Life’s Great Question

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”  — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life is not about what you get out of it . . . it’s about what you put back in. Yet our current means for summarizing life’s work, from resumes to salaries, are devoid of what matters most. Perhaps this explains why, on average, work is killing people when it should be making them healthier.

Simply put, we need a whole new way to think about and describe the contributions we make through our life’s work. Most people agree that life is not about focusing on self-oriented or monetary ambitions. It is about what you create that improves lives. It is about investing in the development of other people. And it is about participating in efforts that will continue to grow when you are gone.

Life’s Great Question will show you how to make your work and life into something much more meaningful that serves the world while improving your well-being. Far more than just a book, each copy includes a unique code that gives you access to complete an online inventory and build a personalized portfolio that details where you can make your greatest contributions to the world.

This deeply practical book and online program will show you how finding your greatest contributions is far more effective than following talent or passion alone. Filled with novel stories, research, and tools, Life’s Great Question will change the way you think about how your work and life can serve one another well into the future.

About the Author

Tom Rath is an author and researcher who has spent the past two decades studying how work can improve human health and well-being. His 10 books have sold more than 10 million copies and made hundreds of appearances on global bestseller lists.

Tom’s first book, How Full Is Your Bucket?, was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller and led to a series of books and activities for kids that are used in classrooms around the world. His book StrengthsFinder 2.0 is Amazon’s top selling non-fiction book of all time. Tom’s other bestsellers include Strengths Based LeadershipWellbeing, Eat Move Sleep, and Are You Fully Charged?.

During his 13 years at Gallup, Tom led the organization’s employee engagement, wellbeing, and leadership practices worldwide. He also served as Vice-Chair of the VHL cancer research organization and has been a regular lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.

Most recently, Tom co-founded a publishing company; he is also an advisor, investor, and partner in several startups. Tom holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife, Ashley, and their two children.

Tom’s Defining Roles

The Essential Roles Tom Fills to Serve Others

  1. Dad
  2. Husband
  3. Researcher

Tom’s Miles

Tom’s Most Influential Life Experiences

  1. Facing major health challenges at 15.
  2. Writing a book with grandfather in his final year of life.
  3. Change of focus and work when first child was born.

Tom’s Strengths

The Best Descriptors of Tom’s Strengths

  1. Futuristic
  2. Analytical
  3. Relator

Tom’s Greatest Contributions

How Tom Can Best Contribute to Groups, Organizations, and the World


Almost every product, project, and organization starts with a vision that could lead to a better future. Be the one to keep people focused on how their efforts impact a wider audience, which is the ultimate catalyst for growth and wellbeing.


Be the one who gets things started, from projects to conversations and relationships. Your efforts will help people act fast and move forward with confidence. 


Learning and teaching are the two central elements of growth. As you study new topics and develop the people you care for and serve, it will have a multiplying effect for years to come.