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Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham: A Review

fysl_cover_fullOkay, I’ll just come out and say it. It’s been really hard to Find My Strongest Anything lately.  There have been two deaths in my family in the last week,  yesterday my one and only laptop hard drive crashed (I’m on a borrowed one now) and, I realized just moments ago that this review is actually due today, October 5th, and not tomorrow, October 6th, as I’d thought.  Me, strongest life?  Hardly.

On the other hand, one could argue the timing of this book in my life couldn’t be better.  In a moment, I’ll tell you how you can get a free copy all your very own.  But first, my impressions of the book.

The complete title is actually Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book that was so obviously not geared to me.  Despite this though, I found it to be quite fascinating.  Here’s a quick 90-second video intro to the book from the author:

What the book ultimately tries to do is to teach you to identify your life’s “strong moments,” those moments that really get your juices flowing.  Sounds pretty remedial, right?  But, for me at least, it’s so easy to let these moments go by unnoticed.  Reading the book, I realized I’d been doing exactly that for a long time.  Even as I thought about the last couple of weeks, as Buckingham suggests doing, and tried to pick them out, I kept coming up empty. 

What Find Your Strongest Life helped me to do was pinpoint them so that I can now, going forward, focus my attention on them.  I discovered, for example, that my Lead Role is as an “Advisor” (You’ll learn where you fit after taking the simple test at StrongLifeTest.com.  The questions are geared to women, but I didn’t find it difficult to think of each one in terms of my male role in life).  I must say that, as I read the “strongest moments” associated with this trait, I became really excited.

One of them – someone calls you up out of the blue and relies on your opinion – reminded me of two real-life examples from just a few days ago.  When I thought back to these two moments, I was instantly reminded of how much I enjoyed these conversations.  Is it possible, I thought, to make a living advising people?  Duh!?!  Of course it is you dolt.  People do it every day. 

But other than a few brief flashes, I hadn’t much thought about my desires in this area.  Find Your Strongest Life helped me understand the importance of not treating these flashes so lightly.  In short, I came to realize there’s nothing I enjoy more than being relied upon for my opinion.  In other words, as Marcus writes, to clarify a complex issue for someone who acts upon what I’ve told them and to see them succeed upon doing so.   

Whether you find you’re an Advisor, a Motivator, a Weaver, a Care-Taker, I think you’ll find new motivation and the direction you’re looking for in this new book.

—————————————————————

Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers, I have four (4) copies of Find Your Strongest Life to give away.  For a chance at snagging one, you must take the following three actions:

  1. Leave a comment below. Tell me why you’d like this book.  I really want to know.  I might even get to know you better.
  2. Fill out this special form. I have set up a separate form to make it convenient for you to provide your mailing address.  Please do not include your address with your comment.  This will automatically disqualify you.
  3. Twitter a link to this post. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can use Facebook.  Please copy and paste the following into your tweet/update:

Reading: A book review of Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. @THEjeffbrown is giving away copies! http://wp.me/poeTz-mR

Yes, I know if more people read this, it will hurt your chances of getting a copy yourself.  But the only incentive the publisher has to provide books to giveaway is the free publicity you and I collectively provide.

On Thursday, based solely on my arbitrary and subjective evaluation of the comments, I will select the winners. If you are selected, I will notify you via email. If you don’t hear from me, you can assume you didn’t make the cut.

Question: Why do want a copy of this book?  What do you hope to get out of it?

Whether you win a copy or purchase this book from one of the above links, I thought you might enjoy sampling a few pages first.

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The Noticer by Andy Andrews: A Review

The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.

by Andy Andrews

Thomas Nelson Publishers

_200_350_book50cover1 In a matter of minutes, Jones, as he prefers to be called (no “Mr.” just Jones), can completely disarm the most stubborn stranger he encounters with little more than a few probing questions and several common sense, but often profound, answers.  Upon first meeting Jones, most find themselves asking things like, “Who is this man?  What brought him here at this place and at this time?  And why would he be the least bit interested in talking to me?”  Afterward, they’re left asking, “Where did he go?  How did I survive before he showed up? And will I ever see him again?”

Each of them is at a crossroads.  A choice must be made to either continue down the path they’re currently on or forge a brand new one.  At just the right time, whether at the end of his rope, at the point of despair, or in her greatest time of need, they each meet Jones.

A single man looking for meaning having gone through two failed marriages; a couple trying to remember what it was exactly that first drew them to one another; a seventy-something woman who’s come to the conclusion her usefulness has passed; a young businessman striving so hard for success that he fails to realize what true success really means; all these poignant stories and more make up The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.

How many times have I wished I had just the right answer, as Jones always seems to, when talking with someone in a seemingly impossible situation.  I’m no Jones, but it’s not unusual in Christian radio (my vocation) or in the world of Christian music in general to encounter, fairly regularly, teenagers, young couples, mothers and fathers, you name it, all looking for that spark, that piece of perfect advice that will be just the dose of confidence they need, not just to function, but to start anew and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Personally, I wish I had this book years ago.  But I believe there is value to be gained from reading it regardless of where you find yourself in life.   I’m at a place now where I have the opportunity to speak into the lives of several just starting their life’s journey.  In fact, while on Facebook just last night, I was able to encourage a former intern using the principals in this very book.  Thank you Andy Andrews.  Here are some of my favorite take-aways from the book The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective:

  • Whatever you focus on increases – “If you set your mind on loss, you are more likely to lose…But a grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person’s life.”
  • Every day, ask yourself this question: “What is it about me that other people would change if they could?” – “Another person’s perspective about you can sometimes be as important as your perspective is about yourself.”
  • A friend who accepts you as you are is dangerous – “A true friend holds you to a higher standard.  A true friend brings out the best in you.”
  • We judge ourselves by our intentions, but we judge others by their actions – “There is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place.”
  • And my personal favorite?  Your proof of hope – “If you’re breathing, you are still alive.  If you are alive, then you are still here, physically, on this planet.  If you are still here, then you have not completed what you were put on earth to do.  If you have not completed what you were put on earth to do…that means your very purpose has not yet been fulfilled.  If your purpose has not yet been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life has not yet been lived.  And if the most important part of your life has not yet been lived…”

You’re reading this review so I assume  you’re still breathing.  It’s time to get to work.

The Noticer Project: 5 People That Have Impacted You Most

_140_245_book50coverIf  you’re anything like me, you pretty much suck at noticing your surroundings.  Any time my wife makes a change to something within our home (a new wall hanging, rearranged furniture, a different brand of toothpaste even), it usually requires her pointing it out to me.  Let’s just say I’ve missed my share of “Your new do looks great, honey!” opportunities.

This curse especially makes itself known when I’m trying to locate a specific item around the house – by the way, why does it seem we husbands have a disproportionate amount of trouble with this?  I could be looking for cream or sugar for my coffee.  Maybe it’s a certain pair of socks.  Maybe it’s the milk (probably in the refrigerator).  Whatever it is I’m trying to find, more often than not, it’s right in front of me.  My brain, for some reason, just doesn’t see it.

I have to admit that, as I’ve grown older, I can sometimes allow this blinders-on mentality to creep into my relationships.  If I’m not making a concerted effort to pay attention, needs I should be meeting, or at least helping to meet, can go completely ignored.  And that’s certainly not a habit I want to see get a strong-hold in my life.

I couldn’t help but laugh just a little then, albeit nervously, when I realized the subject matter of the new book The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective; a book I’ve agreed to review in time for it’s release on Tuesday.

I’m especially intrigued though by a campaign the publishers are referring to as The Noticer Project. The site describes the project, in conjunction with the book, as “a worldwide movement to ‘notice’ the 5 most influential people in your life.” The description goes on to say, “Noticing those five people is meant to encourage us to step outside our busy schedules and avoid waiting until a wedding, graduation or even a funeral to take notice of the special, influential people in our lives.” How wonderful is that?

I’ll post my review of The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective tomorrow.  In the meantime, you can enjoy this special video.  It includes several in-character excerpts from the book itself.