The One Thing You Need to Know: ...about Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success

Version: Abridged
Author: Marcus Buckingham
Narrator: Marcus Buckingham
Genres: Business & Economics, Self Development, Management & Leadership
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: March 2005
# of Units: 4 CDs
Length: 4 hours
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Following the success of the landmark bestsellers First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham offers a dramatically new way to understand the art of success.

With over 1.6 million copies of First, Break All the Rules (co-authored with Curt Coffman) and Now, Discover Your Strengths (co-authored with Donald O. Clifton) in print, Cambridge-educated Buckingham is considered one of the most respected business authorities on the subject of management and leadership in the world. With The One Thing You Need to Know, he gives readers an invaluable course in outstanding achievement -- a guide to capturing the essence of the three most fundamental areas of professional activity.

Great managing, leading, and career success -- Buckingham draws on a wealth of applicable examples to reveal that a controlling insight lies at the heart of the three. Lose sight of this 'one thing' and even the best efforts will be diminished or compromised. Readers will be eager to discover the surprisingly different answers to each of these rich and complex subjects. Each could be explained endlessly to detail their many facets, but Buckingham's great gift is his ability to cut through the mass of often-conflicting agendas and zero in on what matters most, without ever oversimplifying. As he observes, success comes to those who remain mindful of the core insight, understand all of its ramifications, and orient their decisions around it. Buckingham backs his arguments with authoritative research from a wide variety of sources, including his own research data and in-depth interviews with individuals at every level of an organization, from CEO's to hotel maids and stockboys.

In every way a groundbreaking book, The One Thing You Need to Know offers crucial performance and career lessons for business people at all career stages.

Reviews (14)

Written by nisreen Ayyach on January 24th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I like the definitions for the terms of leadership and management. He gives good examples regarding business in real life. This book opened my eyes on life and business in general. The book is inspiring and enjoyable to listen to.

Written by on October 11th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This books compares a manager vs a leader. The supportive detail and analysis provide guidelines and direction on how to increase performance with cor-workers, team members. Great book!! All managers and leaders should read this book.

Written by Yuliya Barnhill on June 3rd, 2012

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I truly enjoyed this book. The authors reading was a bit dry, which made it difficult to stay focused, but I found the information presented to be incredibly valuable.

Intelligently Written, Superbly Read

Written by Brett Tiller from Sunnyvale, CA on December 20th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book does a great job of discussing and defending why certain skills are required and what they mean to each of us as managers, leaders and individuals. What must a great manager do to succeed with his staff? Hint: what's the difference between chess and checkers as it applies to management? When it comes to great leadership there are four key qualities every great leader must have. The first is clarity of vision. Every employee must understand in detail exactly what is the vision. General vision statements such as 'to be the company of choice' have and will always be useless because no one knows what that really means or how to make it happen. Finally, this book covers how each of us as individuals can succeed in our careers. I found this book to be interesting, eye opening and very useful for career development. It's one of the best business books I've listened to so far.

The One Thing You need to know

Written by Anonymous from Goodyear, AZ on December 22nd, 2009

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Very insightful. Good listening. Got some good stuff out of it. Nice to have the author narrate.

Great advice

Written by Anonymous on June 27th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Good, practical, solid advice on leading and managing. This theories in this book are supported with solid evidence. The ideas put forth are practical and concrete. A great book, especially if you are familiar with the authors other works.

Very Good Book

Written by Anonymous from Chicago, IL on May 5th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I thought this audio book did a very good job in explaining the core points made in the book along with examples to help apply the information to your life. I've read / listened to many leadership and management books and put this one in my top 5. I think Buckingham is very insightful and I love that fact that he tries to get to the core of the issues. He doesn't focus on the latest fads or strategies from the latest management gurus. His approach and descriptions seemed to make a lot of sense to me.

The One Thing You Need to Know: About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success

Written by Ali Lashgari on August 12th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Gives great insight into great managing, leading, and sustained success. Simplifies it into the core factors which are all important in achieving success. Highly recommended.


Written by Dave Paulson on January 24th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I found the book to be excellent in most every way. It contains a practical framework for understanding the key elements of organizational leadership and management, all backed with real life examples. I found this to be one of the most informative management books I've read. The author is easy to listen to, and the content is effectively presented. My only complaint is that there's so much packed into the pages that you find yourself hitting rewind on a frequent basis.

Wonderful book with great ideas!

Written by Kelvin Z. on November 21st, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

At first it seemed a bit boring - it did not seem like it would be any good. However, after a couple of tracks it started getting good. This is very helpful and filled with things you can use today. I recommend it!

Author Details

Author Details

Buckingham, Marcus

In a world where efficiency and competency rule the workplace, where do personal strengths fit in?

It's a complex question, one that intrigued Cambridge-educated Marcus Buckingham so greatly, he set out to answer it by challenging years of social theory and utilizing his nearly two decades of research experience as a Sr. Researcher at Gallup Organization to break through the preconceptions about achievements and get to the core of what drives success.

The result of his persistence, and arguably the definitive answer to the strengths question can be found in Buckingham's four best-selling books First, Break All the Rules (coauthored with Curt Coffman, Simon & Schuster, 1999); Now, Discover Your Strengths (coauthored with Donald O. Clifton, The Free Press, 2001); The One Thing You Need to Know (The Free Press, 2005) and Go Put Your Strengths To Work (The Free Press, 2007). The author gives important insights to maximizing strengths, understanding the crucial differences between leadership and management, and fulfilling the quest for long-lasting personal success. In his most recent book, Buckingham offers ways to apply your strengths for maximum success at work.

What would happen if men and women spent more than 75% of each day on the job using their strongest skills and engaged in their favorite tasks, basically doing exactly what they wanted to do?

According to Marcus Buckingham (who spent years interviewing thousands of employees at every career stage and who is widely considered one of the world's leading authorities on employee productivity and the practices of leading and managing), companies that focus on cultivating employees' strengths rather than simply improving their weaknesses stand to dramatically increase efficiency while allowing for maximum personal growth and success.

If such a theory sounds revolutionary, that's because it is. Marcus Buckingham calls it the “strengths revolution.”

As he addresses more than 250,000 people around the globe each year, Buckingham touts this strengths revolution as the key to finding the most effective route to personal success and the missing link to the efficiency, competency, and success for which many companies constantly strive.

To kick-start the strengths revolution, Buckingham and Gallup developed the StrengthsFinder exam (, which identifies signature themes that help employees quantify their personal strengths in the workplace and at home. Since the StrengthsFinder debuted in 2001, more than 1 million people have discovered their strengths with this useful and important tool.

In his role as author, independent consultant and speaker, Marcus Buckingham has been the subject of in-depth profiles in The New York Times, Fortune, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal and is routinely lauded by such corporations as Toyota, Coca-Cola, Master Foods, Wells Fargo, Yahoo and Disney as an invaluable resource in informing, challenging, mentoring and inspiring people to find their strengths and obtain and sustain long-lasting personal success.

A wonderful resource for leaders, managers, and educators, Buckingham challenges conventional wisdom and shows the link between engaged employees and productivity, profit, customer satisfaction, and the rate of turnover. Buckingham graduated from Cambridge University in 1987 with a master's degree in Social and Political Science.