Marcus Bcuckingham

Marcus Buckingham

Biography of The Founder of The Strengths Revolution

Marcus Buckingham, known as the “founder of the strengths revolution,” is a British-American New York Times bestselling author, thought leader and motivational speaker. He spent 17 years at the Gallup Organization researching what distinguishes world’s best leaders, managers, and workplaces, publishing the largest research of its kind based on nearly 80 000 interviews. Currently, he guides the vision of the ADP Research Institute, where he continues to work on his mission to bring the message of personal strengths to the world.

List of Books

  • 2015 – StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths. Find Your Edge. Win at Work
  • 2011 – StandOut: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment
  • 2009 – Find Your Strongest Life
  • 2008 – The Truth About You
  • 2007 – Go Put Your Strengths to Work
  • 2005 – The One Thing You Need to Know
  • 2001 – Now, Discover Your Strengths
  • 1999 – First, Break All the Rules

Marcus Buckingham Biography

Buckingham was born on 11 January 1966 near London. He was raised in the United Kingdom, where he also graduated with the master’s degree in social and political science from Cambridge University.


It was at Cambridge that Donald O. Clifton, who was an educational psychology professor at that time, noticed Marcus Buckingham among students. First recruited by Don Clifton, Buckingham followed his mentor to Selection Research, Incorporated (SRI) after his studies.


In 1988, SRI acquired The Gallup Organization, where Buckingham dedicated 17 years of his career to developing the core of his theories about employee performance and engagement. The primary question that was guiding his research at that time was the understanding of what the world’s greatest managers do differently.


Based on his research, he published his first book “First, Break All The Rules” in 1999, where he outlined the findings on how companies, managers, and workers excel. It immediately became a New York Times bestseller, with millions of copies sold across the entire world.


Following the public interest in the strengths revolution, Marcus Buckingham together with Gallup developed the StrengthsFinder personality test. The test is aimed at helping anyone to identify their signature themes, talents and areas of potential strengths in the workplace and at home. The book “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, published in 2001, served as main guide for the StrengthsFinder assessment and became the author’s second New York Times bestseller.


In 2006 he left the Gallup Organization to start his own strengths-based consultancy called after his name – The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC). Over a decade, Buckingham leveraged his company to become a platform for launching innovative solutions with the aim to help organization cultivate and benefit from the strengths-based culture.


The cornerstone of these solutions was the famous “StandOut” – an innovative assessment which went beyond strengths descriptions, and gave practical advice for individuals and their managers on how to get the best from each member of their team.


Thanks to his efforts towards popularizing the strengths-based approach, Marcus Buckingham was described by Fortune magazine and Oprah Winfrey as a “strengths management guru”, firmly establishing him as one of the thought leaders in this subject.


In 2017, TMBC joined forces with ADP, one of the world’s largest providers of solutions for human resources. With the expertise of the former and the scale of the latter, the goal was to further help companies build better workforces. As of now, Marcus Buckingham serves as CoHead of the ADP Research Institute, where he focuses on people & performance research.

The Strengths Revolution

Supported by the largest study of its kind, Marcus Buckingham revealed practices that challenged years of social theory and opposed the conventional wisdom when it comes to successful managerial behavior. The positive resonance his first two books created in the business world earned Marcus Buckingham the title of the founder of the strengths revolution.


Buckingham himself insisted that this revolution started, as all revolutions do, with the simplest of ideas: if people spent most of their time at work using their strengths and doing their favorite tasks, both employees and organizations would win.


The power of this revolutionary perspective transformed the idea into the worldwide movement. The strengths-based approach turned into conventional wisdom in management practices, with most prominent companies now focusing on employee strengths to unlock the full efficiency, productivity and performance potential.

The Idiosyncratic Rater Effect

The second most widely discussed idea suggested by Marcus Buckingham is the idiosyncratic rater effect.


Over the past decades, performance reviews became a ubiquitous part of any organizational process. The overarching goal is to accelerate organization performance and, as a result, reviews determine how people get paid, promoted or evaluated.


Yet Buckingham argues that even the most advanced performance ranking systems do not measure what they are intended to due to the idiosyncratic rater effect. Research shows that more than half of the performance rating depends on the rater rather than on the ratee. In other words, we as humans are not really good evaluators of other people performance.


The strengths-based approach suggested by Marcus Buckingham is to ask people set the goals for themselves voluntarily. This lets them choose what they would like to aim for, be engaged during the process, and more constructive when evaluating their own performance.

StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths. Find Your Edge. Win at Work

StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths. Find Your Edge. Win at Work


ISBN: 1633690741 | Pages: 240 | Language: English | Publishing Date:  July, 2015 | Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press | Rating: 3.8/5 | Formats: eBook/Hardcover


A decade after Marcus Buckingham started the strengths revolution, the strengths-based approach became everyday wisdom. In this book, however, he pays specific attention to tools, systems, and processes that prevent individuals and organizations from benefiting off their strengths. Therefore, the book comes with an upgraded version of the StandOut strengths assessment and an online toolkit that helps managers to leverage their team strengths across organizational processes – from performance appraisals to succession planning.

StandOut: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment

StandOut: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment


ISBN: 140020237X | Pages: 227 | Language: English | Publishing Date: September, 2011 | Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc | Rating: 3.8/5 | Formats: eBook/Hardcover


In StandOut, Marcus Buckingham introduces the next-generation strengths assessment, based on the updated methodology, larger data set, and rigorous statistical testing. While other assessments stop at identifying and describing your talents, StandOut takes it to the next level. Its main distinction is in the practical advice on what to do to make the most of the strengths you have. For each potential strengths category, Buckingham goes into details of answering such questions as ‘which career to pursue’ or ‘how to make an immediate impact’.

Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham

Find Your Strongest Life


ISBN: 1400202361  | Pages: 288| Language: English | Publishing Date: September, 2009| Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc | Rating: 3.7/5 | Formats: eBook/Hardcover/Audio CD


The book is written for women on how to be happier by finding their strongest life. Buckingham defines it as living your life through your strengths rather than mulling over your weaknesses. He suggests that there are 9 categories of life and a truly fulfilled individual should be leveraging their strengths in all of them. Failure to do so would be manifested in dissatisfaction in life and a constant search for something else. The book comes with a test that helps you identify where you stand with respect to these 9 categories and your strengths.

The Truth about You: Your Secret to Success

The Truth about You: Your Secret to Success


ISBN: 1400202264  | Pages: 110| Language: English | Publishing Date: September, 2008| Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc | Rating: 3.9/5 | Formats: Hardcover/DVD


In this book, Marcus Buckingham focuses on job seekers, young professionals and people wishing to revitalize their careers. He offers them advice on how to leverage their strengths for finding positions that suit them well. To support it, the book is written in an interactive format that encourages the reader to complete hands-on exercises to discover their most powerful talents. Both tried-and-true life wisdom and exercises outlined in the book have the same overarching goal – to help an individual to take the first steps towards a more fulfilling life.

Go Put Your Strengths to Work

Go Put Your Strengths to Work


ISBN: 0743261674  | Pages: 270 | Language: English | Publishing Date: March, 2007| Publisher: Free Press | Rating: 4.0/5 | Formats: Hardcover/Audio CD


Frequently referred to as a companion of “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, the focus of this book is to take your strengths themes and to turn them into something actually useful for your job. Marcus Buckingham intent is to identify six steps to achieving outstanding performance. For each of these steps, he supplies the reader with tools they need to apply their strengths in their current role at work. In the book, Buckingham explodes the myths that keep people focused on their weaknesses, outlines how to minimize the impact of weaknesses, and shows how to make focusing on your strengths a habit.

The One Thing You Need to Know

The One Thing You Need to Know


ISBN: 0743261658  | Pages: 304 | Language: English | Publishing Date: March, 2005| Publisher: Free Press | Rating: 4.2/5 | Formats: Hardcover/Audio CD/Kindle


Contrary to the intriguing title, the book admits that it would be impossible to think that there could be one thing that is right for everything and every situation. It is also the reason why managers should focus on their own strengths and the strengths of their team. Buckingham contrasts it to blindly following best practices and changing themselves into something they cannot be. He backs his arguments with a balanced mix between interpreted authoritative research and personal stories. With it, Marcus Buckingham encourages you to rethink the natural inklings about management, leadership and personal success.

Now, Discover Your Strengths

Now, Discover Your Strengths


ISBN: 0743201140  | Pages: 272 | Language: English | Publishing Date: January, 2001| Publisher: Gallup Press | Rating: 3.8/5 | Formats: Hardcover/Audio CD


In this book, Marcus Buckingham shows 1) individuals how to develop their personal strengths, 2) managers how to bring the best out of their people, and 3) executives how to build an entire organization leveraging strengths of every individual. It comes with the StrengthsFinder personality test – state-of-the-art assessment developed to help people discover their natural talents. Both the book and the tool are the culmination of the 25-year research by the Gallup Organization based on 2 million individuals – from the world’s best athletes to great local teachers.

First, Break all the Rules

First, Break all the Rules


ISBN: 0684852861  | Pages: 272 | Language: English | Publishing Date: May, 1999| Publisher: Gallup Press | Rating: 4.5/5 | Formats: Hardcover/Audio CD


The book is the culmination of the 20-year study on how the methods of the world’s greatest managers differ from those of weaker managers. Based on more than 80 000 interviews with managers from 400 companies, it dissected four key principles: 1) select for talent, 2) define the right outcomes, 3) focus on strengths, and 4) encourage employees to find the right fit. As a result, Marcus Buckingham gives the reader an effective framework for recruiting the right people, setting the right goals, focusing on strengths, and assigning the right roles to subordinates. Deemed revolutionary at the time of publishing, the book continues to challenge conventional wisdom about successful managerial practices.

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