No More Washington Post Book World?

Call me old-fashioned, but I think that one of life’s joys is to sit down with a good newspaper.  Though I’m someone who’s spent a career working on web sites, there’s some really special about a quiet morning with a paper.  And some coffee.

A newspaper is easier on the eyes than a glowing screen.  It also offers the chance of serendipity, of stumbling upon some article you never would’ve read, just because you have to turn pages to find the article you’re looking for.  A newspaper is also mostly distraction-free (no videos blaring, no animating ads) which, IMHO, makes reading an article in print a richer and more rewarding experience.  Things I really want to absorb, I need to see on paper.  

Today comes the news (ironically, from The New York Times), that the Washington Post is ending Book World, its Sunday books supplement.  Economic reasons are cited.  I find this hard to believe.  Washington is one of the most literate cities in the country, filled with readers, and writers, too.  Hop on the Metro, visit a coffee shop, stroll through a park and you’ll find scores of people lost in good books.  The city is home to excellent and popular bookstores, like Kramerbooks and Politics and Prose.  With the wide range of books that people in DC read, there’s got to be a need for book reviews. Continue reading “No More Washington Post Book World?”

StrengthsFinder 2.0

I took the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test. It asks you a series of questions on how you like to work, how you get along with other people and how you’ve organized your life. You have 20 seconds to answer each question because they want your gut responses, without a lot of thinking. The same kind of questions are asked again and again, in slightly different formulations, to find out how strongly you feel about something. When answering, you choose a range of responses from “agree strongly” to “disagree strongly.”

When you’re done with this online test (it takes 20-30 minutes to complete), you’re presented with a list of your top five strengths.  Here’s mine:

  1. Input
  2. Strategic
  3. Intellection
  4. Maximizer
  5. Learner
I took this test three years ago, when it was part of Now, Discover Your Strengths.  Interestingly, I had the same five strengths when I took it last, just in a slightly different order.
What’s different in StrengthsFinder 2.0 is, along with a list of your strengths, it provides a couple of additional tools to help you become happier and more effective. The first is a personalized guide that contains:

Brief descriptions of all five of your strengths

Your Personalized Strengths Insights, which describe what makes you stand out from others with the same theme in their top five

Some examples of what the theme “sounds like” — real quotes from people who also have the theme in their top five

Ten very practical ideas for action for each strength

A Strengths Discovery Activity to get you thinking about how your talents and your investment work together to build strengths that you can apply to your work and personal life

A Strengths-Based Action Plan for review with a friend, manager, or colleague.

There’s also a simple online tool where you can pick from their suggestions on how to improve yourself and build a custom guide of practical ideas for you to follow.

If you’re a compulsive planner, StrengthsFinder 2.0 is for you. But I think it’s also useful for people going through a career transition or just wondering if they’re in the right job.

I strongly agree with the core philosophy of StrengthsFinder – you should concentrate your efforts on what you’re best at, rather than trying to improve upon your weaknesses. Not only is this a more efficient use of your time, it’s more likely to lead to happiness.