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Book Review: Strengths Finder: Now Discover Your Strengths by Tom Rath

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Strengths Finder: Now Discover Your Strengths by Tom Rath is a primer on how to identify your strengths and apply them in a whole variety of unique contexts. The book opens with defining key strength areas simply. For example, individual people may be achievers, idea creators, adaptive, analytical, take-charge personalities, competitive, deliberative, empathetic or self assured.

Rath provides a formula wherein, talent x investment = strength.  Merely having the talent is not enough. Each person needs to have that talent cultivated. There is a direct link between talent development and performance, according to Rath. College bound students can benefit from this analysis by finding out their individual talents so that these can be cultivated intelligently during the college experience.

Rath stresses the point that individual managers should identify strengths early so that the advantages in this area can be coordinated to benefit the team according. Too often, much time is wasted on fixing shortcomings instead of developing strengths and identifying other team members with compensating strengths to counterbalance weak areas. At bottom, people cannot be good at everything. The whole point behind teamwork is to manage individual talents and strong points so that individual weaknesses can be counterbalanced by cooperation to yield a more productive end result unachievable by the individual team members.

Rath poses the question as to whether or not each of us has the opportunity to do what we do best every day. Only then, can we arrive at strength in an area where there is raw uncultivated talent but not enough training to derive a  meaningful yield from the innate talent.

For this reason, college and apprenticeship training are important interventions to reconcile this difference. Too often, natural talents go untapped. The emphasis is on making weaknesses into strength areas at the cost of exploiting our strengths to the fullest extent. Writer and management consultant Peter Drucker confirmed this truth when he said that “… A person can perform only from strength.”

Strengths Finder is an excellent tool for developing the strength areas all of us have through identifying our talents and cultivating them to the fullest. The presentation is easy to read with plenty of examples to illustrate the concepts enunciated by the author.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.