By Eric on May 23, 2012 10

StrengthsFinder 2.0 Book Review

Earlier this year we read StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. It was encouraged by Kelsey’s boss to help us evaluate how we can better work in our strengths.

It’s an interesting idea. Haven’t we always been told that we can do anything we want if we put our mind to it? If we just try a little harder, we could be a insert dream here?

StrengthsFinder 2.0 challenges this notion. Take this example, for instance:

…Consider the true story of Rudy Ruettiger, the 23-year-old groundskeeper at Notre Dame’s stadium, who was the protagonist of the 1993 movie Rudy. At just 5’6″ and 165 pounds, this young man clearly didn’t posses the physical ability to play big-time college football, but he had ample “heart.”

Rudy worked tirelessly to gain admission to Notre Dame so he could play football there. Eventually, after being rejected three times, he was accepted at Notre Dame and soon thereafter earned a spot on the football team’s practice squad.

For two years, Rudy took a beating in daily practices, but he was never allowed to join his team on the sidelines. Then, after trying as hard as he could for two seasons, Rudy was finally invited to suit up for the final game of his senior year. In the last moments of this game, with a Notre Dame victory safely in hand, Rudy’s teammates lobbied their coach to put him in the game. In the final seconds, the coach sent Rudy in for a single play–and he tackled the opposing team’s quarterback.

…While Rudy’s perseverance is admirable, in the end, he played a few seconds of college football and made a single tackle…after thousands of hours of practicing.

This story definitely puts a new spin on that movie. Makes me feel like I’ve been dooped all these years into thinking I can will my way to being a rockstar. Quite opposite, this book helped me realize that in order to be the best that I can be, I need to work in my strengths.

Workplace aside, it’s helped Kelsey and I reach a new level of communication and understand each other on a whole nother level. It put a new perspective on our duty roster and why each of likes/dislikes to do certain tasks. And we have tried to apply what we know about each other to how we manage this blog and juggle the responsibilities of being parents.

While the book is insightful, the assessment is the juice that makes it zing! You get an access code when you purchase the book to take an online assessment. You only have 20 seconds to answer each question to ensure that you don’t over-think it. Then they send you a personalized PDF of your top five strengths and a three-part breakdown:

  1. Awareness: A brief description of your top five strengths, personalized insights that describe what makes you stand out from others with the same strengths, and questions to answer to increase your awareness of your talents.
  2. Application: Ten ideas for action for each of your top five strengths, and questions to help you apply your talents.
  3. Achievement: Examples of what each of your top five strengths “sounds like” and steps for you to take to help you leverage your talents for achievement.

Our StrengthsFinder Results


  1. Futuristic. Inspired by the future and what could be. Inspires others with visions of the future.
  2. Strategic. Creates alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
  3. Responsibility. Takes psychological ownership of what they say they will do. Committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
  4. Focus. Takes direction, follows through and makes the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.
  5. Relator. Enjoys close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.


  1. Harmony. Looks for consensus. Doesn’t enjoy conflict; rather, seeks areas of agreement.
  2. Connectedness. Has faith in the links between all things. Believes there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.
  3. Positivity. Has an enthusiasm that is contagious. Is upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.
  4. Intellection. Characterized by intellectual activity. Is introspective and appreciates intellectual discussions.
  5. Maximizer. Focuses on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. Seeks to transform something strong into something superb.

What We Learned

  • If Eric says he is going to do something, he will do it.
  • Kelsey has an aversion to upsetting the status quo. So when my futuristic/strategic strengths come at her with new and crazy ideas, she puts up a wall, as this causes conflict to her harmony.
  • Eric loves to create new ideas and influence his future.
  • While I strive to will things to happen with focus, Kelsey’s contentedness would rather let the chips fall as they may.
  • Kelsey’s maximizer strength comes in handy when writing for this blog. I can write a really good post, but she often maximizes these into awesomeness.
While you may ask, “How are they married, they couldn’t be more different?”, that’s where we see beauty. We fully accept each other for who we are and, by communicating, we can better understand who each other is.

If you have been looking to discover your own talents, strengths and abilities, this is a great tool. We totally recommend checking this out so that you, too, can discover your strengths and start applying them to your life.

We would love to hear about your experience with StrengthsFinder, and, if you take the assessment, leave a comment and let us know what your strengths are.


Disclosure: Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on them and purchase, we will receive a commission. We only link to and recommend products or services that we use or believe in. This disclosure is in accordance with the “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” by the Federal Trade Commission.




Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. I LOVE Strengthsfinder, and I highly recommend retaking it in a few years to see how your experiences have shaped your strengths-especially parenting! I took it two years apart and my top five were different each time.

    Here are mine in no order:

    I love seeing how God has blessed me with these gifts in different situations. It’s also so helpful to be aware of our greatest weaknesses! This book also helped me pick my college major-and affirmed I am on the right path studying education and English.

    Eager to hear how this knowledge will affect you both in the future.



    • That’s awesome to hear Chelsey. Thanks for sharing. I do look forward to seeing how these strengths evolve. I also can’t wait to learn what Rooney’s strengths are.

  2. do you have to read the book to take the survey? sounds interesting, but i really don’t have time right now for another book :(

    • There is an intro to the book that only took me about 1/2 hour to read. Then you take the test. You have to buy the book to gain the access code, but the rest of the book I actually didn’t even read. I just read the Analysis PDF that they sent me after I was done.

  3. We took the test at my work. We found that it gave us some language to better communicate to each other how we operate. It really helped for team bonding, and we even switched up some of our responsibilities to better align with our strengths. A consultant helped facilitate some sessions for us. We were told that generally people have 10 top strengths, so your top five might change from time to time, but your top 10 will always be the same. Mine are maximizer, arranger, developer, responsibility and relator.

  4. My company uses Strength Finders as an assessment tool, and it was really cool to learn about the different strenghts of the people on my team to see how we all work together. Mine are, in no particular order:
    1. Positivity
    2. Futuristic
    3. Woo
    4. Visionary
    5. Strategic

  5. I read this book and took the assessment in 2009 as part of my development at work. Your blog post was a great reminder for me to go back and look at the results again!

    My top 5 themes are:

    These still ring true to me after 3 years. Even though a large group of us took this assessment, the results were not shared and I think it would have been really interesting and benficial to share them in an effort to help us work better together.

  6. I know this is an older post, and I’m just now getting around to commenting… sorry for that!

    Strength Finders is an absolutely amazing tool. I think it should be an arrow in every career quiver – along with Myers Briggs. And I think it should be in every household – along with the 5 love languages!

    Marcus Buckingham, the brains behind Strength Finders, also has another one out called Strength Zones. This one is VERY specific to the workplace, and is more about how others see you, rather than how you see yourself. I expected, having already taken the SF2.0 test, and knowing my top 5 strengths pretty well, that I could figure out my 2 zones before taking the assessment. And it turns out, I was totally surprised! So I definitely recommend it as another arrow in your career quiver :)

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