Lots of career advice books claim to offer specifics on improving your professional path and leveraging your skills, but this one really does. Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham is a guide to increasing career satisfaction by -- surprise, surprise -- capitalizing on your strengths.
While in the abstract this advice might sound like a catch phrase devoid of meaning, Buckingham offers six steps for articulating strengths and weaknesses. The author even walks you through those difficult conversations with your boss and, by way of exercises, shows you how to frame where you excel and where you falter.
The author also taught me something new, or at least made an argument for an unorthodox career strategy. Buckingham says it's pointless to cast your shortcomings as pluses. "Try not to give your weaknesses a positive spin," he writes. "Own up to them clearly and precisely." Eminently practical and replete with tear sheets to help you build new habits; this book doesn't just tell you, it shows you, how to get more from your job and yourself. (Free Press, $30, 320 pages)
This was first published in May 2007