason. I don’t really know if it’s accurate or not. It gives you your top 5 strengths with a very detailed personalised description of how these 5 strengths might present themselves in your life. Whilst it certainly sounds very like me, it’s so positive I’m left thinking, ‘this can’t be completely right, there’s nothing negative in here at all. I can’t be this good, can I?’


I wonder if this is something a lot of people taking the test end up feeling. The problem is, we have been conditioned to expect our personalities to have positive and negative qualities – it’s what brings balance to our lives. Without the bad we would not know or appreciate the good. The questionnaire goes against the grain of the traditional personality test as it doesn’t even comment on the so-called negative aspects of your personality.


Despite this, the book does talk about weaknesses (although they’re not called weaknesses). They are aspects we may need to develop if we don’t have the luxury of ignoring them completely. The main premise of this book is


Play to your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses. Developing your strengths is a more effective way of succeeding than spending time of your weaknesses which will always be the weaker aspects of your personality.


I like this concept. I like it because I’m naturally quite a negative person (I know – shocking isn’t it – I’m forever going on about positive thinking). Despite this, I firmly believe your thoughts create your reality so, instead of trying to force positivity into every aspect of my life, I’ve focused on how my thoughts are creating my reality.


As a by product, I find my thoughts naturally shifting towards the positive. This isn’t difficult or strained or false, it’s simply an easier way to alter my perception of the world without focusing on a weakness and instead focusing on a strength.


So what have I learnt from reading this book?


  1. I’ve actually learnt a lot about myself – where my true natural strengths actually lie. This is something I had a fair idea about but it’s really great having it articulated so well in the lovely report you get when you do the test.
  2. A fantastic bullet-pointed personalised action plan for building on my strengths and making them even stronger.
  3. A feel-good smiley face having read only positive things from a personality test.
  4. An insight into how other people see the world and how to help them and build relationships with them (i.e. finding common ground)
  5. That actually, it’s OK to have weaknesses. You don’t have to fix them. You might be able to play to your strengths to avoid your weaknesses altogether.


If you’re interested in finding out how you can play to your strengths, I really recommend this book (which gives you a code to take the test online). Even if you think you know what your strengths are, this book can really help you focus on them and hone them into something great.


If you take it – post your strengths below!


For reference, mine are: