"Therefore the strong people will glorify You;" -- Isaiah 25:3
I ordered this book thinking that my wife and daughter would be thrilled to find out how to find their strongest lives. I left it hanging around where they tend to pick up books I want them to find and read. That didn't work. Then, I asked each of them if they would like to read it. My daughter turned up her nose and my wife said she's take a quick look. After six minutes my wife commented, "There's not much there."
Although this is a book-length self-help book, my advice to men would be not to buy it for women. They'll buy it for themselves if they want to read it.
Assuming that all men have stopped reading the review by now, let me address women. If you have read Marcus Buckingham's book, Find Your Strongest Life, you probably won't feel that this book adds very much other than some anecdotes. Take a peek at the library or while browsing at the bookstore before buying.
If you haven't read that book, let me ask you a question to help you decide if this book is for you: How happy are you with your life on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being as happy as you can imagine?
If you answer seven or higher, you are average or above in happiness and much of this advice won't help too much.
If you answer four or lower and loathe either your job or your family life, this is your book. Go for it.
The book is structured around an experience that the author had in counseling 30 women who had achieved so-called success in life, but were dissatisfied.
It begins with 10 myths, which I paraphrase to shorten and for clarity:
1. When women have more opportunities, they are happier.
2. Happiness for women increases with age.
3. Free time reduces stress for women.
4. Women raising children are happier.
5. Kids want to spend more time with their working moms.
6. Women accomplish more by doing lots of things at once.
7. Women like to work for women.
8. Women earn less for men in comparable work.
9. Women have lower level jobs at work than men.
10. Women do a great deal more housework than men.
Okay, so what's the problem with exploding such myths? Well, using averages to come to conclusions can be very misleading. All ten items could be true for you as a woman. If you don't agree that the opposite of this list is the case, you will be gritting your teeth as you read much of the book. Perhaps it's not such a good book for you.
Part One of the book mostly focuses on frustrations that women feel and addresses the ten myths. Unless you find the details fascinating, you could skip that part.
In Part Two, Mr. Buckingham describes what he's pointing women toward: a strong life.
Here the definition:
A woman has an emotional life that is
1. "Successful" (defined as feeling "effective and capable")
2. "Instinctively looking forward to tomorrow" (defined as feeling "hope, excitement, even joy")
3. "Growing and learning" ("getting better at something" and with "a sense of focus")
4. "Needs fulfilled" ("may be tired" but not "overwhelmed and empty")(has a purpose she likes, has relationships she enjoys, and gains recognition)
The rest of Part Two describes roles and tasks to help you understand what strengthens you emotionally and what drains you. Do more of the former and less of the latter.
Part Three of the book is a lot of questions and answers. If one of the questions is yours, it will be helpful. Otherwise, it will be more of a curiosity.
Could this book have been turned into a helpful short article? Yes.
Even though this is a short book, there's not a lot here . . . unless the message is one that resonates with you because parts of your life feel crummy and you don't know what to do about it.
I would dismiss this book as probably not being too valuable for capable women except that I know a woman who struggles with hating her job, even though she is very good at it. I realize from what she says about her work that she hasn't thought of looking for a different job that would help her feel better. This book might help her. I'll share my copy with her.
I suspect this book will be most valuable to women who hate their family lives and aren't quite sure how to get past the guilt to decide to change matters in constructive ways. I'm sorry if that's the case for you, but this book might really help you.
This is a secular book so there's no emphasis on being strong in your faith in the Lord as a way to gain a more satisfying life. I felt that the message of living a strong life was quite incomplete without that advice.