Book Review - Love And Work


While listening to an episode of Diary of a CEO, I caught an interview of Marcus Buckingham. While he did mention the book, Love and Work, I was most caught by his perspective on work and the fundamentals of leadership. It resonated deeply with my own belief, and experience, so I thought I’d give his book a try.

If I had to summarize the book in a few sentences, here’s what I think was the most important:

  • The most productive, happy people are working from a strength which is something that strengthens or restore you, not merely an area of high performance.
  • Work and School aren’t designed to identify your key loves, but rather categorize and trim you to shape, because that is safer/easier.
  • For your best, you must hunt for, discover, and cultivate these strengths, your ‘Red Threads’, and then link these to contribution.

This makes a good book for anyone feeling disengaged in the work. Data-oriented types will also enjoy several sections of the book. The author makes a point use statistically validated data when laying foundations for his key principles. And for any one looking to improve people systems in your workplace or home, that’s the same reason I picked!

The most useful pieces for me, from reading this book, are the new patterns the author lays out. He introduced some novel approaches to common problems. He introduced new concepts, such as ‘Red Threads’, and a distinct, but potent definition of a strength. These will change how I think in the future. Now, I am a bit of a data-nerd. I rather enjoyed the author’s unique insights. He shared several statistically significant patterns that have emerged from recent research.

Overall, I’m comfortable recommending this book. It is not one of my top 10, but it was worth the read for both the insights offered, and the models for future reasoning. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from later in the book:

Excellence is idiosyncratic! – namely no two people who are excel at the same job achieve excellence in the same way.

  • Marcus Buckingham, Love and Work