StrengthsFinder 2.0 Summary and Key Lessons | Tom Rath

StrengthsFinder 2.0” is a book by Tom Rath that was published by Gallup Press in 2007. The book follows on from the 2001 book “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, providing an updated and enhanced version of the original StrengthsFinder assessment tool.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 Summary

The book is primarily based on the premise that individuals are typically more successful when they focus on developing their inherent strengths rather than improving their weaknesses. 

The rationale behind this approach is that it’s more productive and effective to maximize what one is naturally good at, rather than exerting tremendous energy on improving areas of weakness.

StrengthsFinder 2.0” consists of two main parts:

  1. The first part of the book explains the philosophy behind the strengths-based approach and its benefits. It argues against the conventional wisdom that one should focus on weaknesses in order to improve overall performance. Rath presents compelling research findings that suggest focusing on one’s strengths leads to greater success, satisfaction, and engagement both in personal and professional life.

  2. The second part of the book introduces the reader to the updated StrengthsFinder 2.0 online assessment tool. This test, based on a multitude of research data, is designed to help individuals identify their top five talent themes from a possible 34, providing a unique combination that reflects their individual strengths profile.

Each of the 34 strengths is defined and described in detail, accompanied by ideas for action and tips for how you can work with others who have each strength. These themes are categorized under four broad domains, namely:

  • Executing: Individuals strong in these themes know how to make things happen.

  • Influencing: Those with strengths in this domain help their team reach a much broader audience.

  • Relationship Building: These people have the ability to build stronger relationships that hold a team together.

  • Strategic Thinking: People strong in these themes help teams consider what could be by absorbing and analyzing information.

The assessment provides users with a comprehensive strengths profile and personalized report. The report provides strategies for applying these strengths and how to leverage them for personal and professional development.

To conclude, the StrengthsFinder concept provides a constructive and positive approach to personal and professional development, promoting the idea that understanding and building on one’s strengths can lead to a more fulfilling and effective life and career.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 Summary Infographic

What can you learn from the book?

Lesson 1: Identification of Personal Strengths 

In a world that often emphasizes correcting weaknesses, this book flips the script and argues that individuals can be more successful when they recognize and focus on their inherent talents.

For example, consider two individuals: one who is highly organized but not particularly creative, and another who is extremely innovative but tends to be disorganized. 

Traditional thinking might suggest that these individuals should strive to remedy their respective weaknesses. 

However, “StrengthsFinder 2.0” encourages them to instead cultivate and leverage their strengths. The organized individual could excel in project management, while the creative one might shine in a design role. 

Lesson 2: Tailoring Roles Based on Strengths 

The second lesson is about tailoring roles based on strengths. The book points out that just having strengths is not enough; individuals need to align their jobs or roles with their strengths for maximum effectiveness.

A compelling example provided in the book is about a successful salesperson who was promoted to a managerial role

Despite being an effective salesperson, the individual struggled in a leadership role because it did not play to his strengths

Recognizing this, the company moved him back to a high-level sales role where he could leverage his strengths and ultimately achieved significant success.

Lesson 3: The Power of Team Strengths 

The third lesson involves the power of team strengths where Tom Rath teaches that understanding the strengths of every team member can help in creating a more cohesive, effective, and balanced team.

For instance, a team composed of people all sharing a similar strength (like Strategic thinking) might overlook details or struggle with execution. However, a team with a mix of Strategic, Execution, Influencing, and Relationship Building strengths will have a wider range of talents to leverage, leading to better results and minimizing weaknesses.

Lesson 4: Ongoing Strengths Development 

The final lesson is that recognizing your strengths is just the beginning. The book emphasizes the importance of continuous development and utilization of your strengths. 

It encourages creating a development plan that fosters growth in areas of strength, rather than focusing on areas of weakness.

A possible example of this could be a person with a “Learner” strength. Instead of trying to change this individual’s innate desire for knowledge, it would be more beneficial to provide them with opportunities for continuous learning and growth. 

This could take the form of advanced training, educational resources, or the chance to work on a variety of projects to feed their constant desire to learn and improve.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, “StrengthsFinder 2.0” encourages readers to shift their thinking and focus on what they can do best. It has been widely adopted in many organizations for employee development, team building, and to improve overall organizational performance

Check out our other summaries

The $100 Startup | Book Summary

Revolves around the concept of starting a business with a small investment, often as little as $100, and growing it into a venture that generates substantial income.

The Psychology of Winning | Book Summary

A motivational book by Denis Waitley that explores the mindset and strategies for achieving success. It emphasizes self-belief, goal setting, visualization, and taking responsibility for one’s actions as key factors in winning in life.

The Year Without Pants | Book Summary

Provides an inside look at the unique work culture of Automattic and how it offers a blueprint for the future of work. Written by Scott Berkun, a veteran tech manager who, in 2010, left the traditional corporate world to join Automattic, the parent company of, as a team leader.

Thinking Fast and Slow | Book Summary

Daniel Kahneman explores the two systems of thinking: intuitive, fast, and prone to biases; and deliberate, slow, and more rational. The book delves into cognitive illusions, decision-making processes, and the impact of biases on our judgments and choices.

Talent is Overrated | Book Summary

Geoff Colvin challenges the notion that exceptional performance is solely determined by innate abilities. Colvin argues that deliberate practice, focused on specific goals and providing immediate feedback, is the key to developing extraordinary skills and achieving success in any field.