thinkers50 ranked thinker

Marcus Buckingham

Originator of the strengths movement, who challenges and inspires people to find and apply their strengths. 

01. ranked thinker

Ranked #38 in 2019.

Previous positions:
#18 (2013), #8 (2011), #25 (2009), and #38 (2007).



Shortlisted for the Thinkers50 2011 Leadership Award.



Conquered a childhood stammer when asked to formally address 300 boys at school. He pretended he was speaking to just one person.


A best-selling author, Buckingham posits that people should focus on their strengths – the areas of talent where they can contribute the most and maximise value creation – rather than worry about their weaknesses. A global researcher into people and performance and the power of hidden teams, he demonstrates the correlation between cultivating employee strengths and company success. His most recent research looks at how human beings really work, and he unpacks how job appraisals impact performance, finding that managers often give unconsciously biased and unhelpful feedback. 




Head of the ADP Research Institute – People + Performance since 2017, Buckingham spent nearly two decades as a senior researcher at the Gallup organization. In 2006 he founded The Marcus Buckingham Company. His assessments, StrengthsFinder and StandOut, have been taken over 10 million times around the world, helping individual contributors, leaders, and teams better understand and utilize their strengths to perform at their best, while his measurement tool, the Engagement Pulse, is used by companies worldwide to predict employee performance and engagement.


Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World (with Ashley Goodall, HBR Press, 2019); The Feedback Fallacy (with Ashley Goodall, Harvard Business Review, March-April 2019); Standout 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work (HBR Press, 2015); StandOut (Thomas Nelson, 2011); The Truth About You (Thomas Nelson, 2008); Find Your Strongest Life (Thomas Nelson, 2009); Go Put Your Strengths to Work (The Free Press, 2007); The One Thing You Need to Know (The Free Press, 2005); Now, Discover Your Strengths (with Donald O. Clifton, The Free 2001); First, Break all the Rules (with Curt Coffman, Simon & Schuster 1999).




Media Picks


A renowned thought leader and an influential talent executive.

Adam Grant, author of Give and Take.