Book Review - "How will you measure your life" by Clayton M. Christensen

Feb 2, 2020 3 min read

Clayton has written a lot of books around Innovation & Innovators, what fuels it, the problems around it, etc… Some of Clayton’s pretty bright classmates later in life got involved in Immoral & Illegal things even-tough they were doing very well for themselves in life. This prompted him to teach to his students how to not lose track in life & hence this book.

In summary these are the questions for which Clayton wants its readers to have a framework to workout the answers.

How Can I be sure that
  • I will be successful and happy in my career?
  • My realtionships with my spouse, my children, and my extended family and close friends become an enduring source of happiness?
  • I live a life of integrity - and stay out of jail?
  1. How do you know the difference between good advice & bad? Afterall you are taking advice just because you are ignorant on the subject, the answer is to have a framework of thinking. Learn how to think & you can think about anything you want.
  2. “Disruption happens when a competitor enters a market with a low-priced product or service that most established industry players view as inferior. But the new competitor uses technology and its business model to continually improve its offering until it is good enough to satisfy what customers need.
  3. In US, small mini-steel-mills disrupted the integrated ones by attacking the lowest end of the market. - The market is made by the unbranded & the unorganised. - Does this mean that the company at the bottom can’t be disrupted? Apple can be disrupted but not oppo?
  4. Rather than telling them what to think, or the solution itself, its always advisable to lead the listener to his own conclusions by giving alternate examples & questions. Be a guide, not a crystal bowl. Don’t answer directly, run the wuestion through a theory in my own mind. Good theory can help us categorize, explain, and, most important, predict. The hallmark of a good theory: it dispenses its advice in “if-then” statements.
  5. Terrorism disrupted the war mongering by countries. It’s a necessary evil, keeping the bigger one at bay.
  6. Co-relation is often evident but causality is not. That’s why research & theory. Use past data but don’t rely on it solely.
  7. If we can’t see beyond what’s close by, we’re relying on chance. Allow for positive black swans & minimise the negative ones.
  8. The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. -Steve Jobs
  9. Strategy defines: What you want to achieve & how you will get there. How we allocate our resources - our time, talent & energies - is how we determine the actual strategy of our lives. - Prioritize accordingly.
  10. Figuring the strategy & its execution is a continuous process not a one time endeavor.
  11. Incentives are lousy & generally lead to bad/complex unintended consequences. Motivation is higher & better than Incentives. True motivation is getting people to do something because they want to do it. This type of motivation continues, in good times and bad.
  12. It’s possible to both love & hate your job at the same time. You might love for the hygiene factors(incentives) but hate it because it doesn’t provide job-satisfaction(motivation). The opposite of job-dissatisfaction is absense-of-job-satisfaction.
  13. Learning, meaningful accomplishment & visible growth (more responsibility, staure, etc…) is what brings real happiness. Tangible aspects like salary, etc.. are a mirage. Meaningful, Development, Learning, Recognition, Achievement & Responsibility are the things we want.
  14. Taking advantage of unanticipated opportunities is often the difference between  success & failure of companies & careers. Often the issue is the fight for resources between the deliberate strategy & new emerging opportunities. Often the  focus on existing strategy is the distraction from new opportunities.

This is just 25% of the book. More to follow…

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