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Book Review: “First, Break All the Rules” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Main Topic and Author’s Treatment:

The management book “First, Break All the Rules” was written by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. The book focuses primarily on management and leadership ideas that go against popular thought. The writers provide the results of a thorough investigation by the Gallup Organization, where they examined information from over 80,000 managers from various businesses and organizations. They looked for characteristics of great managers and investigated what makes them different from mediocre or bad managers.

The research demonstrates that outstanding managers have certain traits and management methods that differ from conventional approaches, which the authors use to support their argument. They assert, among other things, that “great managers are not well-rounded; they are different from one another.” They argue that instead of striving to mold every leader into a shared leadership approach, businesses can use every leader’s unique abilities and creativity to create a more efficient and motivated staff.

Strengths and Weaknesses:


  • Data-Driven Approach: The publication uses extensive studies and data analysis to support its claims and recommendations.
  • Practical Examples and Actionable Guidance: The authors offer realistic illustrations and helpful guidance, making it more straightforward for managers to put their concepts into practice in actual situations.
  • Emphasis on Individuality: The book emphasizes identifying and utilizing personal capabilities to foster a pleasant workplace environment.


  • Limited Range: The book mainly concentrates on the management facets of leadership, perhaps omitting specific, more comprehensive leadership characteristics.
  • Absence of Counterarguments: Although the writers provide compelling evidence to support their views, they might have done more to give a more nuanced perspective.

Author’s Intent:

The writers want to dispel widespread misconceptions about what constitutes a successful manager and question accepted management practices. By promoting a more customized and strengths-based strategy, they want to offer a new angle on management. The book’s goal is to provide managers with the tools they need to reject conventional wisdom and adopt a more individualized leadership approach that uses their unique talents and their team members.

Accomplishment of Intent

By providing convincing data from their study and helpful advice for creating improved management practices, the authors effectively accomplish their goal. They stress the need to consider each employee’s uniqueness and adjust management strategies appropriately. The book should have done a better job of exploring the possible difficulties and traps of using such a tailored strategy and how to deal with them.

Reason for Writing

The authors’ book “First, Break All the Rules” aims to transform how businesses approach management by disseminating the learnings from their in-depth study. They wanted to be a valuable resource for managers at all levels, forcing them to reevaluate their traditional methods and adopt cutting-edge approaches to raise employee engagement and overall performance.

Point of View

From a data-driven and practical standpoint, the book is written. The writers use the study findings to support their claims and depend on real-world examples to help managers implement the ideas. The book’s compelling style persuades readers to adopt a fresh perspective on management and leadership.

Style of Writing

The book’s writers, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman write consistently and clearly. They successfully retain a logical flow of thought, making it simple for readers to understand their points. Because of the author’s clear and understandable language, a broad audience may understand the topic (Buckingham & Coffman, 2015). They clearly explain their ideas and back them up with relevant examples. Their writing is interesting overall and makes the book easier to read.

Personal Impact

“First, Break All the Rules” was enlightening and exciting as a student. The work of literature motivated me to attempt new methods and caused me to reevaluate some of my prior managerial presumptions. It made me consider how crucial it is to take advantage of each individual’s unique skills on the job and how this can impact their engagement and efficiency. Although the book did not significantly alter my beliefs or sentiments, it did extend my outlook and give me insightful information about efficient management techniques.

Meeting the Book’s Goal

The book mostly succeeds in its objectives of questioning traditional management techniques and offering a novel viewpoint on effective leadership. The writers engagingly provide their study findings and provide managers with helpful guidance. The book encourages a more unique and exciting management style by highlighting the significance of identifying individual capabilities. The book may have gone into further detail about potential refutations or the difficulties of implementing such an approach.

Descriptions and Narration

Instead of attempting to convince readers that their beliefs are true, Buckingham and Coffman place a greater emphasis on giving facts and outlining their study findings. They cite statistics from the Gallup Organization to support their assertions and offer proof of extraordinary management techniques. By way of illustration, they write, “Our research led us to conclude that great managers are not well-rounded; they are different from one another” (Buckingham & Coffman, 2015). This quotation best shows their attention to conveying their study findings.

Challenging the Author’s Opinions

Although I usually agree with the authors’ viewpoints, I am afraid I have to disagree with their assertion that outstanding managers are essentially unique and unbalanced. While it is essential to identify and build on each person’s talents, good managers should have a diverse skill set and be able to adapt to a variety of scenarios. Capitalizing on individual talents while establishing various managerial abilities must be balanced. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, the book’s authoritative writers, have a wealth of management expertise and have collaborated with the Gallup Organization on research projects. Their association with Gallup legitimizes their conclusions and advice (Buckingham & Coffman, 2015). In addition to writing numerous other noteworthy management books, Buckingham is a well-known name in the industry. These elements demonstrate their authority and subject-matter knowledge in the area of management.

Most of the book’s target audience consists of managers and executives from various sectors who want to enhance their management techniques and encourage a more motivated and effective staff (Buckingham & Coffman, 2015). The writers effectively appeal to this audience by offering sensible suggestions that may be put into practice based on their in-depth research. For managers looking to foster a happy work atmosphere and improve performance, emphasizing identifying and utilizing individual abilities is particularly pertinent and beneficial.

The book is excellent in both being informative and fascinating. Anecdotes and examples from the writers’ experiences are used to explain their results vividly. Their assertions are given more weight by using data-driven insights from the Gallup study, making the book more appealing and exciting for readers. In order to provide a thorough and well-rounded analysis of suitable management methods, the book also covers a wide variety of managerial topics, from staff development to recruiting.

To sum up, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman’s “First, Break All the Rules” accomplishes its objective of questioning traditional management techniques and offering a novel viewpoint on leadership. The writers emphasize the significance of identifying unique capabilities and configuring management strategies accordingly. The book offers valuable guidance and insights based on in-depth research, making it a good fit for its target audience of managers and leaders. It is a valuable tool for individuals trying to improve their leadership abilities and engage their staff because of its extensive and entertaining presentation and emphasis on uniqueness in management. As a student, I found the book insightful and thought-provoking, which helped me have a more comprehensive view of good management techniques.


Buckingham, M., & Coffman, C. (2015). First, break all the rules.


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