I have a few biases towards books on the subjects of writing and human psychology. These two books lean towards the second of those two fascinations.

istock_000000110566xsmallThe first book is one I have not yet read, and I’m sure I will soon. It’s called Why Your Co-workers Act Like Children, by Sylvia Lafair, Ph.D. (clinical psychology.)

I came across the title on-line today in a Yahoo! news article by > Time < writer Anne Fischer, which I’ve linked here.

Her hypothesis is that adults under stress (for example at work) revert to coping behaviors they learned as children that got them through stress early in life.

The author outlines some types she has observed, and she points out that depending on the behavior, some can hinder one’s career advancement.

06_weightlifters_470x2902The second book is one I have read, as have several of my co-workers. It’s called Now Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton linked here for you on > Amazon <. The idea behind the books is that rather than spend your time strengthening your weakest skills, it’s more beneficial to build on your strengths. I don’t want to get into a big nature vs. nurture debate, but we probably all can agree that some of us are eager and strong writers, while others of us have quite a head working with numbers. Before we can build on our strengths, we have to know what those are.

I am a friendly introvert with a B.A. in psychology, and suffice to say that I’ve spent a lot of time introspecting, reading about personality, brain development, temperament, and other things that have given me some ideas about “who I am, and what I’m good at.” I think the crib notes to that who-am-I life test might be something like, “you’re good at the things you enjoy doing, and you enjoy doing the things you’re good at.” Psychologists can test and measure and analyze it all from now to eternity (and I hope they do, cause I love to read about that stuff), but bottom line is that it can be summarized pretty simply.

Now Discover Your Strengths had some surprises for me, though. It comes with a code that you use for an online diagnostic test (don’t panic—there are no wrong answers) that measures your strengths. The surprises for me were some things I thought I was really good at (or would LIKE to be really good at) that were not as high on the list as some other things that I hadn’t really thought about as a measurable strength.

The test takes about 10 minutes, as I recall. It is a timed response test, meaning, you have about 5 seconds to choose a response, and the moves to the next question. Go with your gut, and either your answer is yes, or it’s no, or it’s in the middle—no strong preference. Use that approach, so you don’t get stuck on a question, and you will come out with the truest answers.

My top strengths were: Learner, Input, Achiever, Strategic and Intellection. Read the book, and you can see what that all means. Everyone in the marketing department where I work read the book and took the test, and then we reported our top five strengths measured in the test. It was very revealing and worth the time and effort. This kind of information is very generalizable and can help you in your work life and your personal life.

Take the test, yourself, and post your results here!

Image of weightlifters from mural at Swindon Bodybuilder’s Gym on London Street, via the Web