Monday, October 5, 2009

Living a Strong Life

We owe the popularity of the phrase "Live Strong" to Lance Armstrong. It was he who used the phrase as his rallying cry against cancer. And it was an effective rallying cry because it echoed a desire in each of our souls to live a live that others identified with strength; a life that could withstand the tests and trials of time.

In his book "Find Your Strongest Life", Marcus Buckingham picks up on this very theme. However, his audience is not those that suffer from cancer, but those who are plagued by a lack of fulfillment. Specifically, Buckingham targets women with this tome because, as he persuasively presents, the range of choices that have been made available to them in the last 30 years have led to a consistent decrease in reported happiness. Through the author's StrongLife Test, he presents a way to try to reverse this trend, and Buckingham's presentation is impressive. The StrongLife tests reveals in which two roles (of nine) a person most often performs with strength. An individual can then use these revelations to reflect on the way they engage with their careers, their family and their friends to focus on building moments where their strengths are at play.

Buckingham's writing is compelling. His research-based approach to a stronger life substantiates his claims. However, that doesn't mean that the book is without disappointment. First, the book tends to have a "self-help" feel. The focus is on the individual and remains there throughout. Additionally, although published by a publisher of Christian material, there is no acknowledgement of the impact that God has - not only on the circumstances that an individual faces but in the unique way that the individual was gifted to respond. Finally, there is a bit of uncomfortable familiarity for those that are familiar with Buckingham's other books. While the StrongLife test does provide new information, those who have already taken StrengthsFinder may find it unnecessary.

Living life to your strengths is a great idea. Living life to reflect God in those strengths is a better one. Hopefully future books will focus more on the outcome and not just the methodology.

This book review was completed as part of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger's program.



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