How Full Is Your Bucket?
Tom Rath & Donald O. Clifton
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Buy *How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life* online

How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life
Tom Rath & Donald O. Clifton
Gallup Press
128 pages
August 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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How do you feel when you get a compliment or a nice word from someone? Conversely, how do you feel when someone puts you down or ignores you? These concepts are the basis for the grandfather-grandson team of Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton’s book How Full is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life. The book is based on the concept that each of us has an invisible bucket. We are happiest when our buckets are overflowing and unhappy when our buckets are empty. Each of us also has an invisible dipper. With this dipper, we can either fill or dip from each other’s buckets. Rath and Clifton show how much happier and productive each of us is when we are filling each other’s (and, in turn, our own) buckets.

While this may seem like a simplistic and even hokey concept, it comes across as true and touching in this book. With plenty of examples (even a personal example from Tom about his grandfather), statistics and surveys, How Full is Your Bucket? is a motivational testament to why we should all be looking at what is right in life and with each other instead of what is wrong. The authors apply this concept to work situations, marriages and friendships, showing how each setting can be improved with a little bucket-filling.

This is a slim book at less then 130 pages (and nearly half of those are pictures or graphs), but the authors use this space wisely and anything longer may have come across as overkill. This is also the perfect length for a book that you can read over and over, usually in only one sitting. Along with the actual book, it also comes with "drops" that you can write on and give to other people and a code that will get you onto the authors’ website and let you take a test to find out what your strengths are (this ties in with Clifton’s other book, Now, Discover Your Strenths). These little extras are a nice bonus and help reinforce the ideas discussed in the book.

If you need a little inspiration and a reason to look at (and help increase) the good in life, you should pick up How Full is Your Bucket? It may not change your life, but it may change the way you look at it.

© 2005 by Angela McQuay for

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