Personal Brand Book Review – Standout

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StandOut – The groundbreaking new strengths assessment.

© 2011 by One Thing Productions Inc, 227 pages, Paperback

5R Score: 25/35

The Three Strengths Principles

  1. Your Genius is Precise
  2. You Can’t Respect What You Don’t Remember
  3. You Must Reach Beyond Your Roles

On a scale of 1-7   

Relevance – is it right for personal branding? - 7

Resonance does it make sense to the reader? - 6

Relation is there a connection for everyone? - 5   

Remarkability – does it stand out, will it get noticed? - 5

Real – does the personal brand come through? – 2

Would you pick it up?

Since getting involved in the whole personal branding area, one of the core pieces of work that I use and refer to on a regular basis has been “Now Discover Your Strengths” by Buckingham and Clifton and other updated versions of the work.  That is until now.

I have always enjoyed the work of Marcus Buckingam and he has been personally branded as the “Leader of the Strengths Revolution”. He is a joy to watch and listen to as a speaker (I would kill for a fraction of his speaker fees!). But what I really like is his continued efforts to make understanding your unique strengths, simple. With this book he has taken it all a stage further.

Now you just need to know your top two strengths, (mine were Equalizer and Influencer) and there are only 9 strengths in total, so it’s also easier to understand others as well.


One of the core foundation pieces of personal branding is to understand your strengths. If you cannot immediately identify what those are then you need to invest in a book like ‘StandOut’. Each book comes with a unique code to take an online assessment and Buckingham has obviously spent a lot of time and resources in getting this working optimally set to give best results.


Strengths are just one part of your personal branding puzzle, but a key one, so not underestimate the need to do this. The book is mostly made up of chapter explanations of each of the 9 strengths, so on first read you might skip a lot. But if you go further with this, start to know others strengths it’s the type of book that should almost be on your desk versus a bookshelf.

What is really excellent about this book is that it helps you understand how you can maximise your strength in various situations;

-      You are at your most powerful

-      How to describe yourself (in interviews and performance reviews)

-      How to make an immediate impact

-      How to take your performance to the next level

-      What to watch out for.

-      How to win as a leader.

-      How to win as a manager.

-      How to win in sales.

-      How to win in client services.

There is also a team strengths version which is very neat.


I firmly believe that if you are going to live any type of life you love then understanding and playing to your strengths is key, so this book and its approach and principles applies to anyone at any level.  In fact it is a good leveler – it does not matter where you are, strengths are strengths.


In much of my work with personal brands I would say the most underplayed element of most peoples personal brands are their strengths. It is what you do naturally and so well that it’s almost a sub-conscious action. Many people might look at this work and think it rudimentary, but I will bet most of them are not leveraging their strengths anywhere at the level they could be, so there are many lessons from this.


Marcus Buckingham has one of the most amazing strengths based stories about his personal brand, but apart from a few anecdotal personal pieces you are going to have to go somewhere else to find that one out. As most of the book is specific to understanding the strengths you would hope there were more examples, but it lacks that level and is the most disappointing part of the book.

Having said that this is a must for all my future personal branding work.   



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