Monday, October 5, 2009

Book Review: Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham


According to Marcus Buckingham, women have become less happy with their lives despite the women's liberation movement bringing women more meaningful work, equal pay, and freedom from only "servicing men and their children" (Gloria Steinem quoted in book). But no fear; he has the solution and will teach woman how to lead what he calls a "strong life." Before he gives us this solution, he admits that his book may not be for everyone:


In saying this, I don't want to be presumptuous--you may be one of those people who always feels focused and successful, with plenty of energy and time, and what few doubts you have are quickly drowned out by many moments of real fulfillment. If you are, well done to you--you've succeeded in shaping life to your design.

Well, if you put it that way, maybe everyone does need his book! I don't know about you, but that quote put me off right away. Still, I gave him the benefit of the doubt...maybe the book would be worth my time.

So, the book goes on to define the problem women face when it comes to feeling fulfilled, happy, and strong. He gives research and stories from a group of women from Oprah's message boards to back up his thoughts. Then he tells us his solution to our problems, how to become a woman leading a "strong life." This is where the book went bad for me.

Once Buckingham begins providing solutions to our unhappiness, the book reads like a combination of A Purpose Driven Life (specifically, the chapter of finding your ministry) and The Secret, a bunch of New Age nonsense about receiving energy from the world and releasing your energy into the world. First, you take a test on his website to determine which of 9 life roles you were meant to fulfill. After answering a whopping 23 questions, he's got you pegged and you can use the results to read more about your lead role and supporting role, and get advice about how to proceed towards developing your new strong life.

It is this section that reminded me of The Secret. You'll read about "your soul's code" and "building intentions." He'll tell you how those he uses as an example "received signals life sent them" and how "only then did they transmit signals out into the world." He'll tell you that you must "search for strong-moments because in them you will find your truth."

After reading two-thirds of the book, he finally provides a Christian example (you'd expect a Christian example from a book published by a Christian publisher, would you not). Except that it's not what you'd expect. In this one and only Christian example, he tells us about the wife of a pastor who turned out to be a serial rapist, and how she survived learning her pastor husband's dirty secret.

Really! This is NOT the type of book I would expect from a Christian publisher whose purpose includes words about wanting their products to be a "means by which God breathes new life into His world." This book does anything but bring Godly wisdom into this world. I was shocked that Thomas Nelson would put their name behind this one.


**Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for a review. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review. The above review includes my true impressions about the book. In most cases, I do not keep the book (lack of storage space), but rather give it away in the next Goodwill box.

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2 Comments:

Suswan said...

Are Christian publishers going "new age"? Oh I hope not.
This sounds about as accurate and helpful as checking my horoscope in the newspaper.
Thanks for going through the trouble of reading and reviewing.

Too Many Hats said...

Wow, with all that transmitting of energy, I may start wearing tin foil on my head. Seriously, what a disappointment from a Christian publisher.